Sometimes, a healthy salad isn’t going to cut it. You need a bowl of comfort, and nothing else will do.
What’s on your menu when you’ve got the blues? Here are 11 of the best depression meals for when you just can’t.
1. Chicken Soup
Depression can strike when you feel physically sick. Fortunately, chicken soup can help. Researchers discovered that your mama wasn’t following old wives’ tales when she served this dish up when you had a cold as a child. It has anti-inflammatory properties that can help you heal more quickly.
This meal can heal if you often have anxiety with your depression. Many patients report experiencing stomach aches, nausea and vomiting with panic attacks. Soothing soup can relax your muscles from the inside out, helping you digest.
Spaghetti is a comfort classic, but all that white flour can leave you feeling yuckier. It absorbs quickly, leading to blood sugar classics. Instead, elevate your meal by switching to whole grain pasta. You can find stuff made from ancient grains like quinoa or even chickpeas if you’re trying to up your protein quotient.
Are you looking to slash carbs even further while increasing your veggie intake? You can find — or make — spiralized noodles out of zucchini, butternut squash or carrots.
3. Deep Dish Pizza
Pizza screams comfort in its own right — dial the digits, and it comes to your door. However, Chicago deep dish isn’t your ordinary slice of pie.
It’s not uncommon for these slices to be an inch or more thick. It’s so rich that you have to put the cheese underneath the sauce to keep it from burning.
4. Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
A classic grilled cheese with a hot bowl of tomato soup invokes pleasant childhood nostalgia of staying home from school with a cold. If you can swing a mental health day, why not indulge and reminisce?
Be careful with cans — many store-bought soups contain high sodium levels, putting pressure on your heart. If you must go for convenience, look for a low-sodium version.
Chili can warm the coldest winter day. Best of all, you can design a recipe custom-fit for your lifestyle.
If you embrace a cruelty-free existence, you can make a vegan version with Beyond meat or another substitute of your choosing. Cutting fat? Try lean ground turkey. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a classic beef and pork blend.
6. Fish Tacos
Tacos aren’t only for Tuesday. The fish version is ideal anytime — especially when you’re depressed.
Seafood contains high omega-3 fatty acid levels. These substances exist in abundance in your brain and play an integral role in overall mental health. Increasing your intake could help improve your mood.
7. Breakfast Burritos
If your depression stems from feeling overwhelmed, having your first meal as your final could boost your mood. Many people associate breakfast with lazy Sunday mornings. See if switching up your supper brings a smile.
You can customize breakfast burritos anyway you like — there’s no need to include bacon or sausage if you avoid meat. Eggs are a staple. Add veggies like mushrooms and red pepper to increase your nutrient intake.
8. Pot Pie
Pot pie is another comfort classic to turn to when your depression has you saying, “I just can’t.” You can include something from all the basic food groups for a complete and balanced meal oozing with gravy.
If you’re trying to reduce your white flour intake, you have plenty of options. Arrowroot makes a keto-friendly substitute. You can also go with sorghum, quinoa or tapioca.
9. Broccoli Cheddar Soup
This soup might be the ultimate for warming your heart when you have the blues. You can make it as cheesy as you like, adding dollops of extra shreds to the top. Plus, you increase your vegetable intake — broccoli is one of the vegetables richest in antioxidants.
Most recipes also call for carrots, making this dish a boon for your eyes. The beta carotene converts to vitamin A in your body, a crucial nutrient for maintaining a clear cornea, helping you discern objects in dark light. Perhaps a hearty bowl of this soup will help you see that it isn’t that bad after all.
10. Mashed Potato Bowls
Few things stick to your ribs like mashed potatoes. Add a bit of butter or gravy, and you have an indulgence. A little more pizzazz makes it a complete meal.
Stir some shredded cheese into your mashers to add flavor and calcium. Leftover popcorn chicken and some corn makes something more delicious than KFC can assemble. Include a bit of beef stew and carrots for a makeshift shepherd’s pie.
11. Mushroom Stroganoff
Mushroom stroganoff delights the vegan crowd and carnivores alike. Using portobellos imparts a steakhouse flavor that makes this hearty dish a comfort go-to.
You can serve it over nearly anything you like. Noodles, potatoes and rice all make an equally cozy bed for this depression meal.
The Best Depression Meals When You Just Can’t
There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to an indulgent dinner to lift your spirits when the blues strike. People associate eating with comfort and safety — just what the doctor ordered. Try one of these best depression meals when you just can’t.