Eating Healthy & Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) - Premier Counseling
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Eating a healthy salad

Eating Healthy & Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

By Todd McGuire, LPC

Last year, we talked about the idea that eating healthy can help you get motivated to make other changes in your life. In addition to helping you get and stay motivated, a healthier diet can also be beneficial for addressing seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This year, we’re revisiting our blog on healthy eating to discuss how it can beneficial for those who struggle with SAD. You’d be surprised how much small dietary changes can improve your daily life. Don’t forget our team can help you with your specific goals during individual therapy sessions at Central Arkansas Group Counseling in Benton and North Little Rock.

Will Eating Healthy Really Improve Seasonal Affective Disorder Symptoms?

In short – yes. When we eat healthier foods, we have more energy, are less likely to get sick, and feel better-able to face whatever challenges the day throws at us. If you’re struggling with SAD, one of the first things a counselor will tell you is to take it one step at a time. Doing one, small thing can make it easier to take bigger steps. If you’re going to take just one step, why not start with planning your meals for the day? You might just discover that planning and cooking healthy, nutrient-rich meals gives you the energy you need to take other steps.

Where Will I Find the Time?

Many people say they don’t have time to eat right. How are they possibly going to make time to cook? If you want to make changes to your diet to improve your outlook when dealing with SAD, start small. Consider the following:

  • Planning – decide what to eat before you get hungry and plan for your meals in advance.
  • Snacking – eat a small, healthy snack when you feel hungry rather than waiting until you’re starving or “holding out” for full meals but avoid eating after 7 pm.
  • Smaller portions – you don’t have to clean your plate (no matter what mom says). Make and eat smaller amounts of food and don’t hesitate to save part of your meal for later.
  • Substitutions – feeling “full” is the same level satisfaction whether you eat three cheeseburgers or something healthier. You don’t have to starve yourself. Instead, make healthy substitutions to feel full.

Food Habits to Avoid

  • Avoiding food all day long and eating one large meal
  • Waiting until you’re hungry to decide what to eat
  • Making healthy eating too difficult – you don’t need gourmet meals to eat healthy
  • Cutting out one of the three macronutrients our bodies need (protein, carbohydrates, and fats)
  • Eating a bland or unvaried diet
  • Depriving yourself of your favorites

Food Habits to Take Up

  • Eat breakfast! Mom was right on this one – it’s the most important meal of the day
  • Keep healthy snacks in the house, at work, and with your when you travel (ditch the unhealthy ones)
  • Plan your meals in advance
  • Meal prep and freeze foods or save leftovers in the refrigerator
  • Eat smaller portions of a greater variety of foods

Can the Central Arkansas Group Counseling Team Help?

Therapy can be extremely helpful for anyone struggling with SAD. If you’re trying to make positive changes in your daily life, the team at Central Arkansas Group Counseling can help. With locations in Benton and North Little Rock, our team of clinicians can help you find the motivation you need to eat better, feel better, and stay motivated. Contact us at Central Arkansas Group Counseling to learn more or schedule a visit. We offer individual counseling in our practice locations as well as couples and family therapy. We even provide online counseling sessions if our practice locations are too far away.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash