Essential meal planning to beat the winter blues

January is a time for new beginnings! It is the perfect time to take some steps towards improving your well-being. Plan some healthy meals to get your mind, mood and body back into shape after the darkness and heavy winter carbs!

Here’s a few recipes from my kitchen, ones I’ve tried in the past couple of weeks, in my quest for lifting my mood, feeling better and eating healthier. I am going for a personal link between what I eat and how I feel, proving to myself that there is one, and that food has the power to make me feel well and stay calm.

Health Day

Mushroom Pad Thai – serves 2pexels-photo-261486.jpeg

4 tablespoons soy sauce

100g dried rice noodles

1 onion

2 garlic cloves

1/2 tablespoon chunky peanut butter (or chopped peanuts)

1 tablespoon rapeseed oil

1/4 finely chopped cabbage

1/2 chopped red pepper

handful of sliced mushrooms

juice of 1 lemon

about 2cm ginger, peeled and chopped finely or grated

chilli flakes, to taste

1/4 teaspoon sugar

chopped spring onions (four)

Soak the noodles in hot water from the kettle and leave for 20 minutes or so. Drain.

Peel and finely chop the onion, and the garlic.

Heat the oil in a wok, fry the onion and garlic together with the ginger for a minute, then add the vegetables and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Mix the lemon juice, sugar, soy sauce, chilli flakes and peanut butter. Stir into the vegetables along with the noodles and toss over a high heat for a few more minutes until heated through.

Calming Green Broth – serves 2

The magnesium in this Calming Green Broth (which we get from eating our greens) plays a central role in just about every bodily process, and could be what has a calming effect. You can use any green vegetables in this broth, the original recipe contains courgettes. I used what was in my fridge. I must say – this was the one that had the most noticeable effect. I was quite surprised by how zingy I felt after eating it!


1 leek, peeled and chopped roughly

100g broccoli, roughly chopped

4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped

500 ml vegetable/ chicken stock

4 sprouts, sliced

100g chopped Spring Greens/ Calvo Nero/ Kale

100g chopped Spinach

pinch chilli flakes

1 Tbs Mixed herbs

1 tsp Japanese rice vinegar

Heat the oil in a saucepan and saute the vegetables and garlic, for a few minutes. Add the stock and mixed herbs. Chop the greens into quite small slices and add them to the pan. The soup won’t be blended so keep them small. Let them sit on the top and then cover the pan with a lid. turn down the heat and leave it to simmer for 25 minutes. After 20 minutes add the spinach leaves. Add the rice vinegar and chilli flakes.

Benefits of Magnesium-Rich Foods

  1. Alleviates PMS Symptoms
  2. Reduces Blood Pressure
  3. Boosts Performance
  4. Relieves Inflammation
  5. Prevents Migraines
  6. Improves Blood Sugar
  7. Fights Against Depression
  8. Enhances Sleep Quality

Mushroom, Parsnip and Mustard Soup – serves 4


600g mushrooms (I used oyster and button mushrooms)

2 tablespoons oil

1 sliced onion

2 garlic cloves, slices

3 parsnips, peeled and chopped

750g vegetable/ chicken stock

fresh parsley

1 tablespoon mustard

1 1/2 tablespoon creme fraiche

Wash the mushrooms. Heat the oil and add the onion. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes and then add the garlic and parsnips. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook for another miute then add the stock. Turn the heat down and then cover with a lid and cook for 20 – 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the parsley and the creme fraiche and mustard. Blend the soup.

For another Mushroom dish try my Midweek Moroccan Mushrooms with Cous Cous

Top 7 Health Benefits of Vitamin D (contained in Mushrooms)

1.  Contributes to Bone Health

2.  Helps Manage Blood Sugar Levels and Can Prevent Diabetes

3. Protects Against Cancer

4. Helps Fight Heart Disease

5. Enhances Our Immune System

6. Facilitates in Hormone Regulation and Helps Improve Our Mood

Because it acts like a hormone within our body and effects brain function, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an increased risk for mood disorders including depression, seasonal depression (known as the “winter blues” but actually more serious), severe mood problems experienced during PMS, insomnia, and anxiety.

7. Helps with Concentration, Learning, and Memory

You can read more about Vitamin D here.

These recipes are adapted from one of my go-to in the kitchen books, It’s a book I’d highly recommend!







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