The pace of modern life for mums is hectic. Raising a family, going out to work, cooking, cleaning, shopping, acting as taxi driver, volunteering in the school, cheering your little darlings on from the sidelines... You try to do your best and are very conscious of your kids emotional and nutritional needs.
But guess what? You are a not just a mum, but a woman too, and you need to take a moment to consider your own needs. Here are our top 9 foods that you should include in your diet to be a happy, healthy mum.
Berries are a fantastic source of vitamins, minerals and fibre. They can be eaten raw, cooked or dried, and maintain their health benefits. Berries are also high in antioxidants, which help protect against us aging of the tissues and many degenerative illnesses such as cancer, dementia and heart disease. Guilt-free snacking!
Leafy green vegetables are loaded with fibre, vitamins and minerals that may help protect you from heart disease, diabetes and cancer. These vegetables are particularly beneficial to women as they are a great source of iron which is important to us girls at each life stage. Add broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, spinach or kale to your evening meal. Experiment with salads and keep a container of crunchy chopped veg in the fridge to snack on.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
As women, we try to avoid fatty foods but not all fats are equal. Omega-3 fats improve heart, joint and bone health and can protect against arthritis. Studies show that Omega 3 has a positive impact on mood and cognitive function. Great sources: seeds, seed oils, salmon, sardines, tuna, cod liver oil, herring, mackerel, halibut, enriched eggs.
Wholesome Whole Grains
What food reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, bowel cancer, diabetes and obesity while providing you a steady supply of energy during your busy day? Whole grains! Because of its complex structure, whole grains are digested more slowly and make you feel fuller for longer. If you make one change today, opt for whole grain foods in your shopping basket: whole grain pasta, brown bread, brown rice and porridge.
Nuts are a fantastic source of good fats, protein, and vitamin E (important for fertility). Nuts make a wonderfully filling snack, but keep an eye on portion size – they are very calorie dense. Eat raw nuts not roasted salted nuts as they high in additional fat and sodium. Great nuts: almonds, walnuts, pstachios, peanuts, hazelnuts, pecans. Bulk them out by mixing them with dried fruit, or throw a handful of cashews or peanuts into a stir-fry.
Legumes include beans, peas and lentils. They are low in fat, contain no cholesterol, and are high in fibre. They are extremely nutritious and are used as a meat replacement by vegetarians. They are available canned in the supermarket so are an ideal convenience food. Good examples: kidney beans, black beans, butter beans, cannellini beans, split peas, lentils, chickpeas, soybeans.
Yes to Yellow Veggies
The yellow and orange foods contain beta-carotene which the body can convert to vitamin A which is vital for skin and eye health and a healthy immune system. Great yellow & oranges foods include: carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, butternut squash. These foods make wonderful, hearty soups, great to have on hand for a quick, nutritious lunch.
The tomato is the most widely used and versatile food. It is very high in antioxidants, and unlike other foods it delivers a higher level of the cancer fighting antioxidant lycopene when cooked. Intake of lycopene has been shown to significantly lower the risk of breast cancer so tomato puree, passata and ketchup should be store cupboard essentials (though keep an eye on sodium and sugar content). Tomatoes are high in vitamins A and C a great source of fibre. A true all-rounder.
Delightful Dairy (low-fat)
Dairy products are a crucial source of calcium which is vital to women’s health at every life stage. Look after your bone health now and your postmenopausal self will thank you by protecting your bones against osteoporosis. Nutritionists recommend that women need three servings of dairy per day. Typical servings: glass of low-fat or skimmed milk; small tub low-fat yogurt; 75gms of cheese.