Our Mental Health Week: A week of meals to feed your soul
Sometimes all you need is a home-cooked bolognese
When you're struggling with your mental health or just having a bad day, cooking is the last thing you feel like doing.
The thought of dragging yourself out of bed, trekking to the shops and then spending an hour cooking for yourself seems pointless when a Dominoes is one click away.
But it's been proven that cooking and eating nutricious meals is one of the best ways to look after your mental wellbeing.
Cooking can be a mindful exercise to help you relax and feel productive, even when you can't face changing out of your pyjamas.
So we've scoured the internet to come up with 5 days of easy meal ideas to give you inspiration for when everything gets too much to handle.
1) Shepherd's Pie – Meat Version
Prep time: 15 mins | Cooking time: 1 hour
This BBC Good Food recipe is a simple and delicious take on the British classic that will leave you feeling warm, nourished and satiated.
1) Shepherd's Pie – Vegan Version
Prep time: 35 mins | Cooking time: 20-25 mins
As a veggie or vegan it can often be hard to recreate your favourite meals and make them taste just as good, but we can promise that this Deliciously Ella take on the classic is just as good as the original!
2) Spaghetti Bolognese – Meat Version
Prep time: 15 mins | Cooking time: 40 mins
Spag bol is as easy at it gets but with the option to add lots of colourful veggies to the sauce, it's a great meal to get in your five-a-day.
We recommend adding some mushrooms and peppers to this recipe too.
2) Spaghetti Bolognese – Vegan Version
Prep time: 20 mins | Cooking time: 30 mins
This recipe uses lentils as the meat substitute, but why not try it with kidney or cannellini beans if you fancy a change to the usual vegan options.
3) Pizza – Meat/Veggie Version
Prep time: 10-40 mins (depending on base) | Cooking time: 11 mins
This recipe can be as easy or difficult as you like with the option to either make your own pizza dough or buy a base from the local shop.
Whichever you decide to do, jazz up your traditional margherita with any toppings you fancy!
3) Pizza – Vegan Version
Prep time: 15 mins | Cooking time: 15 mins
As with the non-vegan version, you have the choice of making your own dough or saving time and buying one.
This recipe is a personal favourite and, unlike most vegan pizzas, tastes incredible!
4) Pasta Bake – Meat Version
Prep time: 10 mins | Cooking time: 30 mins
A recipe literally designed for students – just add in a few extra peppers and greens to make it a great healthy meal.
4) Pasta Bake – Vegan Version
Prep time: 30 mins | Cooking time: 30 mins
This recipe is a go-to for those nights for when all you're craving is a big bowl of pasta.
The great thing about this recipe is that it contains loads of veg to nourish your body and mind.
5) Traybake – Both Versions
This recipe can be adapted for both meat eaters and vegans alike.
If you're plant-based, simply switch out the feta for vegan cheese or nutritional yeast.
Otherwise just swap the veggie sausages for pork ones instead.
The best websites for futher inspiration
If none of these recipes float your boat, or if you're just looking for some more options, these are some of the best websites for cheap and easy feel-good food: