Have you ever said, "I'm fine" when you're really not? It's important to remember that it is absolutely okay to not be okay.
There are many ways you can look after your own mental health, for example:
Make A Meal Of It, wants to highlight the benefits of a good diet to support mental well-being.
food and mood
Good nutrition is important for everyone....stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet, most of us understand this principle, but did you know:
Some amino acids (the building blocks of protein) are also pre-cursors for important neurotransmitters in our brain?
Omega 3 fatty acids play a key role in healthy brain development and function. Recent research, carried out into the effects of omega 3 as a treatment for depression, has proved somewhat inconclusive. However, the recommendations are that adults eat at least one portion of oily fish per week and only approx. 25% adults are currently consuming that amount.
There is clearly no easy fix through food (sadly, there is no easy fix at all). There are some tips, above, to help you look after your mental health....cooking a healthy meal could incorporate several of these:
mental health goodness dinner
Tonight's meal is inspired by one written for the Let's Get Cooking program and the recipe can be found at letsgetcooking.org.uk/lets-get-cooking-at-home/recipes/zesty-salmon-pilaf/
Final result - delicious salmon (full of protein and omega 3) with veg (vitamins and minerals) and couscous
My ingredients (although I didn't actually use the stock). Whatever vegetables needed using up - feel free to improvise
Add some oil to the pan and gently fry. I cooked leek,celery, broccoli and carrot for a brief time then added the mushrooms and peppers (they take less time to cook). Sprinkle over the chilli flakes and cumin seeds (I guessed, I like spice!)
After about 8-10mins add water and couscous (again guessed.....add water later if it dries out too much)
Gave a good squeeze of lemon juice and added fresh spinach. Sit salmon on top, put lid on and leave for ten minutes, ish (until salmon is cooked through). Added black pepper to final dish and enjoyed with a glass of wine*
*It's mental health awareness week.......alcohol can be a depressant. However, it can help to relax, so enjoy in moderation and a glass of white with salmon is delicious.
I know.........for many of you this probably isn't so posh after-all, and the photo skills still need work, I admit that.
However, it is a step up from a plain piece of chicken or a 'from freezer to oven' chiken fillet.
I have served it with roasted vegetables (just what was left over in my fridge to be totally honest) and a spicy tomato sauce (found by chance in my freezer). If you don't have left over sauce in your freezer.....well the meal will still be delicious and chances are you can find an alternative, if you like a sauce :)
what i used.......
Chicken breasts (or thigh fillets would also work)
Parma ham (or bacon).
Fillings - I used brie, sundried tomato and spinach
Vegetables - I used onion, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, courgettes and sprinkled with paprika and cayenne pepper
Tomato sauce - optional
Cling film, rolling pin, roasting dishes, foil, oil
PLACE BOTH TRAYS IN OVEN AT 1800C FOR APPROX 30 MINUTES. ENSURE CHICKEN IS FULLY COOKED BEFORE SERVING
(Tomato sauce was warmed through in the microwave)
It's been a few weeks since I have cooked a Sunday roast - the heat has been a factor but there has been more than a spot of laziness on my part too.
Today was different.....the shopping was done yesterday, roast beef was planned and I couldn't wait to prove my daughter wrong - she thinks Aunt Bessie makes better Yorkshire puddings than me!!
The beef was browned then popped in the slow cooker with some chunky chopped onions. A generous amount of red wine was added to the pan, mixed with the meat juices and allowed to bubble away, before being poured over the meat. Beef stock was then poured over with some pepper, balsamic vinegar and worcester sauce. Apart from turning the beef now and again that was that for a few hours......
What to do now......
* Help hubby sort out the spare room?
* Mow the front lawn?
* Catch up on the ironing?
Hahahah - no! But I did make good use of time by staying the kitchen.
I know it's just a plate full of chicken and it didn't really take much effort....but that is the point!
