Food has more of an impact on you and your life than simply filling your stomach. We look into how the right food can set you up for a great week.

There is research to suggest that there is a direct link between your food and your mood. Food doesn’t just keep us alive; what we eat effects our brain, our body and our mentality – directly and indirectly. It goes without saying that what we eat has an impact on our weight which in some cases can also influence our mental health. That is how our food obliquely affects our mood, however, eating the right kinds of food can positively affect our energy levels, resulting in higher chances of better mental health in the long run.


As well as what we’re eating, when we’re eating can help us out. Eating regularly and eating foods that release energy slowly (carbohydrates such as: pasta, oats, wholegrain bread, nuts and seeds) will help keep your sugar levels stable. If your blood sugars drop, you could end up feeling tired and irritable. You should never skip breakfast (or any meal, for that matter), and spacing your meals our regularly throughout the day will maintain your energy.


We all know the 5-a-day rule, but why does it really matter? Well, fruit and veg both contain a lot of minerals, vitamins and fibres that we require to maintain physical and mental health. Eating a rainbow (a colourful plate of food) every day will ensure that you get a good range of nutrients. Remember that all kinds of fruit and veg count, whether they’re fresh, frozen, tinned, dried or juiced, so don’t think it always has to be fresh. One portion is generally about a handful, small, bowl or a small glass-full, making it easy to measure out your 5 servings.


Drinking enough water a day is the way to a healthy brain. If you don’t drink enough fluids, you might have difficulty concentrating. You need to be drinking between 6-8 glasses a day, which may sound like a lot. Really, it’s not. If you break it down to 3 glasses before lunch and 4-5 between then and when you go to bed, it’s a lot more manageable. Tea, coffee, juices and smoothies do all count towards your intake, but remember that these might also consist of caffeine or sugar.


Unfortunately, your gut can sometimes reflect how you are feeling in terms of emotion. If you feel stressed or anxious, this can make your gut slow down or speed up. In order to maintain a healthy digestive system, you need to make sure your diet consists of plenty of fibre, fluid and regular exercise. Try incorporating foods like fruit, veg, wholegrain’s, beans, pulses and probiotic’s into whatever you’re eating. If you are feeling stressed out and you think it could be having an impact on your gut, try some relaxation techniques or breathing exercises.


Protein is an important element of your diet. It contains amino acids, which make up the chemicals in your brain that you need to regulate how your feeling. It also keeps you feeling fuller for longer, preventing unwanted spouts of hunger. Try adding lean meat, fish, eggs, cheese, peas, beans, lentils or nuts and seeds into your food choices to get a range of different proteins.


Cutting carbs is never an option for losing weight healthily. The fact is, your body needs carbohydrates to function properly, especially if you’re doing extra exercise to boost weight loss. Diets like the ‘ketogenic diet’ suggest cutting them out all together, but be aware that it can make you tired and you’ll probably end up craving other foods that will be worse for you than the initial carbs would be.


Your brain requires fatty acids like omega 3 and omega 5 to keep it in working order. Although some fats are bad for you, you do in fact need to eat the right kind of fats that can be found in oily fish, chicken, olive oils, seeds like sunflower and pumpkin and avocados. These kinds of foods are necessary for a healthy balanced diet.

Do yourself and your body a favour this Sunday night. If meal prepping is your thing, make sure you prep your lunches well – ensuring each one is completely balanced and full of the right fats, proteins and carbs. Whatever you eat tonight, make it count towards starting Monday well. You’ll thank yourself for it in the morning.

The views expressed in this article intend to highlight studies and encourage conversation. They are for informational purposes only. Although this article features advice from professionals, we are not medically trained to offer any further advice, and it is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied on for specific medical advice. If you are experiencing feelings of stress, anxiety and/or depression, please reach out to a medical practitioner for help. If you need extra help, Mind CharityThe Mental Health Foundation and Samaritans all offer immediate help at any time.