We all know a healthy diet benefits our bodies but eating more feel good foods can be just as beneficial to our state of mind. But before you start reaching for the chips and ice cream…good mood food and comfort food are two completely different things. Sorry! Proper nutrition is key to mental and physical wellbeing. Dr. Tamlin Connor, co-author of a 2014 study, reported, “On days when people ate more fruits and vegetables, they reported feeling calmer, happier and more energetic than they normally did.”
If you’ve got a case of the blahs, these meals are loaded with feel good foods to give you a boost.
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Start the day on a positive note with Greek yogurt, granola and honey. Greek yogurt is a good source of protein and calcium — both raise levels of mood elevating neurotransmitters in your brain. Plus the probiotics in yogurt may help fight depression as well.
If you’re not a yogurt fan, go for a bowl of oatmeal with honey and cinnamon. Carbs are a total good mood food and if you opt for complex carbs from whole grains (like oatmeal) your body processes them slowly so you won’t crash 30 minutes later. Cinnamon may cheer you up and curb your appetite.
Fish is a fantastic lean protein and it’s got plenty of omega-3s, which also keep your happy making neurotransmitters working overtime, and Swiss chard is high in magnesium — a mood boosting mineral. Try this Grilled Salmon & Warm Swiss Chard Salad recipe from LetsMove!.
Need to pick up something on the go? Sushi is the perfect fast food — it’s got fish and seaweed is one of the only natural sources of iodine, for thyroid health.
For a between meal pick-me-up, walnuts are rich on alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), making them one of the best feel good foods. An apple or a couple of celery stalks (celery lowers stress hormones) with peanut butter are also excellent choices. When you’re really dragging, this Mood-Boosting Green Smoothie with spinach, sunflower seeds, cacao powder, banana, chia and strawberries is packed with good mood food.
For dinner whip up Fresh Mussels & Asparagus and let the generous amounts of B12 and tryptophan lift your spirits. Grass-fed turkey burgers are also a good source of tryptophan — which also improves sleep. Grass-fed meat is higher in mood-boosting conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than grain-fed.
Chile Chocolate Brownies give you your dark chocolate fix with a kick. This Lemon Macaroon recipe from The Happiness Diet is the perfect summer sweet.