Whilst there’s no doubt Christmas is ‘the most wonderful time of the year,’ for many of us it can also be the most stressful!
There’s the endless list of pressies to buy, the budget worries, the end of school term events and constant running around.
Yes, it can be a joyful time but the day to day stresses of organising everything can sometimes take their toll.
But we have good news! There are actually plenty of festive foods that are really good for our mental health and can boost our mood to help get us through the stressful moments that the holidays inevitably bring.
So, before you head straight for that extra glass of wine to take the edge off, consider these mood-boosting festive foods and treats that will actually improve your mood and mindset.
Plus, we’ve included some really healthy recipes from The 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge so you can enjoy them guilt-free – WIN WIN!!
5 festive foods to boost your mood
Do you love your seafood feast at Christmas? Well, you can enjoy it even more knowing that it can actually boost your state of mind.
Studies have shown that foods high in omega 3 fatty acids can be beneficial in the treatment of mild to moderate depression.
Seafood and fish, particularly cold water fatty fish like tuna and salmon are great for the brain so make sure you include these foods into your festive feasts for a mood boost.
Cranberries are well known for their health benefits, they are packed with vitamin C and flavonoids and are full of antioxidants.
They are also a powerful aid for your mood! According to numerous studies, vitamin C can rapidly improve mood.
Including cranberries in your diet increases the beneficial bacteria in your gut, which can have a direct impact on your mood and mental health.
In fact, having a healthy and robust gut flora is linked to less symptoms of depression, and elevated mood.
So don’t skip the cranberry sauce with your Christmas dinner, or even better try this awesome recipe from The 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge.
Peppermint has been proven in studies to relieve stress and even help with memory.
While this doesn’t necessarily give you the green light on eating every candy cane you come into contact with over the festive season, it does mean that you can include some yummy peppermint treats to help you cope with the Christmas craziness!
Apples are loaded with feel-good substances too, such as C & B vitamins and a particular antioxidant known as quercetin, which is a powerful mind-boosting antioxidant your body loves.
Studies show that quercetin can help fuel neurotransmitters in the brain and is an anti-inflammatory, which can further improve your mood.
Apples are also full of the fibre pectin, that keeps you feeling full and your insulin levels more stable, which can prevent erratic moods due to low blood sugar.
Make this Christmas Tree Apple & Pear Platter. It’s a great recipe to make as the centrepiece for a healthy Christmas lunch table.
Ingredients (Makes 4 serves)
- 1 apple
- 1 pear
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 slice watermelon
- 1 tablespoon dried cranberries
- 2 teaspoons shredded coconut
- Core the apple and pear and cut each into 8 slices. Slightly heat the peanut butter in the microwave so it is runny.
- Use a star cookie cutter to cut a star shape from the slice of watermelon. Cut a rectangle shape from the watermelon slice to use as a trunk. Set aside.
- Arrange apple and pear slices on a serving plate, into the shape of a Christmas tree, with the skin on the fruit forming the bottom side of each of the leaves.
- Drizzle heated peanut butter across the tree to look like tinsel and arrange dried cranberries to look like decorations. Sprinkle over coconut to serve with the watermelon star at the top and trunk at the bottom of the tree.
123cal/492kj per serve
5. Dark Chocolate
This one is great news! Chocolate is rich in many mood-boosting compounds and stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that creates feelings of pleasure. It also contains serotonin, an antidepressant that can elevate mood.
Plus it’s high in health-promoting flavonoids, which have been shown to increase blood flow to your brain, reduce inflammation, and boost brain health which may help regulate your mood.
All that said, it is still a high-calorie food, particularly milk chocolate which contains added ingredients like sugar and fat, so best stick to dark and use it in recipes like this one.
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