In an ideal world we would all be bursting with energy and getting on with life happily, but in the real world it does not work like this. Life has a way of throwing obstacles into our path which can knock us down leaving us feeling low. The weather can also leave us feeling miserable and often work can leave you feeling tired and stressed. The food you eat may also play a part in your mood and your overall health. Tilda have created an “Eat Your Way to Happiness” meal plan which aims to help you to eat yourself happy in 7 days. They recently got in touch and challenged me to try it out and see if it made me feel happier. I was given the meal plan and asked to write a diary to track what I ate, when I ate and how it made me feel. I had to keep the diary for seven days eating as I would normally and seven days following the eat your way to happiness meal plan.
Tilda Eat Your Way to Happiness Guide
The mood food manual contains healthy living advice and recipes from Dr. Sarah Schenker and Dr. Christy Fergusson. Dr Sarah Schenker is a clicical dietician who has devised a seven day meal planner which has been designed to be low GI and gluten free. It will help to keep your energy stable, improve your vitality, mood and sleep and get you eating food that is good for you. The meal planner can be downloaded from: http://www.tilda.com/wholegrain. Dr Christy Fergusson is a doctor of psychology and nutritional therapist and helps explain how food can affect your mood. I do think I eat quite healthily and was really interested to find out what foods I could be eating and if it would make any difference to my mood overall. Generally I am quite happy but often get tired and stressed. If changing my diet could help with this then it would be worth the effort.
Top Mood Foods
The guide contains a list of the top mood foods, foods that are good for your physical health as well as having an impact on your emotional well being. The reasons they work are explained in the guide so I am not going to go into details here. On this list there are quite a few foods that I do not eat on a regular basis and have never thought of adding to my diet. The top mood foods are:
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Chia Seeds
- Wholegrain Basmati
- Dark Chocolate
I eat lots of chicken, yoghurt, broccoli and bananas but the other foods are hit and miss. I was looking forward to finding out how I could include more of these foods in my diet.
The Meal Planner
I was concerned that the meal planner would be difficult to follow and would not fit into my lifestyle. As I work I usually take a packed lunch with me to the office. When making dinner I need to make something the whole family will enjoy. It turned out I need not have worried. Most of the lunches were things that I could pack and take with me. The dinners were enjoyed by the whole family with a mix of dishes from cottage pie with butter bean and celeriac mash to spinach and chickpea gratin and turkey tagine. The mood foods were added into the recipes in a creative way and it felt very much like eating normally.
An example lunch – Mexican Rice and Bean Salad which incorporates Tilda Mexican Chili & Bean Steamed Basmati rice pouch, spring onions, avocado, a boiled egg, walnuts and lime juice. Not a combination I would have thought of but it is surprisingly tasty.
- 250g Tilda Basmati Rice Pouch
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 large onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp tumeric
- Bunch of coriander
- 1 tbsp ras el hanout spice mix
- 400g turkey breast
- 200g butternut squash
- 400g tin chickpeas
- 150g dried apricots
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 500ml chicken stock
- 120g almonds
- 100g pomegranate seeds
- zest of 1 lemon
- salt and pepper
- yoghurt to serve
- Preheat the oven to 200C Gas Mark 6
- Peel and chop the onion and garlic
- Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole dish.
- Add the onion and cook for five minutes until soft
- Add the garlic, turmeric, ras el hanout and chopped coriander and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring all the time.
- Dice the turkey, peel and chop the butternut squash and add to the dish with the chickpeas and halved apricots.
- Pour over the tomatoes and stock.
- Season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil.
- Put the lid on the dish and place in the oven
- After 30 minutes reduce the oven to 150C Gas Mark 4 stir the tagine and cook for another 30 minutes uncovered.
- Place the almonds on a baking tray and bake for 6-8 minutes until golden. Slice them finely
- Remove the dish from the oven and stir in the almonds and pomegranate seeds. Srpinkle with lemon zest and coriander.
- Serve with the Tilda Basmati brown rice and yoghurt.
Having followed the eating plan for seven days I can definitely say that it made a difference to my mood. When I compared my diary for the seven days before and after I found that I was less hungry during the day. Whilst my life was still full of ups and downs during the day my mood was on a much more even keel and I was able to cope better with things. I am definitely going to try and add these mood foods into my diet and the eating plan showed me a number of clever ways to do this. Adding butter beans and chickpeas along with meat is a good way to bulk out a meal as well. It was an interesting experiment and hopefully I will continue eating more healthily from now on.
I was sent some Tilda rice to help me follow the eating plan but the opinions are my own.