HomeTagsPosts tagged with "SafeFood"


Most of us have a morning routine.

Some involve a mini heart attack, a frantic search for keys and a mad dash for the door.

Others include an invigorating shower, a leisurely breakfast and a brisk stroll to the Luas.

No matter which camp you fall into, a recent survey suggests you’d certainly be in the minority if your morning routine includes taking a folic acid tablet.

According to research conducted by safefood, 80 per cent of women check their social media as part of their routine while just 25 per cent include folic acid in theirs.

Commenting on the study’s findings, Dr Marian O’Reilly Chief Specialist in Nutrition with safefood said she was pleased by women’s focus on healthy breakfasts and regular dental hygiene, but stressed the importance of including folic acid in the morning routine.

“It’s great to see that over 70 per cent of Irish women report starting their day with a healthy breakfast and 95 per cent brush their teeth every morning. What we want women to do is to take on a new healthy habit – take a daily 400 microgram folic acid supplement – it’s even easier than brushing your teeth and takes only seconds to do.”

“Folic acid prevents most neural tube defects like spina bifida in the first few weeks of pregnancy at a time when most women are unaware they’re pregnant. With 50 per cent of all pregnancies unplanned, taking folic every morning gets you into a healthy habit, even if a baby is the last thing on your mind.”

Urging women to consider including the element in their daily routine, Dr. Aileen McGloin, Communications Manager, Digital and Health at safefood, said: “Almost half the women in our survey said the best way to create a new healthy habit is to be prepared.”

“With folic acid, keep it near your toothbrush, beside your bed or somewhere that will remind you to take it as part of your morning routine,“ she added. “Setting a reminder on your phone or committing to a new habit were also mentioned by women as successful ways to create a new habit.”


Feeling daunted about starting your New Year resolution to eat better, get fitter and lose weight? Don’t worry, you’re not alone and there are some simple things you can do to get started and more importantly, to stick with it.

Experts in the U.S. have looked at the habits of people who manage to lose weight successfully and keep that weight off. There is a lot we can learn from these successful dieters, but the main thing is – this is not rocket science. What you need to do is develop a series of simple, healthy habits. And guess what? There are only 9 to remember.

Here are the 9 things that successful dieters do:

1.Track their food intake: You can do this using safefood’s free weight-mate app. It contains a huge variety of easy, delicious, healthy meal plans developed by nutritionists to suit your tastes.


2.Count calories or grams of fat: All of safefood’s weight-mate recipes and meal plans have been calorie counted and checked for fat content.

3.Follow a low-calorie, low-fat diet: There’s a lot of chat about low-carb and high protein diets these days, and they do work for some people, but that’s not what the successful diets did. Here are some handy tips on making your meals healthier.

4.Eat breakfast regularly: This tends to help people avoid making bad food choices later in the morning. If that sounds familiar, you’ll find lots of healthy breakfast recipe ideas on safefood’s website.


5.Limit how often they eat out: They don’t eat out more than three times a week and eat fast food less than once a week. Studies have found that foods eaten outside the home tend to be higher in calories and fat. Portions sizes are also often larger. We have lots of tips on healthy options when eating out to help you make better choices.

6.Stick with moderation for holidays and special occasions: (We’ll do better next Christmas!)

7.Walk about an hour a day or participate in other activities: You can set a physical activity goal of an hour a day on safefood’s weight-mate app and track how you are doing.


8.Watch less than 10 hours of TV a week: Monitor your TV viewing for a week to see how much you actually watch. You might be surprised!

9.Weigh themselves once a week: You can also track your weight using our Weight-mate app.

This year, let’s not let the resolutions slip. Say no to fad diets, do what works and start adopting these healthy habits to get healthy and stay healthy for 2016.

To get started, download weight-mate now:




It’s the disease that most people have a vague notion of without, perhaps, fully understanding what exactly it entails.

Spina bifida: a relatively common condition which affects about one in every 1,000 children born in Ireland – one of the highest rates in the world.

And one woman who is acutely familiar with it is Co. Antrim-native Louise Boyd. She is the mother of seven-year-old Amy, and Sophie, four.

Sophie suffers from spina bifida, as well as hydrocephalus – which results in excessive fluid in the brain – and Arnold Chiari malformation; a defect in her cerebellum, the part of your brain that controls balance.

Her family knew in advance that she’d be born with health problems – because her spina bifida was discovered during Louise’s pregnancy, around the half-way point. Sophie had her first operation, the first of many she would endure, when she was just four hours old.

