Fight Those Moody Blues with Food

I want a walk

One of the common threads these days among the blogs I read is that many of us are just about up to here with winter and are counting the days/hours/minutes until it’s over. As the progression of gray, dismal days extends, our spirits tumble lower and lower and lower.

And then this happens:

Cookie Delivery

If you haven’t already figured it out, these are NOT the answer. Trust me. I tried Girl Scout Cookie Winter-Blues Therapy for years, and while it provides a temporary boost, it’s not particularly helpful in the overall scheme of things.

That’s not to say there are no foods that will help combat the moody blues. Quite the opposite, in fact, and by following a few eensy, teensy guidelines, we can use food to change that blues-y beat to something much easier (not to mention more fun) to dance to:

Fill up with fruits and veggies – Loaded with nutrients and antioxidants, fruits and veggies influence all our bodies’ systems and improve overall energy levels. We just feel better when we eat them. (Seriously. I’m munching on an apple now, and I’m actually humming. In February.)

Boost your Vitamin B12 and folic acid – Known to prevent mood disorders and reduce symptoms of depression, these two nutrients are easy to add to the winter menu. B12 is found in meats, poultry, fish, and dairy. Folic acid is found in greens and beans. Think: leafy green salad topped with grilled chicken and black beans. Or a nice bowl of chili with beans (or taco soup), topped with a smidge of melted cheese. Or how about a spinach omelet? The possibilities are endless.

Seek out selenium – This critical mineral boosts both mood and mental performance. Lucky for us, it’s found in lots of tasty places: beans & legumes, lean meats, dairy, and nuts and seeds. In fact, ONE brazil nut has twice the RDA of selenium. Who knew?

Get your daily dose of Vitamin D – The best source of Vitamin D is the sun, but when it’s in short supply (see: February), we can supplement our diets with cheese, egg yolks, and fatty fishes like tuna, mackerel, and salmon. These are all good sources of Vitamin D and will help fight off those nasty mood swings.

Opt for Omega 3s – Our little fishy friends are loaded with Omega 3 fatty acids, which reduce the symptoms of depression. Tuna, salmon, herring (ick!), and sardines are good sources of Omega 3s.

Splurge on an itsy bit of chocolate – A small serving of chocolate boosts our brain endorphins and give us a sense of well-being. This is definitely NOT a case in which “if one works, two (or twelve) must be better.” A 1-oz. serving is plenty for these purposes.

So. Those are the foods that we should seek out. It follows naturally that there are foods we’d be better off avoiding or limiting: caffeine, sugar, saturated fat, and alcohol, which have all shown to have negative effects on mood and/or sleep patterns.

In addition to choosing mood-boosting foods, and limiting mood-depleting ones, exercise and proper rest will go a long, long way in improving our mental outlook and enabling us to hang on until warmer weather arrives.

Your turn! Are you pining for Spring? How are you fighting off the winter blues? Do tell. Please. :)


For now, I’m off to boost my mood with a trip to the hair stylist!

0 thoughts on “Fight Those Moody Blues with Food

  1. Not so much the winter blues as the rain blues. I'm looking forward to walking outside. I'm thinking I haven't had taco soup in a long time. Hummmmmmm.

  2. Although I am no MeMe Roth I wish the Girl Scouts did something that was not food related to raise money. What I do, when a neighbor's child is selling them is give them some money, and tell them to give my cookies away to someone of their choosing :-)

  3. As I sit hear munching on my strawberries and blueberries, reading your post made me want to reach around and pat myself on the back. NOT that I'm actually do that, especially because my coworkers would think I'd gone bonkers.

    Truthfully, I AM pining for Spring, but I haven't had to fight the winter blues too much this year. Seattle's had a lovely winter; in fact, the sun is streaming in my office window as I type! But I love the idea of using food, APPROPRIATELY, to boost mood. Thanks for the tips!

  4. I feel a tiny bit guilty looking out the window just before my morning run and knowing it's going to be another glorious summer's day here. :)

  5. I increase my outdoor walks — sounds counterintuitive — this is Wisconsin in winter — but something about the fresh air is so wholly invigorating. And on sunny days, it's so blindly bright as the sun reflects off of the snow that I can almost pretend it's summer (for a few crucial minutes anyway!). Andrew — no guilt! We will be wallowing in the sun in July when you are facing your own winter blues.

  6. I am sooooo ready for spring. I too busy thinking about eating (or not eating) all the time to feel the blues much this winter! Spring break for us is 6 weeks away… then vacation… then summer will be here before I know it.

