Tips to Eating Better

time-to-plan image

Life is very busy for everyone these days, so I decided to do a blog on some tips that I use to help make life easier for myself.  It really works – give it a try!

Keep it simple. Forget the fad diets with lots of rules, keep your healthy eating routine simple. Eat real food that is mostly plan based with lots of color & variety. Add protein to every meal e.g. lean meat, fish, chicken, tofu & beans.  Add complex carbs like brown rice, potatoes & quinoa, and healthy fats like avocado, nuts, seeds &  olive oil. Half of your plate should be fruits & vegetables to aid digestion, fiber intake and contains less calories.

Don’t bring junk into the house. If you’re easily tempted to reach for he crisps, biscuits, sweets & ice cream, keep these snacks OUT of the house. This simple trick makes healthy eating easier. ‘Out of sight, out of mind.’

Make lunch the night before. It can be leftovers from dinner or a box of salad, planning ahead makes it easy to walk out the door with a healthy lunch and helping you to stay on track.

Plan your meals for the week. Making a list of the meals that you are going to make each day, will help to keep you focused as you know what you need in advance.  Write your shopping list based on these meals and stick to it.

Carry a water bottle. Drinking water is a vital part of being healthy.  Make it a priority to carry a bottle of water with you during the day and refill when necessary.

sleeping-baby imageGet enough sleep. Getting enough sleep at night goes a long way to protecting your body. Hormones are regulated and the cells in your body are repairing when we sleep.  Research shows that people who get a good nights sleep on a daily basis, tend to make better food choices.


Eat healthy snacks. Keep healthy snacks on you at all times—pile them in your car, fridge, gym bag, desk at work and handbag. Handy healthy snacks include nuts, homemade trail mix (nuts & dried fruit) fruit and nut bars, apples, bananas, other fruit, nut butters, popcorn, raw vegetables, hummus.

Create a shopping list. Plan your meals and build a list. When you shop from a list, unnecessary temptations don’t appear in your trolley (well they are less likely to).

Food shop once a week. When you’re a us person, having to go to the shop on a daily basis is a waste of your precious time. Instead, organize your schedule (as best you can) and plan to go food shopping at the beginning of the week to be more efficient.

Buy FRESH at the farmer’s market. It’s nearly effortless to fill up on fresh local produce and eggs when you gather your food at the farmer’s market.  The food you buy at the farmers market, will be fresher, less preservatives and last longer than products bought in a shop.

Prep for meals in advance. Being proactive about meal planning can save a lot of time and stress in the long run. It may sound scary and off putting, but you will be thankful when you find yourself running late and only have a few minutes to eat. Pick a day or a night to prepare some meals that you can simply pop in the over during the week.

i need ideas image

Family favorites. Instead of wrecking your brain  each week, have a list of healthy recipes that you know your family will eat and enjoy.  This makes meal planning easier and saves you time in the long run. Working with recipes that you know off by heart makes cooking less of a hassle and more enjoyable.

Plan for leftovers. If you are preparing a large meal, double the batch. Prepare one to serve and the other to put in the freezer or fridge. This way you have double the food but half the mess! You can also prepare extra chicken or steak to cut up and add to a salad to make for a filling lunch the next day.

Make fresh soup. Soups are a simple way to eat more healthy foods. Opt for homemade, broth-based soups instead of creamy ones. Make a big batch and freeze some of it for another week. Pour single servings into containers to make it easy to grab and go for work lunches. A great way to fuel your body with some good stuff.

Blend your veggies. Add a smoothie or fresh juice to get a few servings of fruits and veggies in your diet. Smoothies make a great breakfast or snack. Make them yourself so that you’re in control of the ingredients. If you’re making it a meal or want a snack that lasts, blend fruits and veg with proteins like Greek yogurt, kefir or milk and healthy fats like cashews, nut butters, avocado or coconut oil.

Stock the pantry. Pantry staples make it easy to whip up a dinner in no time flat. Convenient pantry items include  beans,  tuna, salmon, chopped tomatoes, passata, nut butters, mixed nuts,  dried fruit, whole grains like oats, brown rice and whole-grain pasta.

Heather eat better_feel better image

Depression in Children & Teens

Sadly, depression is on the rise for everyone but increasing at a dramatic rate in young children and teenagers.  I work with educating young people on maintaining good Mental Health but it was highlighted to me recently that the parents, carers and family are lacking in education on recognizing Mental Health issues at an early stage.  I hope this blog will help those who need the support.

PLEASE reach out for help, to HELP our young people!

Signs & Symptoms

Any of these signs can occur in children who are not depressed, but when seen together, nearly every day, they are red flags for depression.

