5. A Mental Health Diet – Self Help for Your Mental Illness

Any professional help websites or literature will tell you the importance of a healthy diet to aid your recovery from mental illlness. I quite agree, but I also know how hard it can be to eat or how arduous the task of preparing food can be. This post is all about managing a mental health diet.

I was fortunate that when I was at my worst my husband, parents and nan all took great care of me which included meals. If you can enlist someone to help you prepare or cook food, it will be a big help in improving your physical and mental health.

If you don’t have anyone, try to prepare all your meals in the morning once you have got yourself up and dressed, then if you take a slump later in the day there will always be easy food to hand.

bowl of various berries and fruits self help for your mental health diet

The best piece of advice I can give you in relation to food is to make it achievable. Your appetite may decrease greatly so make small portions that you can eat at regular intervals.

Store meals and snacks in Tupperware pots that can be popped in the microwave for a minute or two, or just nibbled on from the fridge.

“My mum used to make me homemade chicken noodle soup like she did when I had a cold as a child. And little triangle sandwiches with the crusts cut off, made with the leftovers from Sunday’s roast lamb.”

Another big success for me was comfort food from my childhood, ok so some of them were not of great nutritional value but they got me back in the habit of eating regularly. Small bowls of jelly, bananas and custard, fish fingers, jam or chocolate spread sandwiches cut into tiny squares, homemade soup, boiled eggs with soldiers.

Anything that’s easy to eat and in some respects transports you back to a time when you were little and life was simple can be more palatable.

plate of cucumber sandwiches in quarters with crusts cut off - a mental health diet

Other great nibbles are small pieces of fruit, carrot, pepper and celery batons, chunks of cucumber, cheese and pineapple cubes, cherry tomatoes, cocktail sausages, rice cakes, fromage frais and little pots of mixed nuts and raisins.

Again with drinks prepare what you can in the morning – make up small bottles of water or squash, have individual cartons of juice in the fridge, set out a few cups ready with a tea bag/coffee/sugar in, buy some individual sachets of hot chocolate or lattes so you only have to add hot water and fill the kettle with water so you just have to flick the switch – yes sometimes even filling a kettle from the tap will take too much effort!

One thing I certainly agree with is to avoid alcohol, it will drag you down and cause long term problems.

As you recover, so will your appetite and ability to cook again.

You might like to check out my family recipe for CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP and an old school dinner recipe for EASY BUTTERSCOTCH TART.

Let me know if you try out any of my tips.
Do you have a different mental health diet?

Or maybe you found that your appetite increased during mental illness. How do you cope with that?
Please leave any suggestions in the comments below.

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