If you’re depressed, even the simplest daily responsibilities can seem like a little…a lot. This includes feeding yourself, then repeating it the next day, and the next, and the next. When your energy is low, thinking about cooking regular breakfasts, lunches, and dinners can be exhausting, overwhelming, and downright unappealing.
Eating well can be difficult if your hunger signals are also affected. A loss of appetite is one of the most common signs of depression, and many people with depression often go for long periods without eating. Rachael Hartley, Dt.P.Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and Author of Soft food, says SELF. But even if you don’t feel like it, encouraging yourself to eat regularly can do more good than you think, says Hartley.
« Although no diet can cure depression, eating regularly throughout the day is helpful in maintaining energy and preventing fatigue, » she says. Hunger, low blood sugar and certain nutrient deficiencies can all exacerbate symptoms of depression, she explains. Eating even the most basic combinations of fats, proteins, carbs, and nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables can at least improve your mood somewhat, Hartley says. (Plus, beyond nourishing your body, eating food should be a delicious and joyful experience!)
Preparing foods that tick these boxes can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be as big a process as you might think. Allowing yourself to take culinary shortcuts can help you get food into your belly without a ton of effort, says Hartley. Microwavable ingredients, store-bought condiments and sauces, pre-chopped produce, pre-cooked protein, and boxed grain mixes can all be great for quick, balanced meals. Keeping snacks ready can also be helpful for times when your appetite just doesn’t seem big enough for a full meal, she says.
For those days when you feel ready to prep, Hartley has created meal ideas designed to deliver big flavor with the least amount of work. These 10 tasty recipes include fun twists on comfort food classics — think omelettes, spaghetti, and fries — and they’ve got you covered, from breakfast to dinner. None of these recipes require a lot of time to prepare or execute, and the ingredients are usually available at almost any grocery store. We also suggest doubling some of these recipes so you have leftovers that can be reheated and ready in minutes.
Oatmeal and brown sugar smoothie