Louise explains: “Although Sophie can walk, she has issues with mobility and balancing, falls over quite a lot and has difficulty managing uneven ground, kerbs and steps and cannot walk for long distances.”

Sophie also needs to use nappies and a catheter for bladder and bowel problems, although she now only sees a specialist once a year for a check-up.

Louise, who didn't take folic acid initially but started taking it as soon as she found out she was pregnant, describes Sophie as a “lively, chatty little girl who is very sociable and loves dressing up and clothes and playing with her cousins and friends”.

The mother-of-two also admits that she had no real idea what spina bifida would mean for her family, adding that she was “shocked” when they were given the diagnosis.

She remains upbeat, however. “All in all I would say having a child with spina bifida has had a positive impact to our family – although it is difficult when your child cannot do the things other children can do, it has brought us a more positive perspective on life and what is important.

“Health and family are the most important things anything else is a bonus.”

Describing them as “an invaluable support,” Louise advises anyone who has had a spina bifida diagnosis to get in contact with SHINE (especially for those in Northern Ireland) or Spina Bifida Hydrocaphalus Ireland as soon as they feel ready. “Also try to contact other families who can share experiences and more often than not, alleviate your worries,” she adds.

Any woman planning a family, who is sexually active or of childbearing age needs to take the recommended dose of folic acid daily in order to reduce the risk of neural tube defects.

However, Louise adds: “If you do have a spina bifida diagnosis of your baby – don't panic, it is a long and winding road but a very rewarding one.”

At safefood, they don’t usually tell people to take supplements.That’s because if you eat healthy, you can generally get all the nutrients you need from food. There is one exception though – that’s folic acid for women who are sexually active and could become pregnant, even if you’re not planning to have a baby any time soon.

So make sure you take folic acid for three months before you become pregnancy and for the first three months of your pregnancy to help your baby’s spine and brain develop properly.

You can check out the facts here.


The gym; chores; healthy eating; being a better person: we all have a loooonng list of things that we always mean to get around to doing.

Sometimes we even dabble for a while – though as plenty of folk will attest, starting up good habits is only half the battle… sticking to them is the real challenge. 

Still, there are some great tips and tricks to make an occasional, fleeting fancy into a habit that's second nature…

  • Commit to 30 days: that's how long you need to establish proper sense of discipline and dedication.
  • Make it daily: even skipping the odd day here and there will wreck havoc on your aspirations.
  • Remind yourself why: there are reasons why you want to establish your new habit – remind yourself of those regularly.
  • Get a buddy: have someone you can message and ask, "did you do this/that today? Because I did!"
  • Write it down: set reminders on your phone or write down a 'must do later' message in a diary or on a calendar.

And while the gym can take A LOT of effort and bags of motivation, never mind that eating healthily is a REAL toughie for a whole host of reasons, some important things are rather more straightforward to implement.

Take your daily dose of folic acid for example: it's a cost-efficient supplement that should be a VITAL part of your routine – up there with drinking 2litres of water a day and remembering to ring your mam.

Why? Because if you're having sex, you could get pregnant – and if you do, it's essential that you've been taking folic acid for three months prior to conception, as well as the first three months of pregnancy itself.

Here are a few suggestions for getting your folic acid poa off the ground: 

  • Start by weighing up the costs and benefits: folic acid costs just a few cent a day but has MASSIVE benefits – namely a greatly reduced chance of having a child with spina bifida or another neural tube defect. 
  • Commit to establishing a new routine: it's only one tiny tablet each day. Decide that you are going to do it and remind yourself that for not very much effort, your baby (even if it’s far into the future) can only benefit.

  • Have a specific time to take it: morning with breakfast is often good. You can also set an alarm on your phone.
  • Be prepared: keep your folic acid handy and just pop it in your handbag.
  • Get chatting: don’t be afraid to talk to your friends about taking it. Taking folic acid doesn’t mean that you are planning a baby. It just means that if you do have a baby sometime in the future, you are already helping to protect their health. 

  • Remind yourself how important it is: after a successfully taking folic acid for a fortnight or for a month it might be nice to reward yourself. This could mean buying a magazine, or even a new pair of earrings.


The bottom line is: if you are sexually active and there is a chance (no matter how small) that you could become pregnant then you NEED to take folic acid every day. Simple!

You can also find out more here.