  7. after yet another dog walking experiencing dodging ice patches and slush, this came as a nicely timed read!

    who knew about the brazil nuts?? I will definitely give them a try!


  8. I am not "pining" for Spring, I am WHINING for Spring!!! I have found no cure for my winter blues, but my new "Dancing With The Weights" program is kinda fun. Just the thought of me dancing around the family room makes me giggle. :) Especially now that the knot on my head has healed.

  9. I swear I'll slap any Girl Scout that comes to my door with a wagonload of cookies…

  10. I CANNOT WAIT FOR SPRING!!!!! I don't mind the cold and I work out at the gym so it doesn't really effect me in that way but I hate hate hate hate hate hate hate driving in the snow!

    Thanks for the info Cammy! :)

  11. I'm avoiding the girl scout cookies for sure this year. Even though my husband has already told me that he's ordered several boxes from a girl at church. Oh well. Guess I have to learn to be around those darn things without eating ALL of them. Self control.

  12. I'm living in Australia, so I'm not experiencing winter blues. However, I wanna throw out a new perspective for the winter-blues crowd. Summer is HOT! I'm training for a 10K and half-marathon, and it's often not cool enough to run here until after dark. I moved here in early January and spent the prior winter months in northern Idaho. I'm really missing the cold to exercise more comfortably in! My midday sunny winter runs are something I'm daydreaming about when it's often 85+, sunny, and humid.

    Also, I know it's not something a lot of people do, but when I find myself really suffering from the cold, just ten minutes in a tanning bed really perks me right up.

  13. Well, it is not too bad here in CA but I try to find funny things to watch or read OR I exercise! :-)

    I actually have a post from Dr. Oz tomorrow on winter blues!

  14. YES i am pining for spring! we're supposed to get a couple of inches of snow tonight. that darn groundhog is on my list.
    i put up a pretty bell-shaped birdseed do-hicky and tied it to the tree outside the kitchen window with some pretty ribbon. so hopefully when the fat robins start showing up to tell us spring is on the way, they will be right on the deck telling us about it! an early-warning system, if you will.

  15. Are you sure? Girl scout cookies sound delicious. Hehe. Jk. I guess I'm lucky to be in the sunny summery part of the world instead of struggling with the winter blues. I'm not excited to come back soon. I hope spring comes early!

  16. I currently eat all the foods on the list and shockingly don't feel too glum this winter.

    We are also having a pretty nice winter as winters go. I am looking forward to spring though for some nice walks outdoors!

  17. I finally figured out that I can just give a donation without actually taking the cookies. I do this when they are selling them at grocery stores, etc. I give them $5.00 and they try and give me the cookies. I tell them "No thanks – you enjoy!"

    Thanks for all the great information – I got my hair done today too.

  18. you are the 3rd blog i've read today that is headed to the salon!! I think it's a hint to me for a new do! :)

    thanks for all the pointers…winter doesn't usually get me down, but i'm always happy to see the green grass and have warmer weather!!

  19. Oh that little one in her brownie uniform brought back memories! My 3 girls sold cookies all at the same time. We lived on a 4 lane hwy at the time so I had to drive them all around. Miss those days…. (not the driving around…just my little brownies!)

  20. Ah…a good cut and color is better than any comfort food, isn't it? Hope it turned out just the way you wanted! (BTW I'm a HUGE Moody Blues fan…the band, that is.)

  21. LOL I love the picture! Thank goodness I live in the middle of nowhere so the odds of them showing up to my door are slim.
    The blues are tough! I am literally counting the days that I can go outside and rid emy bike.
    Until then… I have been going to the gym often and doing new classes. That keep me going and the bordom down.

  22. I am cracking up about your "Girl Scout Cookie Winter-Blues Therapy!"

    I really have a hard time in the winter, especially here in overcast Ohio. I actually do light therapy every morning for 30 minutes and it does wonders. I don't think I could make it without it!

  23. I had to come over here b/c I realized you're the CCK Vitamix winner. GIrl. OMG congrats. I am a Vita lover and post all the time (including today) bout what I make in mine.

    Including high raw all vegan homemade girl scout cookies, choc chip cookie dough balls, you name it.

    And I got my hair done today, beats the winter blahs.

  24. I had to laugh when I saw the picture of the girl scouts. It it too easy for me to put away a sleeve of thin mints if I'm not careful. I really like all your tips for beating the winter blues. I definitely agree with getting in sufficient amounts of Vitamin D and B12, those have both really helped me personally. When the weather is perpetually gray I think a little laughter and a little exercise go a long way to improve my mood.