What we eat and drink can make a real difference to how we feel – in fact, mental health professionals call it the “food – mood connection”.
Food can affect our bodies in many ways including our blood sugar, our amino acid levels, and our Omega-3 fatty acid levels. For example, if your blood sugar levels are all over the place you could find yourself feeling anxious, dizzy, grumpy, angry, or tired.
Equally, low amino acids levels (caused by lack of protein) has been linked to feelings of depression and low Omega-3 fatty acid levels (caused by lack of “good fats”) can make it difficult to concentrate.
Top Mood Food Tips
- Eat regularly – three good meals per day and a couple of healthy snacks should keep your blood sugar levels even.
- Never skip breakfast – even if it’s just a cup of tea and piece of fruit.
- Aim for five portions of fruit and vegetables per day – here’s what a portion looks like.
- Stay hydrated – aim for 6-8 glasses of water per day
- Limit the amount of takeaways and ready meals you eat – they’re not good for your body or your wallet
- Swap fizzy drinks and fruit juice for water and no added sugar squash
- Stock up on foods that can be made into quick, healthy meals
- Keep sweets, ice cream, chocolate, crisps etc. as occasional treats
Good food on a budget
If you’re on a limited budget, as many of our young people are, it can be hard to cook healthy, nutritious meals. Here are some tips for eating well on a budget:
- Shop around for the best deals
- Sign up to loyalty cards such as Tesco Clubcard or Morrison’s Match & More card
- Try frozen fruit and veg instead of fresh
- Swap tinned products for dried – for example dried beans are cheaper than processed tinned beans
- Buy supermarket own brands – they’re the same product, but with a smaller price tag
- Make a meal plan and shopping list – then, don’t buy things not on the list!