Food is such a contentious subject at the moment it seems flippant to be discussing favourite foods when people are struggling to stock their cupboards and fridges, cue an avalanche of suggested ‘pantry’ recipes. I am wan to try and wade in on this given my strange relationship with food, I used to eat to enjoy now its very much to fuel my body, I have started eating some foods which used to produce a child like ‘don’t like it’ response the textures bringing back awkward childhood memories. However there are a number of recipes which will get us through these strange times, lunch time is that strange time when if you have been busy all morning you will need to refuel but if you haven’t do you need the extra calories? Well even doing nothing relies on a certain amount of energy, if you are lethargic and feeling on the downside ask yourself are you getting enough healthy fats? Carb filled meals give you long term energy but you still need good fats to keep your body in good condition, so here are 5 quick lunches which will boost your mood and your energy levels.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids – good for depression, anxiety and a host of other benefits (extensively scientifically studied as well). Mackerel and salmon are filled with Omega-3s and perfect with any number of salads, roasted with chili and lemon with a small side of grains/pasta, if you dont do fish then there is always eggs. For all of you plant based beings – Avocados, edamame, chia, spinach, walnuts are all high in Omega-3, enjoy as part of a balanced Buddha bowl.
- Chicken – Helps increase your intake of the amino acid tryptophan, the body uses tryptophan to make serotonin – one of the most important neurotransmitters when it comes to mood. It also helps to make the hormone melatonin, which regulate sleep. Grilled, baked or roasted (there are alternative healthy fried chicken recipes a plenty so if thats your bag you wont miss out). In terms of plant based alternatives there are of course now plenty of options for chicken replacements so any soy based or tofu option give you that tryptophan boost you need, one thing to bare in mind is that its also high in oestrogen so it will boost hormone levels in both men and women.
- Water – I know I know not everyone likes drinking water but honestly reduce your sugar and caffeine intake and re-hydrate your brain, it will thank you. Why not try adding some mint leaves, cucumber or berries, you dont need one of those fancy infuser things whatever everyone says, pop it in the freezer overnight for a long iced drink the next day.
- Lentils – one of the most misunderstood pulses out there, easy to use and not boring to eat at all, make salads, soups and stews out of them they are tasty as a main or a side dish. They are widely available precooked now so you dont need to faff around with soaking anymore.
- Spinach – there was a reason it was Popeye’s favourite food, its full of everything that is good, enjoy in salads, sandwiches and stir-frys.
Bringing You Down
Processed sugar and caffeine inherently lower your mood in the long term, that initial rush might be fun but the crash that comes after is pretty much the same as a drug addict experiences, so ask yourself is it worth doing that to your body on a regular basis? Switch to healthier alternatives (no I dont mean artificial sweeteners whatever Slimming World advises) like honey and coconut sugar.
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