Healthy eating

Scarborough, Whitby and Ryedale Mind is committed to promoting good eating habits and the mental and physical benefits that come from a healthy, balanced diet.

Whilst it is fair to say that the link between diet and mental health is less clearly understood than the link between diet and physical health. It is important to understand that maintaining an active lifestyle does have proven benefits for mental health and eating healthily is an essential part of that.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, research shows that exercise releases chemicals in your brain called Endorphins that make you feel good. Regular exercise can also boost your self-esteem and help you concentrate, sleep, look and feel better.

A study commissioned by Mind in 2007 found that of a group of 108 members of a Local Mind Association involved in an outdoor activity project, 94 per cent felt that the activity had a positive effect on their mental health

In addition to the indirect benefits of healthy living there is now a growing amount of evidence suggesting that the foods we eat can influence the way we feel. It is believed that eating more wholegrain cereals, pulses, fruit and vegetables can help stabilise mood due to the way the body absorbs sugar.

In contrast to this processed foods and those high in refined sugar are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream. This may cause an initial ‘high’ or surge of energy that soon wears off as the body increases its insulin production, which can leave you feeling tired and low.

In 2014 we attended a number of student wellbeing fairs and took our simple, microwave recipes with us! Have a bash at creating one yourself and sending into to us at

Microwave Quiche in a Mug

1 large egg, 1 1/2 tablespoons milk, 1 teaspoon melted butter/spread, Pinch of salt and pepper, Small handful of torn pieces of fresh bread

1 tablespoon grated cheese (e.g., cheddar cheese, mozzarella, etc.), 1 teaspoon mixed herbs, filling: e.g. half a chopped pepper, handful of sliced mushrooms, cooked ham/chicken/chorizo, 4 small grape tomatoes, halved

Directions: In a microwavable mug, add egg, milk, melted butter, salt, and pepper and whisk until thoroughly mixed and egg whites are completely broken up. Add halved grape tomatoes, torn bread, grated cheese, and chopped herbs on top of egg mixture, making sure ingredients are evenly dispersed and have not settled to bottom of mug. Ingredients will stay settled within the quiche mixture better if you do not whisk ingredients into egg mixture. Place mug in microwave, and cook on high for 90 seconds, just until egg is completely cooked and quiche is slightly puffed. Garnish with fresh herbs (if you’ve got any!) and serve immediately.

Veggie Crisps

1 medium sweet potato, very thinly sliced, 1 medium parsnip, very thinly sliced, 2 teaspoons olive oil. (Carrots, turnip and celeriac also work well!)

Seasoning: e.g. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon mixed herbs, ½ teaspoon sea salt, ½ teaspoon paprika (use any or all, experiment away!)

Directions: Slice sweet potatoes and parsnip into thin rounds. (Preferably with a mandolin to protect your fingers!) Toss the slices in a bowl with oil, seasonings and salt – to coat evenly. Coat a large microwavable plate with cooking spray or place a piece of parchment paper on microwave plate. Arrange veggie slices in a single layer on the plate or parchment paper. Microwave, uncovered, on high until some slices start to brown, 2 to 3 minutes (depending on potato thickness and microwave power). Turn the slices over and continue microwaving until they start to crisp and brown around the edges, 2 to 4 minutes more. Check frequently and rearrange slices as needed to prevent scorching. Transfer to another plate and allow to cool completely. (Chips will crisp more as they cool.) Repeat with the remaining veggie slices

Microwave mug cake

4 tablespoons self-raising (SR) flour, 4 tablespoons caster sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, 1 medium egg, 3 tablespoons milk, 3 tablespoons vegetable/sunflower oil, A few drops vanilla or other essence (orange, peppermint etc), 2 tablespoons chocolate chips/nuts/raisins etc (optional)

Directions: Use the largest mug you have to avoid it overflowing in the microwave, ramekins or small bowls will do the job too! Add the flour, sugar and cocoa powder to the mug and mix. Add the egg to the mixture and mix until combined. Add all the other ingredients apart from the chocolate chips etc (if you are adding) and mix until smooth. Add the chocolate chips and/or the nuts/raisins and mix well. Centre your mug in the middle of the microwave oven and cook on high for 4-5 mins, or until it has stopped rising and is firm to the touch. Watch it rise as it cooks!

Naan Pizza

2 plain naans, 2 tablespoons caramelised red onion chutney or a tomato based pasta sauce or a thin spread of tomato puree, 50g (2oz) soft goat's cheese, crumbled (or any other soft cheese!), 75g (3oz) cherry tomatoes, quartered, Small handful rocket or mixed salad leaves.

Directions: Preheat oven to (200°C fan or gas mark 7. Put the naans on a baking sheet, then spread over the onion chutney. Dot over the goat's cheese, tomatoes and sprinkle with mixed herbs (if you’ve got them!) then season with freshly ground black pepper. Cook in the oven for 5-10min until the cheese has softened and the pizza is piping hot. Garnish with salad leaves and drizzle with olive oil or a flavoured oil if there’s one in the cupboard!

‘Good Mood’ Foods

Brown Rice, Porridge, Garlic, Walnuts, Sunflower Seeds, Beans, Lentils, Peppers, Berries (large bag of frozen mixed ones are most economical!), Banana’s, Eggs, Chicken, Chocolate (in small doses)

Monday Menu

Spaghetti Carbonara 

Serves: 4, Preparation Time: 10 Minutes, Cooking Time: 20 Minutes

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped

½ x 400g pack basics mushrooms, sliced

250g basics courgettes, coarsely grated

1 clove garlic peeled and finely chopped

1 x 500g pack basics spaghetti

2 family free-range eggs, yolks only

150ml 1% fat milk

60g British mild Cheddar, finely grated

½ x 120g pack British cooked ham, torn

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and cook the onion for 5-10 minutes, until soft. Add the mushrooms and courgettes and cook for a further 5 minutes, until golden, adding the garlic for the last minute. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti following pack instructions.
  2. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks, milk and cream. Stir in half the grated cheese.
  3. Drain the spaghetti and return to the pan. Stir through the mushroom and onion mixture, the ham and creamy sauce. Toss together well.
  4. Return to the heat for 1-2 minutes and toss until cooked through.
  5. Season with plenty of freshly ground black pepper and sprinkle over the remaining 30g cheese.