When we are feeling down, so many of us turn to high-sugar, comfort food snacks to pep us up and get us through. Such treats have their place in a healthy eating regime, but snacks that pack a nutritional punch will often leave us feeling better in the long term. These five mood-boosting snacks ideas will fill you up as well as help you feel better during the day.
A simple handful of nuts is a healthy snack that fills you up and provides plenty of mood boosting benefits. There is a growing body of research that shows that nuts of all kinds play an important role in preventing depression and improving cognitive function. Macadamias are especially good to include in your nut mix. Not only are they delicious and moorish, they also contain copper, manganese and magnesium for healthy neural-transmitters in our brains.
Macadamias and other nuts do make a good mood-boosting snack on their own. However, if you arrange your healthy handful onto a plate with some cut fruit for extra fibre and a range of brightly coloured chopped vegetables for phyto-nutrients then you have a healthy snack that is perfectly in line with the mediterrean diet (which has proven benefits for mental health and depression(. Remember to spend a few extra minutes arranging your snack on the plate. The delightful aesthetics of a beautifully arranged plate can be a simple but powerful way to boost the way you feel.
Believe it or not, dietary fibre plays an important role in improving our mood. A high fibre diet promotes good gut health and that in turn has a positive impact on symptoms of depression. A slice of toasted, wholegrain bread topped with a spread that is itself bursting with nutrients is a great pick-me-up snack. Pesto is a great choice because of the nutrients in the leafy green basil. Macadamia butter is also a good option because it’s naturally high in fibre. If you have the time, try this delicious sandwich that draws in extra flavour from green herbs and the creamy texture of avocado.
The gut is sometimes referred to as our second brain, so eating foods that are good for our gut will also have a positive impact on our mind and mood. Although we are really only beginning to understand how they work, cultured and fermented foods have long been known to support a healthy microbiome. To get these benefits in a snack, choose sourdough bread when you are making toast and top it with some fermented foods like sauerkraut, fermented pickles or kimchi. Cultured foods like yoghurt or kefir are also great gut-supporting snacks that leave you feeling good long-term.
Sauerkraut with macadamia cheese makes a delicious snack (as well as a vegan alternative to regular cheese). Tamari macadamias (made with traditionally fermented soy sauce) are another feel good food.
Of course, there are times when only one thing will boost our mood: chocolate! You’ll get long-term benefits from your chocolate cravings if you choose dark chocolate that contains above 70% cocoa. The cocoa contains health properties like minerals and antioxidants and can raise the serotonin level in the brain. Of course, you only need a small amount to experience the benefits. Try a couple of squares of a good quality dark chocolate or double the benefits by snacking on a small portion of dark chocolate coated macadamias.
What mood-boosting snack do you turn to when you need a pick-me-up?