December 13, 2022
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Illustration by Brittany England
If you live with depression, you likely understand how daily responsibilities can feel impossible when you’re at a low point.
One of the responsibilities often neglected is eating consistently. Many people with depression also experience loss of appetite, which means that on the list of life’s to-dos, eating is not always a priority.
Research in 2008 suggests that people with depression are often deficient in key nutrients, essential vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids. In addition to being detrimental to physical health, lacking these essential nutrients can worsen the symptoms and severity of depression.
While we’re not going to tell you that taking your vitamins or eating your veggies is the answer to all your problems, feeding your body is an important part of self-care. And if all that looks like some days is eating cereal out of the box or microwaving a frozen dinner, that’s totally OK.
So, when you’re having one of those days where the idea of washing a dish or turning on the stove feels like more than you can manage, the Bezzy Depression Community can relate. Here are some of the snacks, meals, and eating tips they turn to during depressive low points.
Bezzy Depression Community members overwhelmingly turn to pasta, macaroni and cheese, and ramen noodles when they’re feeling low. These comfort carbs have been reported to help you manage your mood — and are generally simple to make.
Pasta is also inexpensive and shelf-stable, which can help take some of the stress out of grocery shopping.
Whether you’re a meal prepper or the head chef of the Lean Cuisine kitchen, you know how helpful a premade meal can be.
Next time you’re cooking dinner, consider making a double portion for the freezer to lend your future self a helping hand. If cooking is not for you, take a trip to the frozen aisle. There are plenty of hearty and delicious premade meals on the shelves nowadays. Frozen foods have come a long way since the days of TV dinners.
Some popular frozen go-to’s include:
Sometimes the thought of another wilted bag of veggies in the refrigerator drawer can discourage you from purchasing it in the first place. If this sounds familiar, consider stocking up on frozen fruits, vegetables, and meats, or freeze a portion of your fresh goodies as soon as you get home from the store.
This can take away some of the stress while still giving you the option of more nutrient-rich foods when inspiration strikes.
The Bezzy Depression Community swears by the power of peanut butter. In addition to being chock-full of healthy fats, a peanut butter sandwich is a quick and easy way to fuel yourself.
If the reliable PB and J is your go-to, consider changing it up with another nut butter or using fresh fruit like apple slices or bananas in place of the jelly. But if even making a sandwich is a challenge, you can find frozen options or settle for a spoonful of peanut butter as a snack.
Tip: Fresh bread can go bad very quickly. Keep sliced bread in the freezer and toast as needed. This way you can work your way through the loaf at your own pace without fear of it growing mold.
Sometimes preparing a meal is just not in the cards. If this sounds like you, consider amping up your snack cabinet.
Some filling snack options could include:
While snacks are not intended to replace meals, these are all easy, no-prep options that will fuel you and boost your nutrient intake at the same time.
Whoever designated breakfast for the morning time clearly has no idea how delicious cereal is as a midnight snack.
Typical breakfast foods like instant oatmeal, cereal, granola, and yogurt are staples for the Bezzy Depression Community and are great at any hour of the day.
While these may not be high in nutrients, sometimes you just need your favorite treat to lift your spirits.
Many Bezzy Depression Community members find themselves gravitating toward chocolate when nothing else sounds appetizing. In addition to being a tasty treat, chocolate — specifically dark chocolate — can actually be a nutrient-dense, mood-boosting snack.
While easier said than done, do your best to honor your food cravings. As a society, we tend to label certain foods as “good” and others as “bad,” which may further complicate your relationship with food.
If this resonates with you, you can read more about community member Sam Dylan Finch’s advice on emotional eating with depression.
If you live with depression, you understand how emotions around food can be complex, burdensome, and overwhelming at times. While it is important to fuel your body with vitamins and nutrients, during a low point, this may feel impossible.
Try to grant yourself some grace and remember that eating something is always a better alternative to eating nothing at all.
Fact checked on December 13, 2022
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