Good Mood Food: Four Picks to Help Elevate Your Attitude!


Do you tend to turn to food for comfort? Are you feeling drained and looking for a boost to your mood? Or are you simply seeking a healthy meal to pair with your 15 Day Challenge? Read on to learn about our favorite good mood food options. Enjoy them on their own, or pair them together for a delicious meal!


Good Mood Food

Here’s Some Food for Thought

According to registered dietitians Catherine Nay (M.Ed., RD. CHES, CSOWM) and Megan Brown (MPH, RD), your diet can play a significant role in how you feel emotionally. Although food cannot prevent depression, some dishes, thanks to their vitamin and nutrient content, may be able to help you elevate your mood. (Imhoff, J., 2019)

One thing to consider, however, is that the phytonutrient content of food can vary based on factors such as where and how (or if) it was cooked, so individual results may vary (Mariantonella, P., et al., 2014; Klavinski, R., 2018).

With that said, let’s look at a few of our favorites…


Our Top Meat Pick: Turkey

Mood Boosters: Tryptophan, Magnesium


Not only is it a great source of protein, turkey is also low in fat and rich in vitamins and minerals (Merschel, M., 2021)!

Turkey tops our good mood food list because it contains tryptophan. Your body uses tryptophan to make serotonin, which affects your sleep, appetite, and impulse control. Increased levels of serotonin have been shown to help people boost their mood, too! But there is a catch: Your body cannot produce the tryptophan it needs to make serotonin, so you need to get it from dietary sources like turkey (Imhoff, J., 2019).

Another thing turkey brings to the table (pun intended) is magnesium, which has been shown to support sleep and help reduce anxiety (Imhoff, J., 2019; Merschel, M., 2021)!

Be careful how you prepare and eat your turkey, though. Deep frying can add calories, as can consuming the skin. For the lowest-calorie option, stick to white meat, and leave high-sodium processed options at the store (Merschel, M., 2021)!

Recipe Idea:

Ground Turkey With Spinach and Garbanzo Beans

Our Top Vegetable Pick: Spinach

Mood Boosters: Tryptophan, Magnesium


Not everyone likes to gobble-down turkey, and that’s okay! For a vegan-friendly good mood food, try spinach! This leafy green plant is more than delicious, it is packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. And like turkey, it also contains tryptophan and magnesium to help boost your mood!

Take care not to eat too much, though, as spinach is known to contain more oxalic acid than most crops, and oxalic acid has been linked to the formation of kidney stones (Mou, B., 2008).

Spinach is also vitamin rich, which is great but be aware that it contains a lot of vitamin K, which plays a key role in blood clotting. If you are on blood thinners, be cautious! In this case, the South Dakota Department of Health recommends that you consult a healthcare professional before adding this delicious vegetable to your plate (January veggie of the month: Spinach., n.d.).


Runner Up: Cauliflower

Mood Booster: Chromium

Cauliflower is a low-calorie cruciferous vegetable rich in health-promoting phytochemicals, minerals, and vitamin C (Ahmed & Ali, 2013). It also contains high levels of chromium, which may help promote positive feelings, alertness, and energy (Crabtree, 2019)! In other words, Cauliflower is a healthy food choice, and we think you’ll agree that the recipe below is a delicious way to enjoy it!

Recipe Idea:

Roasted Cauliflower


Our Top Fruit Pick: Blueberries

Mood Boosters: Phytonutrients, Flavonoids


Blueberries contain phytonutrients (Blueberries – a phytonutrient superstar – PBRC., n.d.), which, according to Catherine Nay (M.Ed., RD, CHES, CSOWM), help protect the brain from stress (Imhoff, J., 2019).

These delicious berries also contain flavonoids, which are thought to decrease your risk of developing depression (Khalid et al., 2017). Also, flavonoids are known to be anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic, and anti-carcinogenic (Panche et al., 2019)! That’s a fancy way of saying they are good for you.

Plus, blueberries just taste great, and since they are 85% water, they can also help you hydrate! Pro tip: try adding them to low-fat yogurt for an extra boost to your healthy hydration.

Recipe Idea:

Dark Chocolate Blueberries


Our Top Treat Pick: Dark Chocolate

Mood Booster: Flavonoids

Dark Chocolate

This pick is sure to be a crowd-pleaser! Studies have shown that chocolate can positively affect your mood, and thanks to flavonoids, it may benefit your brain as well (Nehlig, A., 2013). We discussed some of the benefits of flavonoids above, and dark chocolate is loaded with them! In fact, dark chocolate contains two to three times more flavanol-rich cocoa solids than milk chocolate does (Zaleska., 2022).

According to dietician Devon Peart, MHSc, BASc, RD, “The higher the concentration of cocoa solids, the more flavonoids, and the lower sugar” (Zaleska., 2022). That fact may not be great news to your taste buds, thanks to dark chocolate’s signature bitter flavor, but the darker chocolate is, the healthier it is.

Dark chocolate’s benefits go beyond being a good mood food, it is also high in fiber, and its antioxidants help protect your skin from sun damage, among other benefits (Zaleska., 2022).

Just be mindful of how much you consume: watch out for the calories, and enjoy your dark chocolate in moderation!

Recipe Idea:

Dark Chocolate Blueberry Bark

Our Delicious Conclusion

A healthy diet is an important part of The 15 Day Challenge, and while some of these foods can help support your efforts to lift your attitude, so can exercise and getting enough sleep (Schwartz, T., 2021).

The foods we’ve shared here can make a single tasty meal, or they can be supplemental to other dishes that you prepare.

There are certainly more good mood foods to consider beyond these picks, and we hope you will continue to research this topic to discover new dishes that can help you reach your health and wellness goals! Just don’t forget to rehydrate with a healthy drink!

Good Mood

Written By Gary Path, Senior Creative Content Writer


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