  • A sad or irritable mood for most of the dayteen depression image
  • Feeling sad or angry or being more tearful or cranky
  • Not enjoying things that used to make your child happy
  • A noticeable change in weight either up or down
  • A noticeable change in eating habits either excessively or not very much
  • Not able to sleep at night or too sleeping too much during the day
  • No longer wanting to be with family or friends
  • Lack of energy or feeling unable to do simple tasks
  • Feelings of worthlessness and/or guilt
  • Low self-esteem
  • Trouble with focusing or making choices.
  • Changes at school
  • Not caring about what happens in the future
  • Aches and pains when nothing is really wrong
  • Frequent thoughts of death or suicide (extreme cases)

What Can I do to Help?

  • The basics for good mental health include a healthy diet, enough sleep, exercise, and positive relationships with other people at home and at school
  • Limit screen time
  • Encourage physical activity to help develop positive relationships with other people
  • One-on-one time with parentsTypes of help signpost
  • Emotional support
  • Deep understanding
  • Be patient
  • Constant encouragement
  • Always point out their good points
  • Always talk to your child NOT lecture them
  • Listen carefully
  • Never denounce the feelings of your child however stupid they sound
  • Do not ignore comments about suicide
  • Look out for hidden signals
  • Keep the faith that with time and treatment, depression will lift.


The exact causes of childhood and teen depression are unknown. But it is caused by a combination of factors that relate to:

  • Physical health
  • Life eventssad boy image
  • Stress
  • Drugs and/or alcohol
  • Watching too much TV
  • Family history
  • Environment
  • Genetic vulnerability
  • Biochemical disturbance

Safety Plan

  • Follow treatment plan for the child. Make sure they attend therapy and take any medication as prescribed
  • Write up a list of people (friends and family) to call when feelings get worse
  • Watch for the signs of suicide. These include talking about suicide in person or on the internet, giving away belongings, increased thoughts about death and substance abusewhats the plan image
  • Make a list of telephone numbers to have at hand
    • Doctor
    • Therapist
    • Aware
    • Pieta House
    • Local mental health crisis response team

Useful Numbers 

 Sexual Abuse & Rape Crisis  1800 44 88 44
 Grow (Mental Health Support)  1890 474 474
Letterkenny University Hospital 074 9125888
Sligo General Hospital 071 9171111
Ambulance/ Garda 999/112
Pieta House North West  074 9126594
Aware (Depression Support) 1890 303 302
Samaritans Helpline 116 123
NowDoc 1850 400 911
Remember to look after yourself as parents, family members or carers.


Purple heart Whatsapp emoji - U+1F49C

Hold on pain ends image

Support at Christmas

Support at Christmas 

block image support

Christmas can be a happy time of year for many. A chance to see family & friends, exchange gifts & have fun. But it can also be a difficult & challenging time of year for many.  It can be more difficult for those of us with mental health problems.  Coping is difficult.

I’ve put together a list of some useful numbers for you to contact to help & support you getting through the Christmas & New Year period.  Here are some areas that people may be affected but it is not limited to these.

  • Loneliness
  • Stressed
  • Depressed
  • Financial Worries
  • Eating Problems
  • Drinking Problems
  • Abuse of any kind
  • Health
  • Rape

holding hands image

Christmas time can and will bring up a lot of practical, psychological and emotional issues which can be stressful in many ways.  It’s important that you reach out to someone if & when you feel that you are not coping with your situation.  There are people there to listen & help.  Please do contact them.

Wishing you all a very blessed, safe, joyful, Happy Christmas                    See you all in 2018


Useful Numbers:

Women’s Health & Family Planning Clinic  (Women’s Centre) 074 9124985
Irish Cancer Society 1800 200 700
Irish Family Planning Association 
(Crisis Pregnancy/Post Abortion/Fertility Concerns)
1850 49 50 51
SATU (Sexual Assault Treatment Unit) 074 9104436
STI Clinic  (Sexually Transmitted infections) 074 9123715
Donegal Sexual Abuse & Rape Crisis Helpline 1800 44 88 44
Dublin Rape Crisis Centre National Helpline 1800 77 88 88
Donegal Women’s Domestic Violence Centre 1800 26 26 77
Women’s Aid Helpline 1800 34 19 00
NowDoc  1850 400 911
Letterkenny University Hospital  074 9125888
Sligo General Hospital 071 9171111
Ambulance Service / Garda Emergency 999/112
Samaritans Helpline 116 123
Al-Anon (Alcohol Support) 01 873 2699
Aware (Depression Support) 1890 303 302
Grow (Mental Health Support) 1890 474 474
Zest N. Ireland (Self Harm) 04871 266 999
Bodywhys (Eating Disorders Support) 1890 200 444