Cooking with depression: how to do it?

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Page last updated: 10/11/2022

Cooking with depression: how to do it?

In this blog we will discuss how to get excited about cooking with depression. 

We will also discuss what are the various ways you can make cooking with depression easier, as well as provide you with five easy and simple meals that are nutritious and healthy. 

Cooking with depression: how to do it?

Here are a few things you can do to make cooking with depression easier and more manageable:

  • Stock up on healthy ingredients
  • Build on simple foods
  • Consider frozen foods
  • Instant meals can be made healthy
  • Prep your meals in advance
  • Consider Nutritional counselling

Depression is a serious mental health disorder that has caused widespread disability in the lives of those it has affected. WHO estimates that close to 300 million people are affected world wide. 

Depression has many debilitating symptoms that are criterias for its diagnosis and one of them is the change in diet.

Diet is an important aspect of overall health and is an important component of maintaining a positive state of mental health. 

Diet is so important and crucial that it has spawned a new field of medicine known as nutritional psychiatry that focuses on how diet impact’s our mental well being. 

According to a 2015 study, researchers sought to understand the impact of calorie restrictions on the body and subsequently the effect it has had on the risks of developing depression. 

Researchers found that their study backed the understanding that even short term calorie restriction due to a poor diet or lighter diet had negative impacts on mental health as well as the impact on pharmacological treatments for depression. 

There has been plenty of research studies that have been linked to what we eat and higher risks of depression. Research finds that well balanced meals with adequate intake of vegetables, fruits, grain, and healthy fats are related to lower risks of depression.

Here are a few things you can do to make cooking with depression easier and more manageable:

Stock up on healthy ingredients

All of these ingredients are necessary for you to maintain a healthy diet that’s substantial and nourishing to maintain a healthy body and mind. 

According to psychcentral, here are some ingredients to add to your grocery list:

Healthy fats and Oils

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • virgin coconut oil

Natural Sugars 

  • honey 
  • agave

Fruits and veggies

  • carrot sticks or baby carrots
  • fresh or frozen spinach or kale
  • sweet potatoes
  • fresh, frozen, dried, or freeze-dried:
  • bananas
  • grapes
  • apples
  • clementines
  • kiwi
  • cauliflower
  • fresh, frozen, or freeze-dried:
  • broccoli
  • snap peas

Whole grain Carbs

  • rolled oats
  • brown rice
  • quinoa
  • Snacks

Selenium rich foods

  • Beans and legumes.
  • Lean meat
  • Low-fat dairy products.

Snacks 

  • dry roasted nuts
  • low fat string cheese
  • air popped popcorn
  • whole grain crackers
  • whole grain cereal

Build on simple foods

If you are unmotivated to cook or eat due to depression, stick to simple diets and simple meals. Take stock of the simple foods you have with you that do not require much prep. 

Cereal and milk is one way to go, however, if you want to take care of your body a little bit more, consider simple potatoes, eggs, and rice. You can even cook in larger batches so that your leftovers can serve you for another meal.

These foods are so simple and they don’t take much time to set and cook- they mostly cook themselves. You just need to stay close to the stove, a timer on your phone, and a few garnishes. 

Think of a couple of foods that you love and can easily build up depending on your energy level. Let these foods be something you can cook in one pot and which gives you maximum national value for the least amount of effort. 

Cooking with depression: how to do it?

Consider frozen foods

If you are able to go to the store, stop by the frozen food aisle and stock up as much as space and budget will allow. Let your food choices be things that give you energy, nutrition, and fill you up. 

Choose to buy vegetables and fruits in bulk so that you can freeze them and use them for weeks without having to go to the grocery store every time you want something. 

Instant meals can be made healthy

There is no shame in eating instant meals. They are not as nutritionally dense as one might need it to be but what you can do is make the frozen meals your base and to it you can add your other ingredients and also add in more spices for more flavour and more vegetables and healthy fats for more nutrition. 

Meal prep

On a day when you feel like you have some energy, and if you don’t call your best friend up or your mom or a loving uncle who knows how to cook great meals. Ask them their simplest recipes. Ask them to help you out if you want to.

Cook in large batches and freeze them. Frozen soup can last for weeks, so can marinara sauce and chicken breast. Take time to plan it out into days and weeks so that on those especially hard days, you can rely on these meals that you have made for yourself out of care.

Consider Nutritional counselling

Nutritional counselling is a form of counselling that involves assessment which analyzes health needs related to your diet. 

