20 mood-boosting recipes
Are you looking to combat low mood and boost your energy levels using food? We've picked out 20 recipes to nourish your mind and body, using ingredients such as turmeric, sweet potato, salmon and blueberries
There is a strong connection between the foods we eat and how we feel. When you eat refined carbohydrates and processed sugars, you will experience drastic spikes and crashes in your energy levels. Unsurprisingly, this can have a huge impact on your overall mood.
To support good mental health, it's important to include healthy wholegrains, lean proteins, good fats, leafy greens, pulses and natural sugars in our diet. These will contribute to the production of dopamine and seratonin – the feel-good chemicals in our brain – as well as magnesium, which helps us relax. Not to mention a long list of other vitamins and minerals.
Give yourself a lift with our wholesome recipes below, then check out our healthy, colourful recipes and read up on focus and brain health.
20 mood-boosting recipes
1. Turmeric fried eggs with kale salad
Turmeric is known to release feel-good brain chemicals dopamine and serotonin. Here we've combined it with crispy fried eggs, which contain choline and also help to regulate mood. Serve with crunchy kale, chickpeas and a drizzle of tahini sauce for a highly nutritious lunch.
Want more like this? Have a look at our best breakfast ideas with eggs.
2. Healthy salmon pasta
Salmon, along with other fatty fish, are a fantastic source of omega-3 acids. Not only do these have anti-inflammatory benefits, they also help to support your brain. Enjoy salmon in this healthy creamy pasta dish with reduced-fat crème fraîche, lemon, peas and dill.
Or use fillets to make our salmon traybake.
3. Gochujang roast sweet potato with mixed grain salad
Sweet potatoes contain fibre, which supports your gut health, and vitamin B6, which helps your brain to function. Enjoy them in this colourful vegetarian salad with mixed grains, radishes, cucumber and a punchy Korean dressing.
Want more like this? Try sweet potato and black bean tacos.
4. Turkey keema curry
If you're a meat eater, turkey is a great choice as it's rich in mood-supporting tryptophan. Use it to make fresh and zingy keema curry, along with peas and ginger, for a dinner that's good for your mind and body.
More like this
Or try our healthy turkey burgers.
5. Five-bean chilli
There's plenty of mood-boosting ingredients to be found in your kitchen cupboards. Use tinned beans to make this easy vegan chilli to get a dose of plant-based protein, magnesium and iron, which helps produce serotonin and dopamine. Serve with brown rice, avocado, coriander and dairy-free yogurt for a nourishing dinner.
For another easy storecupboard dinner, try our pepper, date and harissa tagine.
6. Spiced grains with peas, spinach and jammy eggs
Swap processed carbohydrates, such as white rice, for wholegrains. They release energy slowly so you won't crash after lunch. This bowl of nutty freekeh is made with spinach, a great source of magnesium which our body needs to relax, and soothing turmeric.
Use lentils to make our butternut squash dhal with eggs and crispy onions.
7. Healthy overnight oats
Prepping your oats the night before means you're guaranteed to start your day with a nourishing breakfast, instead of reaching for processed, sugary cereals. These oats don't just taste better, they'll also keep you full and energised until lunchtime.
Next, check out our favourite juicy plum recipes.
8. Chicken burrito bowl
Protein is important for many functions in the body and by including plenty in your meals you can stop your blood sugar from spiking and crashing, which can cause low mood. For a healthy dinner, put together this burrito bowl with chicken breast that's coated in fajita spices.
Want more high-protein ideas? Try spicy peanut butter chicken breast.
9. Blueberry smoothie
Whip up this easy smoothie using just four ingredients. Blueberries are loaded with healthy antioxidants which help produce feel-good chemicals serotonin and dopamine.
Take your breakfast up a notch, make our blueberry smoothie granola bowl.
10. Crispy spud salad with sauerkraut, ham hock and peas
Sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) is fantastic for your gut health, which we know is closely connected to our mental health and mood. We love adding its distinct flavour to a simple salad with crisp potatoes and ham.
Make your own using our easy sauerkraut recipe.
11. Avocado chocolate mousse
For a sweet treat that's not going to cause your blood sugar levels to spike, use avocado and cocoa nibs to make a healthy vegan version of chocolate mousse. It's quite rich, so you only need a small amount to get your chocolate hit.
Want a bake that's better for you? Try our healthy blondies.
12. Broccoli and peanut soba noodles
Switch up your noodles and go for buckwheat soba noodles instead – they're naturally high in fibre as well as other vitamins and minerals. Serve with broccoli, edamame beans and a gingery peanut dressing to get a hit of good fats.
For more ways with leafy green veg, try hummus, kale and coriander noodles.
13. Sweet potato and lentil curry
A vibrant, low-calorie curry with sweet potatoes, red lentils, coconut milk and plenty of spices – including turmeric. This dish certainly packs lots of mood-boosting punch.
Next, try sweet potato and miso soup.
14. Roast broccoli with lentils and preserved lemon
Leafy, dark green vegetables are particularly rich in magnesium. Here we've combined broccoli with high-fibre lentils and a tangy lemon dressing to make a tasty lunch.
For another vegetarian meal, serve up our cauliflower couscous salad.
15. Cumin-crusted chicken with kale salad and hummus dressing
Leafy greens, good fats and lean protein in one meal? This salad is guaranteed to have you feeling your best. We've coated the chicken breast with spices to increase the flavours and served on a bed of kale with hummus dressing.
Next, try our spiced couscous with chicken and almonds.
16. Healthy banana bread
Bananas are a great source of tryptophan, an amino acid which helps the body produce serotonin. Use them to make a healthier take on banana bread so you have something a little more wholesome to reach for when you have a sugar craving.
Got bananas to use up? Put them to good use with peanut butter banana bread.
17. Palak paneer
Soothing spices, including turmeric, are combined with plenty of spinach to make the sauce for this classic Indian paneer dish. Serve with brown rice and naan on the side.
Get your greens with our spinach soup.
18. Healthy baked oats
Enjoy wholesome baked oats for breakfast, or as a healthy take on dessert, and you'll reap the benefits from the antioxidant-rich berries and nutritious oats.
For more ideas, have a look at our 16 healthy oats recipes.
19. Green eggs
These baked eggs with spinach are the perfect dish for a nourishing and healthy brunch. Combining protein-rich eggs with spinach, mushrooms and a creamy sauce will help to balance your blood sugar and energy levels.
Next, try our classic shakshuka.
20. Kefir, banana, almond and frozen berry smoothie
The best thing about smoothies is you can add in lots of ingredients that will give you a healthy boost. Here, we've used gut-healthy kefir as it's full of plenty of good bacteria, along with antioxidant-rich berries, naturally sweet banana and almonds.
Prefer a green breakfast? Check out our kale smoothie.
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