Eating healthy to improve your mental health

When it comes to our mental health, what we eat can make a big difference to us. Research has shown that diets rich in foods like fruit, vegetables and seeds helps protect our mental health. Making healthier food choices will not only improve our mental health but also our physical fitness.

Below are 8 simple tips to help you along the way:

Plan Ahead

Why not try making some extra meals to store? You could make enough that will last you for several days, and freeze them in portions to use when you don’t feel like cooking

Don’t skip meals

You need to eat 3 balances meals a day to keep your energy levels steady. Try boosting your intake or fruit, dairy, whole-grains, nuts and seeds between meals.

Start the day the right way

Did you know breakfast breaks your brain’s overnight fast. Make sure to start your day with some porridge, wholegrain bread or cereal, dairy and fruit. These foods keep essential brain nutrients topped up!

Use to Food Pyramid

Familiarising yourself with the Food Pyramid will help you plan healthier meals. Base you main meals on wholegrain bread, brown, rice pasta or other grains. Protein helps with the production of complex chemical messengers in the brain and protein foods provide us with nutrients that are vital for our mental heath.

Get your fats right

Our brains run on glucose, but did you know it’s mostly made up of fat? Oily fish, like mackerel and salmon are the main sources of omega-3 fats.

Eat more fruit and vegetables

Coffee, fruit and vegetables may cut breast cancer risk | Science ...

Fruit and vegetables are a great source of vitamins and minerals. Add dark green and orange fruit and vegetables to your shopping. Include things like beans and lentils.

Drink the right drinks

Feeling fuzzy? Well dehydration can lead to this thinking, poor memory and feeling tired. Remember that drinks containing caffeine will act as a strong stimulant. It is important that we reduce our caffeine intake- I know it’s hard to resist ”Anyone for a cuppa?”, but instead- try reach for some water, herbal tea or diluted fruit juice. We need 8- 10 cups of water a day. Why not spice it up by adding strawberries or cucumber to make it tastier!

Keep a diary

It might take you some time to get used to your new eating pattern, but make slow changes and give yourself time to adjust. Write down what you eat and make some notes about how you’re feeling in the hours or days after. Over time this will help you work out how certain meals or foods made you feel and the impact they have on your energy and mood.

Read more about the little things you can do to improve you mental health

Read more about ”Healthy Food for Life” on the Healthy Ireland website

Read more about the Irish Food Pyramid

Tips for working out at home!

Working out from home is becoming a growing choice in people’s lifestyles as we social distance and isolate during COVID-19. It allows us to exercise in a way that is convenient for the situations that we find ourselves in and it is also an accessible way to do it. There’s a huge number of reasons but how do we make the most of it?

Make a routine:

First up is make a routine! You need to make a routine in your workouts. Working out at home allows you to do it when you feel like it, so a good idea is to know what you want to do when you decide to do it. That way, you will prevent making excuses for yourself or putting it off until later or even tomorrow (we are all guilty of this at least once before).



Next up is equipment. However, most of us did not ever think that we would be living through these extraordinary times, so we may have not panic bought weight sets. Now, do not fret, there are many exercises we can do body weighted and we can also improvise with the materials we have- use your canned tins as weights, water bottles as dumbbells, fill a rucksack with heavy books (be creative!).

Set goals:

Goal setting is vital no matter how you’re working out. One of the easiest things to do is to make up excuses especially at this time. However, take this time to decided where you want to be in 1 month – 6 months time, and work from there. Be realistic with your goals with the current situation, and do what you think will be doable. Setting achievable goals will be your first step!


After you have done all of the above, the next crucial point for you is that you are keeping things varied. Variety is the spice of life after all, or so they say! So doing the same workout, day in day out is not good for us, physically or mentally. If you find yourself doing the same workout each day, change it up. Do a HITT or yoga session, include a new body weight workout- these are a great way to add variety. Get outdoors (within your 2 km radius) for a while! Changing up your training patterns is great for your progress.

New England Trail Running Guide | ACTIVE

Don’t do it alone:

How you might ask? You don’t have to do it alone if your isolating and working out from your home! There are loads of options to make the most of social exercising. Why not hit the internet and go find some relevant instructor led classes, sigh up for a zoom session with your local gym. The opportunities and endless at this time and there is something out there for everyone. Why not get a family member involved and set goals together. Exercising with someone else is an excellent way to keep things interesting and motivate yourselves! Think about it and include them in your plans if that’s what’s going to push your further- we all have a competitive nature after all!

Delicious & Nutritious

There are lots of ways to change what you eat. Rather than reaching for treat foods when you’re hungry, below are some healthy snack ideas to improve your diet and help you make healthier choices. Why not try out some of these food swaps.

Need a light snack between meals?

  • Small pot of yoghurt
  • 2 rice cakes
  • Handful of nuts and seeds
  • Vegetable sticks & Hummus
  • Fruit

Need to grab something quickly?

  • Fruit
  • Small bag of popcorn
  • Single portion of cheese
  • Wholemeal scone
  • Small yoghurt pot
  • Boiled egg
  • 1/2 toasted bagel with peanut butter

Are you really hungry?

