I don’t know about you but lately I have been feeling a bit blue and rather nostalgic for happier times. It is tempting when you feel this way to turn to junk food to “treat” yourself, especially foods you munched on as a kid. But in my experience, no matter how much I might enjoy it at the time, I generally feel pretty sluggish after I eat these highly processed foods. Healthy food, however, has the power to heal both body and mind. So instead I prepare delicious yet more nutritious versions of these fun treats. These do wonders for my mood and they energize me.
So in this spirit I share with you my own McHappy Meal combo including drink, burger, “special sauce”, fries and ice cream. The “Mc” in this case of course refers to McPhail (wink wink…). And, being my type of meal, it’s full of Mediterranean flavours. Think Mickey D’s by way of Greece! Read on to find out more about the Mediterranean diet and mood.
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My McHappy Meal
Drink: Classic Virgin Mojito (and if you want “the real thing”, by all means go for it…just skip the unlimited refills)
Burger: Greek Chicken Burgers (I like to serve these zesty burgers in a grilled whole grain pita; this serves 4 hungry people so I suggest making 2 mini-burgers each instead of one large burger for faster cooking)
“Special Sauce”: Tzatziki (not necessary given the Greek salsa in the burger recipe but a nice touch – also great on any grilled pork, chicken or fish)
Fries: Sweet Potato Fries (soaking in cold water, then coating in tapioca flour and salting them only after roasting makes them crispier)
Ice Cream: Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (better than a McFlurry any day!)
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A few featured foods
Mint is a favourite of mine, not only because it grows in wild abandon in my garden with very little input from me. It has so many uses (beyond the mojito). It is lovely added to black tea (hot or iced) or simply muddled and made into a tea all on its own (wonderful for digestion). I use mint to top everything from fruit in yogurt to salads (watermelon, mint and feta is awesome in summer) to Thai curries. And it’s wonderful in salsas. Mint combined with chocolate is, well, my recipe for happiness. Simply smelling its minty-freshness is uplifting!
Inspired by the eating habits of Italy and Greece in the 1960s, the Mediterranean diet is defined by high consumption of olive oil/ olives, legumes, veggies, fruits, whole grains and fish and moderate intake of dairy products (mostly as cheese and yogurt) and meats. The SMILES (Supporting the Modification of lifestyle in Lowered Emotional States) Trial, published in 2015, tested a modified Mediterranean diet as a therapeutic intervention in mood disorders. At the end of the 3-month trial, a third of those in the dietary support group met criteria for remission of major depression, compared to 8% of those in the social support group. And those who improved their diet the most experienced the greatest benefit. Food can and does affect mood.
Cooking your own food is the single most impactful step you can take to improve your health and energy!
I hope you enjoy the recipes in my My McHappy Meal. Sign up here to receive the download link for this latest Menu of the Month. And if you want to cook more of your own food but don’t know what to make or have the time to organize your own menus and shopping lists, The Nutritional Reset offers a meal planning service. It makes preparing tasty, nutritious meals a snap. Click here to find out more.