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Mental wellbeing and food

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This quarter, we’re supporting groups that are working towards food sustainability.

There’s many different considerations in food sustainability, and each of the contributing factors have implications for our physical and mental wellbeing too.

Many groups working towards food sustainability plate up healthy meals, provide safe spaces for socialisation, and encourage people to enjoy the outdoors. This has many benefits, one of which is the impact on mental health.

We can all make simple changes at home, in an effort to look after our mental wellbeing. Here’s a couple of tips:

Eating a balanced diet

We all know this is important for our physical health, but it also has a massive impact on our mental health too. The Eatwell guide shows how much of each food group we should eat overall to achieve a healthy balanced diet, with fruit and veg making up a third of everything we consume. Carbohydrates also make up a large proportion; just over a third. These serve as a great source of energy and nutrients.

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Eat with others

Where possible, eat with others; it’s a great chance to connect and enjoy one another’s company. Plus, if you share responsibilities in the preparation of a meal, it makes the whole process less daunting. There’s lots of amazing community cafes in our area, such as Mint Lane Café, who provide affordable food and encourage people to sit with one another.

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Drink water

Make sure you’re staying hydrated! The best way to do this is to drink plenty of water, but you can also try diluted squash or herbal teas. Try to avoid caffeine and alcohol, as both can have adverse effects on your mood. Sugary drinks will only serve to cause a sudden spike in your blood sugar levels, and when this wears off you may feel tired and irritable.

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Eat regularly

Skipping breakfast is something we’re all warned against, and for good reason – food gives you energy needed to complete your day-to-day tasks and remain focused. Make sure you continue to eat at regular intervals throughout the day, to maintain blood sugar levels. The best way to do this is to eat slow-release energy foods, like wholegrain pasta or oats.

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Enjoy what you eat

It’s important to eat a balanced diet, but you should also enjoy what you eat. This way, you’re less likely to skip meals or revert to junk food. Cooking can be a great way to switch off and have some time for yourself after a busy day, and learning new skills is fun! Making an effort to eat healthily doesn’t mean cutting things out- try making simple steps like swapping to brown rice, or having a piece of fruit for a snack.

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