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Food & Mood

Author: be well™ with Big Y® Registered Dietitian Team

You are what you eat and that's a great thing!

Do you feel like your mood is dropping along with colder temperatures? Take a deep breath and spend a moment to reflect upon how you eat. Are you eating three meals each day? Do you consume more than two types of fruits and vegetables every day? Are you always on the run eating convenience foods? Improving mood comes together with feeling good mentally and physically. Eating a well-balanced meal plan is a great way to achieve both.

Holiday treats with excess sugar, fat and calories may have become staples during the holiday season, but now is the time to get back to healthier habits for the rest of the winter months. Visit MyPlate.gov to learn your individualized goals and include a variety of foods from each of the Five Food Groups. Undercutting your needs may lead to binge eating, or at the very least, a drop in blood sugar that can leave you feeling tired, sluggish, grumpy and overwhelmed.


One secret: Always include a fruit and vegetable from different colors of the rainbow when building daily meals and snacks. Each color you eat provides an assortment of antioxidant-acting plant compounds that help keep you feeling energized.

Although the food you eat won’t instantly make you feel happier, foods like fruits and vegetables will help your body function properly. For example, the brain uses nutrients such as selenium, magnesium, zinc and vitamins C, E and all the B vitamins to function properly. These minerals and vitamins make, protect and transport important messengers to your cells like dopamine and serotonin that keep you feeling happy and focused.


Deficiencies of such vitamins and minerals may lead to similar feelings of low blood sugar simply because the body doesn’t have the necessary “ingredients” your brain needs to ensure food is broken down and used properly by your cells. Consuming dark leafy greens like spinach and kale and citrus fruits like mandarins and grapefruits are just a few ways to ensure you get essential nutrients such as B vitamins, selenium, magnesium and vitamin C.

Although the holiday season may be over, give yourself the gift of good moods for the wintry weeks ahead. In the end, you are what you eat. Choose to be powerful and full of color!

Reviewed 1/24/2023