While the beef was cooking away I put a chicken in the oven and let that cook itself too. Once cooked I stripped the carcass and now have a key ingredient for at least one meal next week and a few sandwiches....a nice alternative to ham and other processed meats
Some simple meals suggestions:
* Stir fry with some thinly sliced carrots, onions, courgette, mushrooms, peppers, mangetout, baby sweetcorn......well whatever you have and like! You can add a sauce - make one, buy one or just shake over some soya / chilli sauce
*Make a simple white sauce (25g flour, 25g butter, 250ml milk......combine all ingredients over a medium heat until bubbling and thickened. Take off the heat and add cheese if you want a cheesy sauce. (Of course you could infuse the milk with peppercorns, bay leaves and other such niceties and make a proper roux but I'm trying to keep it simple). Pour the sauce over chicken and vegetables or pasta and bake in the oven until piping hot. You could sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top before cooking, or even cornflakes for a crispier topping.
*Combine chicken, pasta, pesto and heat through.....add other veg if you have some.
*Or my grandma's traditional Monday night dinner.......cold meat and chips (add some salad / veg though for added colour and therefore nutrients :)
The oven was on (the chicken was in it). So.....might as well make use of the empty oven shelves and make a tasty treat for those weekday lunchboxes.
I love these 'flapjacks' packed full of seeds, fruit and oats from my River Cottage cook book. Yes, there is both sugar and honey in them but still better than buying chocolate from the canteen and probably cheaper / definitely tastier (in my opinon at least).
Find recipe here: https://www.rivercottage.net/recipes/honey-and-peanut-butter-booster-barswww.rivercottage.net/recipes/honey-and-peanut-butter-booster-bars
Full disclosure.......I was so excited about the dinner that I started eating and then remembered I wanted to photograph it (I'll work on the photographic skills!)
Slow cooker beef, yorkshire pudding (not Aunt Bessie's!) cauliflower cheese, peas, sweetcorn, carrot and brocolli. Oh and mustard because I've ran out of horseradish sadly.
AND the best bit.....there is leftover cauliflower cheese, which I will have for lunch tomorrow. Uneaten beef and vegetables have been combined and are going in the freezer for a convenient ready meal.
Without too much extra effort (but quite a lot of washing up!) I have a few dinner / lunch options from cooking a chicken. I have a ready to go meal in the freezer and some home-made treats. Cooking from scratch can be time consuming but when you have time, why not get ahead....Sundays are good for that. Now I might sit back, relax and finish off the red wine that wan't used in the beef
Teenagers have achieved a rise in top grades at A level this year – well done to them all.
A whopping 78.4% of students have achieved grades A* - C which is a fantastic achievement and I wish them all well in their future career /studies.
With the rest of their lives open to new opportunity this a very exciting time and I can’t imagine many of them are thinking too hard about their diet and nutrition right now. But for those going off to university this is quite an important consideration………
A 2013 study (by studentbeans.com) showed that 1 in 10 students never make their own food. This means they are buying in food, and with half of all students having a daily food budget of £2.50, this won’t buy much in the way of convenience food or take-aways. Somehow, though the same survey showed that 25% of students indulge in a takeaway at least once a week.
You can buy two delivered pizzas for £19.98 as part of a deal. Shopping smart can buy you several meals for this price but unfortunately many young people are lacking the skills and / or confidence to be able to create meals from scratch – pizza being a good simple place to start. Flour, yoghurt, passata and your favourite toppings will have you a tasty pizza in less than the time it takes to get your order delivered, with plenty of change from a £20 note to put towards the rest of your shopping (or a beverage or two!)
150ml natural yoghurt
150g flour (half wholemeal if you’re trying to increase fibre content)
Mix together to form a dough (adding a little extra flour to roll out if necessary)
Roll out to make one large or several small pizza bases
Dry fry on both sides in a large frying pan
Add passata and chosen toppings and heat through in a hot oven
A full recipe example is available here: https://letsgetcooking.org.uk/lets-get-cooking-at-home/recipes/mini-flatbread-pizzas/ if you would like to make your own sauce but passata is a quick, easy alternative
Look out for our “Surviving University” cooking workshops coming soon