Good Mood Food

Three easy ways to boost your mood with food

Mid-February can feel dark and dreary, but thankfully there’s plenty you can do, diet-wise, to help boost your mood. Here are three of our favourites.

1. Eat a protein-rich breakfast

Plummeting blood sugar can make you feel tired, irritable and depressed, according to the mental health charity Mind. All the more reason to keep our blood glucose steady. The best way to do this, and get your day off to a positive start, is to choose a breakfast with plenty of protein (contained in eggs, dairy, grains, nuts and seeds) and fibre to ensure a slow, sustained release of energy throughout the morning. Some of our favourite options at Balance Box include our free-range eggs, served with homemade avocado butter & rye bread and our mango & chia seed yoghurt served with homemade granola. Both are packed with good fats and plenty of protein and fibre to start your day off the right way.

2. Get those good fats in at lunchtime

Keep up the good work by including some healthy fats, such as omega-3, as part of your midday meal. Research by King’s College London showed that when omega-3 fatty acids are given to patients with depression they are metabolised into molecules called lipid mediators in the blood, which could help improve their symptoms. Oily fish is the best source of omega-3 so it’s a great thing to have for lunch. Top tip: Why not try our delicious Smoked Mackerel and Potato Salad recipe below.

3. Tryptophan in the evening

Tryptophan is an amino acid contained in some foods that promotes the release of serotonin, the ‘happy hormone’.  Milk is an excellent source of tryptophan, as well as the hormone melatonin and the micronutrient magnesium, which are both known to aid good sleep. A milky drink (or if you don’t drink dairy, oat milk also contains tryptophan and is a good alternative) can be a great way to help you get a good night’s sleep in the evening.


Smoked Mackerel and Potato Salad


8 baby or new potatoes, halved

5 tablespoons low-fat natural yoghurt

Juice of 1 lemon

Freshly ground black pepper

Small handful flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

100g lamb’s lettuce or baby spinach leaves

½ small cucumber, peeled and sliced

4 baby plum or cherry tomatoes, halved

2 small smoked mackerel fillets

To serve:

Freshly ground black pepper


Cook the potatoes in a pan of boiling water for 10-15 minutes until tender. Drain and cool by running under cold water.

Mix the yoghurt with the lemon juice and season to taste with black pepper. Add the parsley and stir well. Set aside for the flavours to infuse.

Place the salad leaves, cucumber and tomatoes on a large serving plate. Top with the cooled potatoes.

Remove the skin from the mackerel, flake the fillets into bite sized pieces, and scatter on top of the salad.

Spoon over the yoghurt dressing, and toss together before serving. Finish with a delicious twist of black pepper.

This recipe is from Jennifer’s book,  The Diet For Food Loversavailable on Amazon (The Orion Publishing Group). Jean Cazals Photography.