Whenever the cold weather hits the ground, all I want to do is cuddle up and sip hot cocoa. I feel cold and have to figure out certain things to do that will help keep myself content and not feel suddenly sad, or what we usually call the winter blues.
There are loads of nutritious foods that can help combat those sad feelings and make your day all around better. Usually, those who are indoors the majority of the day can be even more at risk for sudden blues. If this is you, check out the top 10 foods below that can help keep you happy all winter long!
Oatmeal is one of the best meals you can eat for breakfast but did you know they are also amazing for boosting your mood? They have a low glycemic index keeping your blood sugar stabilized long after eating them and high in B vitamins! The best ones to choose are steal cut oats or large flakes to get all the benefits.
Check out this Apple Pie Oatmeal Recipe for the win!
Lentils are one of my favorite things to eat in curries for dinner. They are warm and comforting and simple to make but also loaded with protein to keep you full. They are also a complex carbohydrate boosting serotonin in your brain to keep you feeling happy! I would try this curry recipe paired with quinoa + avocado for added happy benefits!
That is my kind of happy meal 😉
3. Dark Chocolate
Sipping on hot cocoa is a sure way to not only warm your hands, but can boost your mood, too. A mug of cocoa or square of dark chocolate causes the brain to release endorphins, translating into a better demeanour and positive outlook. Go for bars with 70 per cent cocoa solids or higher, and choose unsweetened cocoa powder for best results!
I also recommend keeping your chocolate on the low side of sugar. If you are making hot cocoa, get plain organic cocoa at the store, warm up some unsweetened plant milk of choice and add plain organic stevia for a healthy treat! I recommend this brand of stevia but the Whole Foods brand also has a great stevia extract that is only stevia in the ingredients.
Quinoa contains a range of B vitamins, and, when in low supply, can impeded production of serotonin. This multitalented grain-like seed also delivers complex carbohydrates for even more mood-boosting action. Add quinoa to any veggie dish in place of rice to keep those winter blues away!
5. Fermented Foods
Fermented foods, high in probiotics, nourish the gut — the home of feel-good serotonin production. Live sauerkraut, kimchi, plain almond yogurt, and coconut kefir are all great feel-good options. How to know if it is a real fermented food? Make sure there is NO vinegar in the product and found in the fridge section. Vinegar is a cheap and fast way to make the food taste fermented but you want those good bacteria in the food for a healthy microbiome.
A tried and true mood-lifting food, bananas are both perennially available and greatly affordable. Bananas contain complex carbohydrates and are a particularly good source of vitamin B6, needed to convert tryptophan to serotonin, your stay-happy neurotransmitter. Try this banana-oat pancake recipe for a healthy brunch option at home!
Walnuts are a source of ALA omega-3s, helping to increase mood and beat the winter blues. Walnuts are a great nut to sprinkle onto of oatmeal, salads, grains, sides, stuffing and pastas, or on its own, lending crunch and brain-boosting nutrition!
Want to still enjoy that delicious avocado toast?
Luckily, you can enjoy this brunch staple and feel happier all in one! Avocados are rich in B vitamins, particularly vitamin B6, a nutrient needed for production of serotonin. Their high fiber content also helps to level blood sugar levels and stay fuller, longer.
9. Pumpkin Seeds
Raw, unsalted green pumpkin seeds, or pepitas, are a great source of zinc, a mineral needed for brain health, production of energy, and to stable our mood. The serving size is 1/4 cup so snack on them all alone or sprinkle onto foods throughout the day. I recommend adding to your salad for an extra taste value!
Yes, spinach – The holy grail of greens. Spinach has an amazing source of iron, keeping your energy up. You can add a heap of spinach to your daily smoothie, add to your salad, or any stir-fry dish to help keep your iron up during winter!
I hope you enjoyed this list and would love to hear what you are going to try next! Leave a comment so we can talk all about feel-good food or email me at email@example.com to learn more about how you can become a healthier version of yourself!