Feeling like you’re in a slump? It could be time to change up your diet to ensure you’re consuming foods that boost your energy and make you feel good. While it’s easy to grab the most convenient snack when you’re busy during the day, you might be surprised at how a few healthy swaps can change your entire mood and outlook. Fresh, wholesome snacks can satisfy your desire for a snack break while also helping you feel energized, sharp, and focused. Next time you wander down to the kitchen in search of a snack, let it be one of these 12 healthy mood-boosting snacks.
While many may associate chocolate with unhealthy food, it actually can be a great mood-boosting option in some circumstances. According to WebMD, experts recommend eating high-quality dark chocolate because it can stimulate the production of endorphins, which can boost your mood. It also contains the chemical serotonin, which can make you feel happier and acts as an antidepressant.
It’s recommended to consume dark chocolate in small amounts and experts suggest one ounce per day. It’s also recommended to look for dark chocolate that is at least 70 percent cocoa and contains minimal ingredients to avoid eating anything overly processed.
Hard Boiled Eggs
Hard-boiled eggs are packed with plenty of protein and are a great mood-boosting snack to reach for throughout the day or as part of your lunch. Aside from protein, eggs also contain a variety of vitamins that your body needs to produce energy such as thiamin, riboflavin, folate, B12, and B6.
If you’re looking to add your hard-boiled eggs into your diet, you could always prep them at the beginning of the week to have on hand when you get hungry. You could also top them on top of your avocado toast for lunch for a filling, healthy meal.
Eating your greens is so important for your overall health, but also for boosting your mood and energy. A smoothie is a great way to get more hydration and nutrients into your body in one effective and delicious drink.
Next time you’re feeling like you’re in a slump, try blending up a green smoothie. Start with a green base such as spinach or kale, then top with your favorite fruits. This could be anything you have on hand including bananas, strawberries, mangos, blueberries, and more.
It’s so important to include a variety of healthy fats in your diet. According to Healthline, fatty fish like salmon are rich in two types of omega-3s, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which have been linked to lower levels of depression.
You could opt for smoked salmon with cucumber on a cracker as a snack or have baked salmon with rice for lunch. Just try to ensure that your salmon is wild caught if possible.
Rolled oats are a delicious and filling snack that can help lift your spirits when you’re in a slump. Oats are an excellent source of fiber which helps to slow the digestion of carbs, and in turn, allows for a gradual release of sugar into the bloodstream to keep your energy levels stable.
You could also top your oats with fresh berries, banana, or nut butter to add even more mood-boosting, energizing benefits to your meal. Rolled oats are a great snack when you get hungry throughout the day but also work as a satisfying breakfast or lunch option.
Berries have so many benefits for your health, but you’ll be happy to know that they’re also a great choice to boost your mood. Berries are rich in antioxidants which may help manage inflammation associated with mood disorders. Antioxidants can also lower the risk of depression.
Berries can be incorporated into your diet in so many different ways whether you prefer to eat them on their own, top them on your yogurt or oatmeal, or blend them in a smoothie.
Bananas are a simple snack to bring with you on the go or to reach for when you’re hungry mid-day. Bananas are high in vitamin B6, which can help synthesize the body’s feel-good neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin.
One large banana contains 16 grams of sugar and 3.5 grams of fiber. When fiber is paired with sugar, it allows the sugar to release slowly into the bloodstream which allows for a more stable mood and keeps your blood sugar levels in check.
Nuts and Seeds
If you’re craving something salty, nuts and seeds may be the perfect mood-boosting snack for you to have on hand. Nuts and seeds are high in fiber, healthy fats, and plant-based protein which is ideal for boosting your mood and energy. Many nuts and seeds contain tryptophan, which is an amino acid responsible for producing mood-boosting serotonin.
A few healthy nuts to have on hand include almonds, cashews, peanuts, and walnuts. In terms of seeds, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds are excellent choices.
Chickpeas are a great source of vitamin B6 and protein, which work well together to support neurotransmitter function in the brain. Vitamin B6 and protein also help produce serotonin and dopamine, which are key hormones that your body needs to be happy.
You could use chickpeas to top off your salad or bake them until they’re crispy for a crunchy snack. You could also eat chickpeas in the form of hummus with some of your favorite veggies.
Vitamin C is key to fighting sickness, but high levels can also help regulate your stress hormones and lower blood pressure. Aside from vitamin C, oranges also contain vitamin B6. These two vitamins combined together are a dream team for relieving anxiety and lessening depression.
Oranges are great to eat on their own, blend in a smoothie, or even topped on a salad. Another great way to eat more oranges is to squeeze them into fresh orange juice.
If you’re not necessarily hungry but still want a boost in your energy and mood, it could be helpful to opt for a tea. This can be a great alternative to coffee and the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.
The specific teas that are great for boosting your mood are green, black, or even oolong tea. These teas contain an amino acid called theanine that can help with calming the mind and boosting alertness. The comfort and soothing quality of a warm drink can also help to improve mood.
Edamame is another great healthy snack that’s often overlooked. Edamame contains high levels of magnesium and the B vitamin folate, which helps the development of serotonin and acts as an antidepressant. Edamame also contains tryptophan, which is known to improve sleep, elevate your mood, and help regulate appetite
Edamame is delicious and warmed up with a dash of salt, which can allow for a quick, easy snack that doesn’t require much prep work. Edamame can also be topped on a salad or added to your dinner dish.