Dinner swaps for better mental health
By Susie White DipNT is a BANT registered Nutritional Therapist
To help you put the ideas in our 'Dinner' article into action here are some swap ideas to ensure you get the most from dinner:
1. Swap fish and chips – high in saturated fats and low in nutrients - for omega 3 boosting salmon fillets with rosemary roasted potatoes.
Essential fats (found in oily fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardine) are so important for the brain – which is 80% fat. Deficiencies are often found in patients with mental health issues, so ensure you are eating at least 3 portions of oily fish per week.
2. Instead of picking up the phone and ordering pizza in trying making your own
Buy a pre-made pizza base and some passata (sieved/pureed tomatoes), then experiment with your own toppings like feta cheese, red onion and rocket or chicken, pepper and olives or ham, mushroom and pineapple. Just by adding a few vegetables you can ensure you are boosting your all-important 5 portions a day.
3. Forget a McDonalds; making your own healthy burgers is so easy.
Try mixing 500g turkey mince, 1 small chopped onion, a sprinkle of cumin and an egg. You can then either make them into burgers to serve with a green salad and a seeded bun or roll them into meatballs to go with a tomato sauce and spaghetti. This means you’ll be getting some good quality tryptophan – essential for good quality sleep.
4. Whip up an easy stir fry instead of going Chinese.
Take a small 2”piece of ginger, ½ a red chilli de-seeded and 1 garlic clove – and finely chop them, fry then add 2 chopped chicken breasts and brown. Add a bag of stir-fry vegetables from the chilled section and cook for 3-4 minutes. Serve, shake on some soy sauce then serve with a portion of brown rice. The B-vitamins found in whole grains, like brown rice, are essential to help convert tryptophan to serotonin – essential for good sleep they can be depleted in stress and are often low in depression.
5. Forget frozen pies, instead cook ahead and make a nice winter stew with lamb, carrots, onion and pearl barley.
Defrost during the day, then re-heat in the evening and accompany with dark, green leafy vegetables like kale and cabbage (in season this month). They contain magnesium - described as nature’s tranquiliser – essential for good sleep and relaxation, as well as being needed for many metabolic functions in the body.
Enjoy your dinner and a good night’s sleep!
See Susie's great 'Dinner for better mental health' article.
You can find out more about Susie at www.bluebroccoli.net