Did you know that foods affect your mood? Some foods have been documented to make you feel happier and more satisfied, and many of the best foods are sadly lacking in our diets. The good news is that it’s not only easy to incorporate these foods into your diet, it’s tasty!
Starting the day with a happy breakfast
If you’re not a breakfast lover (or even if you are), start your day with a fruit smoothie made with berries, low-fat, low-sugar yogurt, and grated raw beets (what?!?). Here’s why: Berries are low sugar and loaded with anti-oxidants, vitamins, fiber, and yumminess. Yogurt supplies calcium, protein (you can up the protein with Greek yogurt, but it’s a little sour), and lush creaminess. Beets have two important nutrients that are hard to come by, folate and uridine, that have been shown to positively impact mood plus omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (I’ll get to those). It’s a light, refreshing breakfast that will make you feel on top of the world. If you’re more of an eggs-and-bacon kinda person, have your smoothie in the afternoon.
Creating a happy lunch and snack
For lunch, how about black bean soup and guacamole with whole-grain crackers? Black beans are on the top of the superfoods list for good reason. They are another great source of folate and fiber, plus iron, protein, potassium, and phospherous. For under 200 calories, that is nutritional wallop. A typical serving of guacamole has vitamins A, B6, C, E, and K, folate, fiber, protein, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids. It even has a little selenium (I’ll get to that). I’m feeling happier just thinking about it.
For a super snack, consider walnuts and apple slices. Walnuts have lots of folate, calcium, magnesium, phospherous, potassium, zinc, manganese, and selenium, plus omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and apples have fiber, vitamin C and potassium.
Finishing the day with a happy dinner
If you’ve packed your day with all this nutrition, two things are true when it comes to dinner:
- You won’t be starving.
- You have already met so many of your nutritional needs that you can relax and eat what you want.
But just to stay on track, let’s have chicken breast smothered in Marsala sauce. Portabella mushrooms have selenium, folate, vitamin D, copper, riboflavin, phospherous, potassium, betaine and omega-6 fats. Saute mushrooms and onions in a butter substitute based on flax or olive oil with no trans fats, sprinkle with a little flour to thicken the sauce, and splash in a generous amount of Marsala wine and chicken stock, then simmer until it has a nice consistency – not too thick, not too thin.
Add a side of mixed steamed vegetables that includes read and green bell pepper, broccoli and cauliflower, broiled red potatoes, a fruit cobbler with an oat and nut crust for dessert, and a refreshing glass of green tea with mint to round out a healthy, happy menu.
Be on the lookout for healthy and happy nutrients
The nutrients that contribute to happy satisfaction are selenium, antioxidants, omega oils, folate, potassium, betaine, and uridine. And eating healthy just makes you feel good about life in general. If you’re interested in losing weight and keeping your blood sugar level, try a diet supplement called fucoxanthin. I’m not that big on supplements, but I’ve been reading up on it, and it looks pretty interesting.
Cindy Johnson is a freelance writer with a new passion for healthy eating and healthy lifestyle that she hopes will help her overcome some health challenges. She loves to travel and is an avid fan of Dr. Oz. Read her blog for more healthy eating tips. When she’s not writing, Cindy loves to hike in the mountains of North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, son, and a small assortment of dogs.