Mental health in the workplace: let’s beat the blues with these mood boosting recipes

It's Mental Health day and this year the theme is mental health in the workplace - a theme we really support at Gut Reaction. So let’s look at some juicy recipes that help to fight those feelings of anxiety or depression and boost pleasure.

Certain foods have powers to help reduce anxiety, depressive thoughts and help turn a really bad day into a better one!

Let’s start with breakfast…arguably the most important meal of the day so let get it right. 

Banana, almond and flax smoothie sensation

Slurp some happiness. This banana, almond and flax smoothie may help to support your mental health by boosting levels of omega 3 and B vitamins.

Studies have shown that supplementing with Omega 3 fatty improves the symptoms of both anxiety and depression. EPA, especially, has been found to decrease inflammation in the brain and relieves the symptoms associated with that. At the same time, the levels of pro-inflammatory substances are decreased throughout the body, thereby contributing to general better health. As if that wasn’t enough of a reason to try this smoothie. Let’s talk banana. The mood boosting benefits of bananas. Bananas have a great combination of vitamins B6, A, and C, fibre, tryptophan, potassium, phosphorous, iron, protein and healthy carbohydrates. Why not start your day with this yummy smoothie or as a supper time treat. 

What about Coffee. Coffee is probably one of my daily pleasures. I love it. Why would I deny myself? I don’t, but I do add cinnamon. 

Coffee with cinnamon

Boosts energy. Coffee is a natural stimulant boosting energy and metabolism. A cup of coffee may also create feel-good feelings (in humans and in rats) by increasing levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. Why not add a sprinkle of cinnamon. Cinnamons antibacterial properties may remove harmful strains of gut bacteria that may contribute to depression. Why not try it?

Struggling to know what to take to work with you?

If you just can’t face breakfast at home and need to take something to work with you then why not try Full fat Greek yogurt with honey and oats? 

This feel good breakfast is a really satisfying and healthy way to start the day. It includes protein from the Greek yogurt increasing levels of those all-important pleasure boosting neurotransmitters. The yogurt's probiotics should support the microbiome (gut flora) helping to support the immune system, nervous system and help maintain good health. Honey really is a spoonful of sweetness, with compounds that may fight depression by reducing inflammation in the brain. Why not add some berries for extra health benefits and add that zing to your day.


The lunch time nightmare... We all know lunchtimes can be a bit repetitive and is often when we reach for the unhealthy processed, pre packed option. However, with a little bit of forethought there are some really fab ways we can get the goodness in.

Why not try salmon salad with olive oil dressing

When you’re feeling really low try taking a step back, regroup and think positively. Making food can give you back a sense of control when everything else can feel out of control. Try to enjoy the preparation time and think of it as medicine for your brain. 

Salmon is full of omega 3 as we mentioned earlier omega 3 is essential to support good brain health. It is also quick and easy to steam the night before work and is delicious cold in a salad. Adding lots of green leafy vegetables will increase vitamins B and magnesium to help keep you on an even keel.  Drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice and basil for some added taste and goodness. Basil is a natural immune-boosting herb, high in nutrients that improve overall cognitive function and can help reduce high amounts of stress.

Let’s finish the day with our anti-anxiety turkey burger with sweet potato fries


When low mood hits, we often crave something really hearty. This recipe is good for the brain, hearty and tastes great too. The tryptophan in the turkey increases levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood. Plus sweet potatoes are filled with mood-boosting vitamin B6. 

  1. Cut sweet potatoes into 1/4-inch-wide sticks; toss, on large rimmed baking sheet, with olive oil, 1 teaspoon chili powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Roast at 450 degrees F in oven, 20 to 25 minutes or until crisp, shaking once.
  2. Mix ground turkey breast with garlic, cilantro, remaining chili powder, and remaining salt. Form into 4 patties. Grill on medium 12 to 15 minutes or until cooked through (165 degrees F), turning once.
  3. Mash avocado with lime juice. Top the burger with avocado and tomato, cucumber, lettuce and sprouts as desired. Serve with fries.


Two small sweet potatoes, 2 tbsp olive oil, 2tbsp chilli powder, ½ tsp of salt, 1lb ground turkey breast, 2 cloves of garlic, pressed,1/2 c. Chopped cilantro, 1/2 avocado, 2 tsp lime juice, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber and sproutsplus more for serving. 

And finish with two squares of 85% dark chocolate!

Mental health is beatable, don’t give up, it will be worth it in the end. 

What’s your gut reaction? If you or your employer would like more information on how nutrition can help support a workforce please contact us.