Getting through the winter months

Planning ahead during the winter months can help relieve the stress of preparing meals, especially during the holidays.

Do you live in a cold climate during the winter months? This is the time of year when people tend to enjoy comfort foods and are less physically active. There are a variety of reasons to why our activity level declines, such as preparing for the holidays and tending to the children who are out of school. Those things, as simple as they are can add extra stress to caregivers. A few tips on helping to ease the stress and maintain heart health is to plan.

Plan a social outing or activity for your children that require them to be physically active. This will help alleviate stress by giving you time to plan meals in advance, exercise or do something you enjoy while they are resting or asleep.

Use a slow cooker to prepare meals in advance so that your time can be spent on something else. Vegetables like garlic help to reduce cardiovascular disease and helps rid of plaque deposits in the arteries and lowers cholesterol. Garlic, combined with chicken and sweet potatoes is a heart healthy dish that can be fixed in a slow cooker. Sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene, calcium, potassium and vitamins A and C. Michigan State University Extension says that sweet potatoes have a special enzyme called amylase, which helps break the starch down into a sugar that our bodies can readily use. The sweet potato is a root vegetable. Sweet potatoes skins vary in color and range from beige, to orange and even purple in color.

A healthy heart is essential to increasing life expectancy. The heart helps keep every organ in our bodies nourished and alive. It truly is our life source, helping to deliver oxygen rich blood flowing through our bodies. For this reason it is important that we become more mindful and think about our lifestyle choices. This includes being sure to get a good night’s rest consisting of eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, scheduling time for exercise and down-time.

These simple steps will help you maintain your sanity and overall health in general, especially during the holiday season.

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