MOOD FOOD: Balanced Meals that Promote Good Mood and Health
Did you ever notice that what you eat and how you feel are connected? Food affects mood, so choosing foods that nourish your noggin will keep you feeling happy, strong, and able to conquer whatever the day brings. Balancing meals with all three macronutrients – proteins, carbohydrates, and fats – will not only improve your mood, but it will also benefit your health.
Protein is vital to keep us alive and can be found in a variety of foods like meat, poultry, eggs, fish, dairy, beans, nuts, seeds, and soy products like tofu. Anytime our body is growing, or our muscles are repairing themselves after a bout of physical activity, protein is needed. In addition to rebuilding muscle, protein is used to help fight infection, keep body fluids balanced, and produce hormones.
Carbohydrates are the preferred source of fuel for our body! They are necessary for active brains and growing muscles. There are two different types of carbs: simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates digest quickly in our body and provide us with fast energy – these include foods like fruit juice, dried fruit, crackers, pretzels, cookies, and cake. Complex carbohydrates digest more slowly and are higher in fiber, providing us with long lasting energy. These are found in foods like whole wheat bread, oatmeal, beans, whole fruits, and vegetables.
Fats tend to get a bad reputation, but they are an essential nutrient in our diets. They are the most concentrated source of energy, add the most flavor to our foods, and help us feel satisfied after meals. Fat provides cushioning and insulation for our organs and helps absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K. We do want to steer clear of too much saturated fats (like butter and deep fried foods). We should be including more heart healthy fats like salmon, walnuts, olive oil, eggs, avocados, and seeds.
While you need a well-balanced diet chock full of a mix of proteins, carbs, and fats, there are other elements that help boost your mood too. Make sure you are getting enough sleep to recharge after a busy day. Try to get moving and do something fun with friends and family every day! Enjoying balanced meals and having fun each day is truly the best way to improve your overall mood and health.