Seeking a consultation with a dietician will be an act of self-love. While the many blogs and tubes can tell you all about these diets, your doctor can help you understand what your body and mind needs.

There are various needs that our body must meet everyday in terms of nutrition, so your dietician can help you figure out how to get those needs.

5 Simple recipes for cooking with depression

Let us take a look at the various healthy depression meals that are easy to make and delicious to eat! 

Greek yogurt and granola

Full fat greek yogurt is a great source of healthy fats and probiotics for gut health as well, adding granola, some honey, and some berries to this mix can be a great way to start your day perky and happy.

Avocado toast

One of the best healthy breakfast out there is the avocado toast which is packed with nutrients and healthy fats. Add an egg on top of the toast and you have your protein quick and easy for the day. 

Quinoa, spinach, and mushroom salad

Quinoa is a superfood which is a great source of protein and good carbs which can help prevent depression and anxiety and pair this with vitamin rich spinach and mushrooms, you have yourself one of the healthiest meals out there to help fuel you for the day. 

Poached eggs and asparagus

Adding eggs to your meals is adding a great source of vitamin D and you need it, especially if you have not found the motivation to get out and about in the sun. 

Adding in asparagus that is rich in tryptophan which can increase levels of serotonin in the brain could be a great source of a booster in the middle of the day when you are preparing a lunch date with yourself or with friends.

Brown rice and black beans

Another very simple meal is adding brown rice, an excellent source of nutrition and very easy to cook and some beans which provide you a great source of protein to your diet. 

How to cope and manage depression?

Depression is a serious mental health disorder that has caused widespread disability in the lives of those it has affected. WHO estimates that close to 300 million people are affected world wide. 

It can severely impact an individual’s quality of life and cause distress and dissatisfaction in the lives of those who live with it. Here are a few things you can do to cope with depression:

Seek out  professional help

If you have been depressed for more than two weeks and it is impacting your other relationships and your professional life, we advise you to seek out professional help immediately.

Talking to a therapist and engaging with them to understand what is happening to you does not mean that you have failed in life. It simply means that you need help like everyone else and that does not make you any less of a person. 

Understanding your condition, diagnosis and Engaging with a therapist, being diligent with your medication, and making the changes you need to make to get better will help you during this difficult time. 

Focus on self-care

While it might be hard to take care of yourself- you might find it hard to eat, wash, wake up, and do other basic things. 

It is okay to allow yourself to let yourself go for a few days but making the effort to stick to routine and structure in your day to day life can help you move forward. 

Taking care of your physical needs is very important as it is a way to care for yourself. Taking care of your emotional needs is also important and you can work towards emotional self care after taking care of your physical needs first. 

You can choose to make new changes that help you feel better or healthier like going to the gym, changing your diet to a more healthy one, going for wants. Sometimes change in routines can also be your way of caring for yourself. 

Conclusion

In this blog we have discussed how to get excited about cooking with depression. 

We have also discussed what are the various ways you can make cooking with depression easier, as well as provide you with five easy and simple meals that are nutritious and healthy. 

FAQ related to cooking with depression

How does depression affect cooking?

A person with depression will often lose interest in activities and they tend to feel low in energy when they are depressed. This means that they are likely to be unmotivated to cook for themselves. 

A person with depression might find that having to cook or eat may feel like too much for them and thus, they might drop it all together leading to unhealthy meals, poor diet, and further deterioration of their overall health. 

Is my diet making me depressed?

Yes, it is likely that your poor diet is affecting your mental health negatively. According to a 2015 study, researchers sought to understand the impact of calorie restrictions on the body and subsequently the effect it has had on the risks of developing depression. 

Researchers found that their study backed the understanding that even short term calorie restriction due to a poor diet or lighter diet had negative impacts on mental health as well as the impact on pharmacological treatments for depression. 

References

How to Feed Yourself When You’re Depressed. LifeHack. Retrieved on 18th April 2022. https://lifehacker.com/how-to-feed-yourself-when-youre-really-depressed-1823560127

26 Recipes to Seriously Boost Your Mood. Greatist. Retrieved on 18th April 2022. https://greatist.com/happiness/25-meals-boost-your-mood

Mental Health Meal Prep: 9 Recipes for Depression Symptoms. Psychcentral.  Retrieved on 18th April 2022. https://psychcentral.com/depression/depression-meal