Food is mood, as Professor Tim Spector in his book Spoon-Fed says, though not in so few words. What we eat affects how we feel and not only physically, as studies show. As we all now desperately yearn to feel better mentally, can we do something about it in the kitchen department?
Of course we can, although it’s much easier to determine what NOT to eat. Junk food, too many takeaways, too much snacking is definitely bad for our wellbeing – and any comfort we hope for from a cream éclair or a double whopper with cheese will be only momentary. I don’t think we can’t have a dirty treat occasionally but 'occasionally' is the operative word.
I’m not a diet guru any more than a mental health expert but I can certainly suggest some healthy, balanced recipes to make you or your near feel better: good food to feel good.
Start as you mean to go on so ditch the oversugared cereals and make your own granola for breakfast. Try a slice of homemade rye crispbread with butter instead of toast or croissant. And as fresh berries arrive, make fruit and oat breakfast bowls.
Or skip breakfast if you can, which is actually good for you to do now and then, and go straight for shakshuka with salmon for lunch. Some chilli crab butter spread on a chunk of bread or a roasted red pepper salad? And globe artichokes are coming into season so steam a couple and share for lunch.
If you eat meat and/or fish, it could be a good idea to exclude it from either lunch or dinner. I usually have plant-based lunch (which is also known as rabbit food bowl) and have my main protein intake for dinner but everyone should find out what works best. The good thing is that your body and mind responds to what you feed them (well, okay: just the body is fed).
So perhaps a grilled lamb fillet for dinner if lunch was meatless, with creamy leeks (seasoned with wild garlic if you can find it). The other way round have a bowl of pasta with asparagus (yes! they’ve arrived!) in the evening or asparagus risotto.
A balanced diet means not excluding any foods so of course dessert or cake is on the menu, in sensible quantities. Is it time yet for strawberry and cream Victoria sponge? It will be great for the Bank Holiday weekend. Other than that, there’s easy chocolate yoghurt cake and plenty more.
Eat good food to feel good and above all, an important element of wellbeing is a sense of welldoing, as in: ‘haven’t I done well eating healthy for a week?!’ And being pleased with yourself is also the best motivation. Stay well and keep safe!