After a divorce, food is likely the last thing you want to think about. You may lose your appetite entirely, or make mindless choices like eating junk food and chocolate to fill the void. We don't blame you!
But according to nutritionist Barbara Mendez, eating the right kinds of food can make a big difference in your recovery time.
"Food has a direct link to your mood," she told HuffPost Divorce via e-mail. "Studies show that eating very sugary, refined and processed foods can lead to depression and anxiety. When someone goes through the massive challenge of getting divorced, the natural instinct is to comfort oneself with these kinds of manufactured foods, which only exacerbates the anguish and sadness -- destabilizing the brain and making the emotional upheaval feel even worse."
So what should you eat instead?
"Eating in a healthy way can help you feel more steady, more balanced, which in turn can help you recover faster," Mendez said. "Eating things like sweet potatoes, nuts and seeds, Omega-3-rich fish such as salmon or tuna and nutritious greens will help steady the mind, help you think clearly and help to reduce the effects of the stress hormones released in difficult times."
Mendez shared six nutritious recipes that will help get your emotions on track post-split, while still satisfying your sweet-and-salty cravings. Check them out below!
"This is a great snack option that you can nurse throughout the day to satisfy your sweet tooth in a balanced way. Cacao has powerful antioxidant properties and has been shown to improve mood. Bananas and cashew butter both contain tryptophan, which boosts serotonin production. Spinach is a great source of magnesium, a mineral that can promote a sense of calm, while helping to boost energy levels."
<strong>Ingredients</strong> - 1 scoop Raw Protein chocolate protein powder - 1 teaspoon cacao powder - 1 cup frozen blueberries - 1 cup fresh spinach - ½ banana - 1 tbsp cashew butter - 6 ounces vanilla unsweetened almond milk - 6 ounces of water Blend everything together in a high-speed blender. Enjoy.
Mediterranean Tuna Salad
"This is an easy and delicious salad that takes just a few minutes to prepare. The tuna is a good source of Omega-3 essential fatty acids, which help boost serotonin production and mitigate the effects of the stress hormone, cortisol. This is a great, healthy alternative to traditional tuna salad. Ideally, use mercury-free tuna."
<strong>Ingredients</strong> - 1 (7oz) can tuna, drained well - 1/4 cup garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed well - 1/4 cup chopped red pepper - 10 sliced Greek olives - 1 scallion, sliced thin - 2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, minced - 2 tbsp fresh basil, minced - Couple dashes dried oregano - 2 Tbsp olive oil - Juice of half lemon - Pinch of Himalaya salt - Freshly ground pepper to taste In a large bowl, combine the ingredients. Mix all the ingredients together well. Serve atop a green salad or in lettuce cups.
"This is an excellent recipe when you want something sweet on hand that's also healthy and balanced. The cashew butter contains tryptophan, which boosts serotonin production, promoting a sense of calm. The nuts provide Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids that help calm and nourish the mind."
<strong>Ingredients</strong> <em>Batter:</em> - ½ cup cashew butter - ½ cup peanut butter - One handful of chopped assorted nuts - One handful of raisins, chopped - One tablespoon agave nectar or Coconut Palm Nectar - A dash of Vanilla extract <em>Toppings:</em> - Cacao powder: 1 tbsp - Coconut flakes: 1 tbsp - Cinnamon: 1 tbsp Combine batter ingredients in a bowl and mix with a spatula until well blended. On wax paper or a clean surface, place a dusting layer of cacao powder and a separate layer of cinnamon and another of coconut flakes. These will be your toppings for the truffles, so keep them separate so you can make three different kinds of truffles. Using a teaspoon, take one teaspoon of batter and roll it into a ball. Then roll the truffle in one of the toppings until coated. Place on a cookie sheet and repeat until all the batter is finished. Place cookie sheet in refrigerator for at least an hour to set truffles. Store in fridge in a sealed container and enjoy when you need a sweet fix.
Salmon With Herbs
"This is an easy and delicious recipe that will help you get more of those nourishing Omega-3 essential fats in your diet, which help boost serotonin production, the neurotransmitter that contributes to a sense of calm and happiness. Use whatever herbs you have on hand."
<strong>Ingredients</strong> - 1 tbsp olive oil - 1 pound Salmon fillet, 1" thick, salt & pepper to taste - 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, basil, dill, tarragon, thyme or any combo) - 2 tbsp minced shallots Mix oil, herbs and shallots together. Coat salmon with mixture and bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes, basting with pan juices every 2 to 3 minutes. Cook until done.
"This gluten-free pizza is by far one of my most popular recipes with friends and family. Easy to make and very satisfying, this recipe is a great way to indulge your pizza cravings while getting more healthy greens in your diet. The greens are a good source of calcium and magnesium, both calming minerals, and the pizza dough is a carbohydrate that will help boost serotonin production. The sun-dried tomato pesto is a great source of antioxidants and other nutrients. Great post-split guilt-free indulgence!"
Sun-dried tomato pesto for Pizza Salad: <strong>Ingredients</strong> - 1 loose pint sun-dried tomatoes marinated in olive oil - 2-3 cloves of garlic (to taste preference) - 1/4 cup fresh basil - 1 tbsp fresh oregano - 1/8 cup olive oil, additional - salt and pepper to taste - water, if needed, to thin spread Place the first six ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. If you want a thinner consistency, thin with water to desired texture. Adjust salt and pepper to taste preference. Place in a bowl, cover and chill for at least an hour. Serve with pizza salad, rice crackers, or veggies as a dip. You can also freeze and add to soups to spice up the flavor.
<em>Pizza Salad</em> <strong>Ingredients</strong> - Gillian's Gluten-free pizza dough (available at Whole Foods), defrosted and cut into 4 (or you can get dough from your local pizza parlor and use that instead) - sun-dried tomato pesto (see separate recipe) - 2- 3 cups assorted mixed greens (I like using arugula and spinach for maximum nutrition) - 1/4 cup chopped, fresh dill - handful of pine nuts - 1 small red onion, sliced thin - 1/4 cup chopped, pitted, Kalamata Olives - olive oil - lemon juice Preheat the oven to 375' Cut the dough in four, and roll out on a clean, lightly floured surface to desired thickness. Spread sun-dried tomato pesto on top of the pizza dough so it covers the surface of the dough, leaving a ½ inch border along the edges. Spread in a thin layer, otherwise the flavor may overwhelm the other ingredients. Place crust in oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until done. While pizza is baking, in a large bowl toss mixed greens, dill, olives, pine nuts, red onion, olive oil, lemon juice. You will likely not need to add salt to the salad as the pesto and the olives both have plenty of salt. Set aside. When pizzas are done, remove from the oven and put on individual plates. Top with lots of salad and enjoy!
Pineapple Yogurt with Flax and Mint
"Perfect for a quick breakfast (add some raw granola for extra nutrition) or a snack. The flax oil is a good source of Omega-3 essential fatty acids that boost serotonin and mitigate the effects of the stress hormones dopamine and nor-epinephrine. Almond milk yogurt is a nice source of calcium, a calming mineral, and the sweetness of the pineapple can help offset sugar cravings."
<strong>Ingredients</strong> - 1 container plain almond milk yogurt - 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks - 5 mint leaves, minced - Dash vanilla extract - 1 tbsp flax oil Blend in a blender until smooth. Freeze to make it into a sorbet dessert or enjoy as is as a flavored yogurt.