1. I follow a vegan diet, are there any nutrients that I need to consider for mood?
A well rounded and balanced vegan diet can be extremely healthy, however it is important to note that as this dietary pattern also cuts out whole foods groups which may put you at risk of certain nutrient deficiencies.
Consider taking a supplement of vitamin B12 as there are no good vegan sources of this key nutrient. You may also like to ensure that your plant based milks are fortified with iodine and calcium.
Other nutrients to be mindful of include obtaining sufficient omega 3 fats as well as iron.
2. I hate fish, how can I obtain sufficient omega 3 within my diet?
Aim to consume 1-2 tbsp chia or ground flaxseeds on a daily basis. You can also try using their oils within salads dressings or for drizzling over your food. In comparison to fish, plant based sources provide less omega 3 fats in comparison to fish, you would need to ensure that you consume these foods on a regular basis.
3. I struggle to sleep, is there anything I can do from a nutrition point of view?
Avoid large heavy meals before bed, be mindful of alcohol intake and stop drinking caffeinated drinks by midday.
Try opting for a balanced dinner which contains a combination of protein and slow release carbohydrates. Carbohydrates help with serotonin production which is then converted to melatonin. You can also opt for calming herbal teas such as chamomile, valerian root or lemon balm. (please always check with your health care provider to ensure herbal teas do not interact with medication)
4. I often have 3pm sugar cravings and struggle to avoid the office cake tray, what can I do?
Preparation is the key to success, by having the right food to hand you are more likely to make healthier choices. Whilst may of us have sugar cravings, consuming neat sugar off the spoon seems rather unappetising. Instead we crave a combination of sugar and fat which provides those moreish and hyper-palatable qualities.
Try making a batch of our cacao + chia energy balls, opt for apple or banana dipped in nut butter, try baking fruit and serving with a dollop of Greek yoghurt + cinnamon.
5. I struggle with that afternoon slump, do you have any suggestions to combat this?
The afternoon slump is down to our circadian rhythm and can be experienced by all. However our lunch choice may exacerbate symptoms. Be mindful large, high fat and high carbohydrate options. Try opting for slightly lighter lunch and including a balanced afternoon snack.
Exercise and movement are both invigorating and energising. Try eating lunch away from your desk, and taking a brisk 5 minute walk for an energy boost.
6. I tend to eat when under stress and when bored, how can I manage this?
Mindful eating is one of the strongest tools to have in your box when it comes regulating food intake healthy way. Mindful eating isn’t about restriction or cutting food groups, instead it increases awareness over eating habits and can be key to managing hunger and fullness cues.
When we eat mindfully we tend to feel much more satisfied with what we are consuming, therefore we are less likely to overdo it when it comes to comfort food.
Eating more slowly - put your knife and fork down between each bite, savour the flavours and allow your brain time to register your fullness cues
Chew! - try choosing 15-30 times, notice the flavours & textures of your food
Eat without distraction - many people mindlessly eat in front of their TV, laptop or phone without registering the flavours and whether they’re full or not. Focus on your food and you will experience your meal more intensely - especially the pleasure of it, leaving you more satisfied.