Last Updated: February 2, 2023
When you’re feeling lousy, the last thing you want to do is whip up a meal in the kitchen.
In fact, most of us would rather turn to good ol’ Uber Eats and treat ourselves. While you definitely deserve a treat now and again, taking care of yourself is critical for your mental health. And the truth is that with restaurants, it’s not always crystal clear what goes into the food we eat.
So, muster up a little bit of energy here. This creamy salmon spinach dish requires only one pan (fewer dishes—hurray!), and it’s got loads of good stuff that will help boost your mood.
In other words, you’ll feel so much better with this dish as opposed to the majority of delivery options out there (and perhaps your digestive system will thank you, too!).
(Thanks to The Taming of the Spoon for the yummy Creamy Salmon Spinach recipe!)
When you make food at home, you select the items that go into it. There’s no guesswork. You know exactly what you’re putting in your body. This usually translates to higher-nutrient and lower caloric-dense food when compared to pre-packaged or ordered-in meal options.
Salmon, in particular, is the hero in this dish. Jam-packed with omega-3s, this fatty fish has got a lot going for it when it comes to your mood and cognitive function (more on this in a bit!). So, let’s get cooking! How can you throw this one together? Simply follow the instructions below.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
If you’re feeling up for it, you can also cook other veggies to the side and add them to this dish. For instance, Brussels sprouts and asparagus would taste incredible with this sauce! You can also double the batch, as this should keep in the fridge for up to four days.
Don’t let the cheese-y creamy sauce confuse you; This dish isn’t just “comfort” food at its finest.
It’s also loaded with many nutrients that help improve your mental health and overall brain function. With omega-3s, protein, calcium, and various vitamins and minerals in spinach, there’s more than what meets the eye! Let’s take a closer look.
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Surprisingly, just one serving of salmon has enough omega-3s to last you for an entire week. And this is a way better go-to than opting for a fish oil supplement, which simply doesn’t have as many nutrients or benefits.
Research indicates that omega-3 fatty acids may play an invaluable role in the treatment of depression and other psychiatric disorders. It’s thought that omega-3s act as a kind of “neuro-protectant,” keeping your brain and nervous system in good shape.
On top of this, omega-3s may reduce cognitive decline as you age and enhance memory and learning functions. All in all, these alone are pretty good reasons to try this dish—or at the very least, include more salmon in your diet.
100 grams of salmon contains 20 grams of protein. Cheese, milk, and cream also contain some protein, making this a really well-balanced dish. What do we mean by this?
Well, most meals should contain some protein, not only because it’s the building block of many tissues in the body but also because it helps balance your blood sugar levels.
Protein slows digestion, meaning you won’t experience huge blood sugar spikes or dips following this type of meal. Protein is also essential for providing the necessary amino acids needed to produce neurotransmitters that play a vital role in maintaining good mental health.
Research suggests that a higher calcium intake is associated with decreased perceived stress and improved mood. Hypocalcemia (low calcium) may further lead to various neurological and psychological symptoms, such as memory loss, confusion, and depression.
At the end of the day, unless you’re allergic to dairy, this isn’t a food that should be feared! In fact, it’s actually really good for you. And this dish can help you get more of that good stuff.
Leafy greens are rich in vitamin K, leading to potentially anti-inflammatory effects.
Spinach is also an excellent source of folate, iron, and magnesium. All of this contributes to improved mental health. Magnesium, in particular, may help reduce anxiety and stress and enhance mood.
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Diet is part of this!
Author Dr. Leslie Korn recently stated on a podcast, “Up until recently, nutrition has been the missing piece in mental health care.” Undeniably, this is more important than we might realize.
At the same time, there is more to good mental well-being than just eating a balanced and healthy diet. Exercise, sleep, and mental hygiene all play critical roles in feeling good. The best way to make changes in your life is to take small steps at a time, such as by making this one-pan salmon dish tonight!
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Photo by: OksanaKiian
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