  • Wholemeal toast, peanut butter and banana
  • Wholemeal toast, cheese and tomato
  • Bowl of wholemeal soup
  • Mini wrap with cheese, meat or fish filling and some veg
  • Omelette
  • Porridge
  • Cheese, meat or fish sandwich with added veg and greens
  • Cereal Wheat Biscuits & milk, topped with berries

Not sure how to make an omelette or porridge? Well check out the videos below from SafeFood to see how easy they are:

Wellness Wednesday!

In the last few days the word ‘Self-care’ has been used a lot. We are hearing that we must take care of ourselves and others during this time. But what is ‘self- care’?. Self -care isn’t always about “pampering” yourself or sitting down to watch a whole season of the newest show on Netflix. It is important that we realise that actually taking care of ourselves can be hard and there are things we can put off, especially when we have to stay inside all day.

‘The Mighty’ digital health community have created 20 ‘Legit’ Self Care Ideas. Read through the list – I bet there are a few things on that you had been meaning to do (like clearing your inbox). Try and work through a few this Wednesday .

How to stay connected while staying apart?

For at last three weeks, and for the coming few weeks we are going to be staying safe at home, with very small interactions outside of that. We all know by now how essential it is we stay connected online or on the phone, but has it started feeling like you are running out of things to talk about? After all, no one really has any news, and we don’t just want to talk about the pandemic itself all the time, right?

The article below shares some conversation starters. Why not try theses with the people you are housebound with, or in the group chat with the gang. These will allow you to open up meaningful, interesting conversations and it will also allow you to get to know each other better. Don’t be worried about the title ”The 36 Questions that Lead to Love”- you aren’t going to be made fall in love with anyone! However the questions do foster closeness and after all if you’re stuck together, you might as well get to know each other a little better!

5 Way to Well-Being

During this time of uncertainty surrounding COVID- 19, we are all learning to adjust to the new situations that we find ourselves in. This can cause a lot of concern and stress, impacting how we feel, think and behave. It is important that we take actions to look after our mental health and well-being and that of those around us. These 5 actions aim to support us in doing just that. Check them out below.

Practicing self- care through food

Times are particularly tough right now, and as we all settle into isolation, many of us are worried about the effects on our mental health. Here are our top tips for using food to nurture yourself and stay healthy, happy… and sane!

Eat Regularly

If you go long periods of time without eating, your body can’t function at its best. Skipping meals can result in fatigue and/or headaches. Include a balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats throughout the day to provide your body with what it needs. Having a balance of these helps keep blood sugar levels stable and will help you feel more energised.

Drink Water

Drinking water gives you energy and keeps your cells functioning at their
best. Remember, thirst can be mistaken for hunger, so keeping yourself hydrated might stop you eating more than you need.

Eat the Rainbow

A way to ensure you’re getting a wide range of nutrients is to include whole
foods of every colour in your diet: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple and even white every day. Non-perishables like tinned foods are included in this, also.

Avoid High Sugar

When you’re feeling a bit down, it can be tempting to reach for the sweet
treats. However, the quick boost of energy obtained from sugary snacks
soon leads to a crash, and then you’ll feel even worse. Instead, look for
slow-release energy: turn to whole grains or whole fresh fruit combined with some protein and fat. Why not try an apple with a few pieces of cheese.

Plan Ahead

Meal planning reduces time spent in the supermarket and makes it easy to use everything you have in the house. At the start of the week, try to create even a rough outline of what you want to eat in the days ahead,
combining cupboard supplies with fresh items.

Cooking with Siobhán

As part of ‘Wellness Wednesday’ the Well Crew along with Siobhán Joyce from ‘Bowl – A – Granola’ have begun cooking demonstrations in The HUB. These demonstrations are designed to be healthy and affordable for everyone. They have been taking place each Wednesday from 10 -12 p.m. Week 1 saw all participants ‘learn to love lentils’ and in Week 2 we saw how easy it is to ‘transform our leftovers’ into nutritious, easy and affordable meals.

Cooking has been well- know for its therapeutic benefits and what can be more relaxing than preparing food for everyone to enjoy? It can be a mechanism of escape from any other thoughts that you may be experiencing and it can also be a bonding session to cook a meal with others.

Cooking can help us learn about the basics of budgeting for ingredients, as well as responsibility, like knowing how long to bake the bread in the over for. Cooking is an experience that can be fun for all age groups, while being rewarded with a completed meal made from scratch. The aroma of a home cooked meal throughout the house is something to also enjoy!

These cooking demonstrations enable students to develop skills needed to engage and teach housemates, friends or family members about ways to achieve better health through cooking healthful foods.

We decided on cooking demonstrations as they are a unique and effective way to teach nutritional concepts and basic cooking skills in a group setting. Participants at the sessions have found them to be beneficial for as they help improve confidence in the kitchen, cooking skills development, and the promotion of healthier foods into their diet.

Make sure to drop by once we return where you can avail of free samples (yes I said FREE) and pick up a copy of our weekly recipe booklet!

Keep your routines up during self- isolation

How do you keep a healthy structure to your day during these weeks? It is quiet possible that your daily routine has become affected, but it is especially important at this time to keep some structure in your daily activities. It can be helpful to make a plan for yourself in the morning or the night before by including some of the tips below.