There’s a lot of growing evidence to suggest that what we eat can directly influence our mood and how we feel. We all know how good it can feel to give in to our biggest cravings, but we’re also no stranger to the after effects of a sugar binge! Brain fog, heightened anxiety and low energy are some of things experienced afterwards.
As we come to the end of May as #mentalhealthawareness month, we wanted to share a few ways you can use food to boost your mood!
So let’s dig in to our top 5 tips to eat for mental wellness…
Eat a nutritious breakfast to start your day.
Yep, we know this is a basic one but it works! Make sure you focus on whole foods with slow releasing energy to sustain your energy levels until lunchtime. Oats are great for this! The combination of high fibre and complex, slow-digesting carbohydrates in oats results in a slow release of sugar into the blood. This provides a sustained supply of energy to the body. Hopefully that means no mid morning slump, where we’re all more tempted to reach for sugar as a pick me up! Try our tasty overnight oats to keep you at peak performance all morning.
Include lots of amino acid-rich foods in your daily meal plan.
Foods high in protein contain amino acids which include important chemicals that our brains use to regulate how we feel. Tryptophan and Tyrosine are both essential amino acids shown to directly affect our mood. Studies have shown that deficiency in both can increase anxiety, depression and irritability, so it could be worth adding more sources to your diet. Find in chicken, peanuts, oats, spinach, salmon, eggs, avocados and bananas – try to eat some of these foods regularly to boost your mood. Our Maintain + Sustain and Grow + Gain plans both contain higher protein sources.
Try your best to keep snacks sugar free as much as possible to avoid energy dips.
You might want to look for alternatives to the usual sugar filled snacks because even those “healthy” snack bars contain an insane amount of sugar! We recommend a protein ball made of rolled oats, low sugar fruit like berries or a handful of nuts. You could even try to make homemade healthy versions of your favourites, where you control the amount of sugar or source of sugar used. This way, you’ll have full knowledge of what’s really inside. If you haven’t tried our homemade healthy oat protein balls, you’re missing a trick – literally! Our clients rave about them. Filled with a little bit of cheeky nutella and balanced out with wholesome oats, they are the perfect snack to keep sugar cravings at bay.
Remember that fat isn’t the enemy and good fats are actually needed for a brain boost!
Avocados take the win here as an amazing source of healthy unsaturated fat that supports the brain function. Chia seeds, almonds and sustainably caught fish are all firm brain favourites at The Good Prep HQ!
It might sound counter-productive if you’re actively trying to lose weight – but it’s important to eat regularly to avoid blood sugar drops. Not only will low blood sugar affect your mood, as symptoms are known to closely mirror mental health symptoms such as anxiety, excessive worrying and low productivity. It will also make you more likely to binge. Eat small, regular meals containing whole foods to stay energised, boost your mood and remain on track throughout the day.
If you’re looking for support with your nutrition and health goals, we got you!
At The Good Prep, we’ve curated range of meal plans so that you can choose the plan that best fits your personal goals. Are you looking to lose weight and get fit? Maintain where you’re currently at and have more time to do things you enjoy (instead of spending all of your days off cooking)? Or maybe aiming to gain weight – either way, we’ve got the plan for you.
If you know EXACTLY what you need and you’re looking for something more bespoke, you can build your perfect meal prep plan. Our chefs will prepare it in our kitchens and your fresh meals will be delivered straight to your door. Our meals are fresh, never frozen, so just heat up at home / work (or eat cold if you prefer!) and you’re ready to eat. Sound good? Start building your meal plan here.
Study information source: https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/142/12/2231S/4630852