Food for your mood. Keeping your sunny side up.

Approximately one in four young people aged 16-24 experience a mental health or substance use disorder in a given year.  Research has also identified that there is a link between what we eat and how we feel.  Evidence is growing that shows how our mood is boosted by a balanced diet that provides adequate amounts of complex carbohydrates, essential fats, amino acids, vitamins and minerals and water. 

headspace Woolloongabba community engagement co-ordinator Jo Bassett said many of the young people who come to the centre ask for information on eating the right foods.  “We think it is important to make the links between eating right and having a healthy mind and body which will have lasting effects for young people in the years to come.” 

She continues: “more kids in Queensland go to school without breakfast then in any other state in the country.  We also know that young people under the age of 18 get over 40% of their energy intake from discretionary foods.  These are foods that are high in fat, sugar, and salt; and low in nutrients.”

headspace Woolloongabba and dietician students from University of Queensland recently launched ‘Food for your Mood’ program high energy, practical and educational cooking and nutrition classes for students from year 7 to year 12. 

In these hands-on classes students are quizzed on their nutritional knowledge, learn the secrets of hiding vegetables in food, and get tips on the simple things they can do to give their mood a boost. 

Ashleigh is completing her Masters in Dietetics at UQ and delivers the workshops that were developed specifically for the schools.  Ashleigh says that eating well is really simple. “A good example is swapping honey on toast for avocado on toast in the morning before you head out the door for school – it’s one of the foods that can help your body and brain to function well – helping to put a spring in your step and a smile on the dial.”

 

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