Let’s say you’re feeling a little down today. There’s nothing specifically wrong, but you’ve just woken up and you’re in a bit of a bad mood. It may be tempting to reach for some sugary comfort cereals before starting your day, but the resulting sugar crash could leave you feeling even worse. Instead, we’ve investigated a few healthier foods that are reputed to boost your mood and make your disposition a bit sunnier today. We then combined them in a healthy, delicious breakfast so you can start your day feeling happier! Whether you need a quick pick-me-up or a filling meal that’ll leave you satisfied and content, you’ve got options with these mood foods.
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day for a reason. A complete and healthy breakfast has been shown to be important for having a positive attitude. Two major studies published in the last few years have tied eating breakfast with lower rates of depression or other mood disorders.
Research also shows that breakfast can make you calmer and generally more positive.
This may be in part because breakfast can improve numerous brain functions, like concentration and cognition. Research also shows that breakfast can make you calmer and generally more positive. Skipping breakfast has even been shown to increase cortisol (the stress hormone) in your body and up your blood pressure.
Your morning perk-up may have a bigger influence on your mood than just making other people tolerable. Besides improving alertness and wakefulness, coffee can give a subtle boost to your mood and may even protect against depression. One study even compared the effects of coffee to a mild antidepressant in its ability to positively impact your outlook. While coffee shouldn’t replace a prescribed antidepressant or mental health treatment, this research shows that coffee can help you feel better if you’re feeling a little down, acting as a pick-me-up in more than one way.
The Happy Breakfast
Is there a way we can combine all these mood-boosting ingredients we’ve found in this short series into a single breakfast, so you can start your day off positively? You bet! We’ve got a recipe for a breakfast you can make in under 15 minutes. It’s not a grab-and-go meal, but you (and your happiness) are worth the effort.
First, we’re utilizing the foods from our first Mood Foods article to create a pleasantly filling main course. In this case, we’re making a salmon fillet alongside spinach scrambled eggs, but you could also cook the salmon before spreading it, making a salmon and spinach omelet. You can also make French-style scrambled eggs, which are creamier than American-style scrambles. That’s the beauty of these ingredients — they’re very versatile.
You can sweeten the coffee further by adding a little bit of the excess chopped dark chocolate you have.
Next, we’ll be combining the dark chocolate, yogurt, and whole grain granola (all ingredients from the second Mood Foods article) for a sweet but healthy parfait that will give a nice refreshing conclusion to the dish. Then, you can wash it all down with the fourth ingredient from today’s Mood Foods, coffee. You can sweeten the coffee further by adding a little bit of the excess chopped dark chocolate you have, stirring it into the coffee until it’s thoroughly melted.
Mood-Booster Breakfast Recipe
- 1 medium salmon fillet
- ½ cup of fresh spinach, chopped
- 1 egg
- 1 bar of dark chocolate, chopped
- ¼ cup of whole grain granola
- ½ cup of Greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- About 1½ tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp milk or cream
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- Season both sides of the salmon fillet with salt and pepper.
- In a large skillet, heat about one tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat.
- When the oil begins to shimmer lightly, sear both sides of the salmon until the outside is browned and crispy, about three minutes a side.
- Set aside and lower the skillet to low to medium heat.
- Put a tab of butter (roughly a tablespoon) in the pan. As it melts, scrape up any brown bits left in the pan from the salmon.
- Add the chopped spinach, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper. Sauté the spinach until it’s soft and lightly wilted.
- Remove the spinach from the pan and set aside.
- Add a little more butter into the pan before cracking an egg into it. Begin to lightly scramble the eggs.
- [Optional] You can choose to keep the eggs scrambling over heat (adding the spinach just before taking the eggs off the heat) or go with the French method. This takes longer, but it’s worth it. Simply add another tablespoon of butter and stir until the eggs begin to solidify (come together is the terminology) for about three to five minutes over low heat. Whisk in roughly a tablespoon of milk or cream, the sautéed spinach, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook for another 30 seconds to a minute while stirring.
- Combine the yogurt, chopped dark chocolate, and granola in a bowl by creating a layer of yogurt, followed by a layer of dark chocolate, and then a layer of granola, before repeating until you’ve filled the glass.
- Serve the salmon and eggs on a plate, with the yogurt in a bowl on the side, and a cup of coffee for your mood-boosting breakfast!