Greek style Shakshuka with falafel & lemon tahini dressing | Fresh Direct
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Greek style Shakshuka with falafel & lemon tahini dressing

For most of us, when we are feeling a little low or need a pick-me-up, food provides us with that feel-good factor and gives us the boost we need. If we are being completely honest with ourselves, it is not that perfectly decorated fruit bowl we are reaching for… It’s warmth and comfort or something sweet, salty or fatty… satisfying.

The food choices we make that can improve our mood and overall wellbeing, but also who we choose to eat that food with and where we go for the ultimate comfort food experience. Eating out makes you feel great. There are countless choices on the menu, a buzzing atmosphere and good friends. Before you have even started eating, you’re feeling on top of the world.

The type of food you eat can have a huge impact on how you feel. In some cases, it can be the food you eat that causes or triggers the low mood and anxiety. To dive a little deeper into this, one example is excess of sugar (in particular, processed sugars such as dessert, table sauces & fizzy drinks). These can lead to blood sugar spikes and everybody knows, what goes up, must come down. This does not include fruit or vegetables as they contain vitamins, minerals and fibre, which the body needs to process the sugar properly and digest food at a slower rate; meaning blood sugar levels are more controlled. Uncontrolled spikes can lead to irritability, anxiety and moodiness.

On a more encouraging note, there are many ways in which we can make sure we help our bodies to maintain positive attitudes and make the correct choices. The ‘Mediterranean Diet’ is mentioned time and time again when it comes to keeping yourself healthy and there is extensive research to back this up. The diet compromises of fresh foods with limited processing, which means nutrients are retained and utilised within the body more efficiently. The ingredients that make up this diet are proven to reduce inflammation (linked to depression), reduce the mental health issues and extend life expectancy. Drizzle salads with extra virgin olive oil, add beans and pulses to soups and stews, sprinkle toasted seeds on dishes, make fruit & vegetables the hero.

Inspire diners to eat more omega 3 rich oily fish and even try introducing some gut loving probiotics to the more adventurous eater by including fermented foods in a selection of your dishes. Kimchi to a Korean style chicken dish? Sauerkraut to a hotdog? Yoghurt or Kefir instead of cream to a curry? A happy gut encourages a happy mind, it’s all connected.

So in conclusion, if you pack your dishes full of healthy fats, fruits & veggies, limit the processed food offerings, control portion sizes and sugar levels, your diners will leave not only feeling satisfied because of the beautiful food and the wonderful time had, but with a smile on their face, a good mood others will envy, and be on the way to one happy microbiome. Everybody wants to be fed the ultimate comfort food, but it can be indulgent without being unhealthy. But do note, that every once in a while, everybody wants to tuck into that something naughty because it does make them feel great, and that’s ok too!

We spoke to one of our development chefs about ultimate comfort food and what lifts their spirits; they gave us this recipe… Would this give you that feel-good factor? What is your go-to good mood food?

Ingredients:

–        1 tbsp. Olive Oil

–        1 Brown Onion, Finely Chopped

–        3 Red Peppers, Chopped into Strips

–        3 Garlic Cloves, Minced

–        1 Generous tsp. Smoked Paprika

–        ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon

–        1 tbsp. Tomato Puree

–        600g Tinned Tomatoes (Or a mix of Tinned & Passata)

–        1 Fresh Red Chilli, Finely Chopped (or 1 tsp. flakes)

–        12 Pre-Made Falafel

–        Sea Salt & Pepper (To Season)

Tahini Lemon Drizzle (Will make extra – Can be used as a dressing for many dishes!):

–        2 tbsp. Tahini

–        1 tbsp. Pomegranate Molasses (Optional but worth adding)


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