With R U OK? Day coming up on Thursday, this is the time to reach out to your friends and family – and what better way to offer a hand than to hand deliver some nourishing, comforting meals? Here are a few recipes to make for the people in your life who aren’t okay.
With 1 in 5 Aussies dealing with a 12-month mental disorder and 3.3 million of us struggling with anxiety disorder, mental health has hit crisis point. With the COVID-19 pandemic, juggling busy schedules, and the daily stresses that creep into our lives, it's no wonder so many people are struggling to stay afloat. But there are a few ways you can reach out to the family and friends you suspect are having a rough time. Baking or cooking some comforting meals and snacks for your loved ones can be the perfect way to show your support this R U OK? Day.
Plus, diet also plays a significant role in mood, stress and mental health. Studies have shown rates of depression are greater in those who eat a high-sugar diet, while another study found the same high-sugar diet can lead to anxiety as well. In fact, one study found people who regularly drank soft drinks had stress hormone levels 22% higher than those who did not, showing an undeniable link between mental health and diet. So, sharing some nourishing, nutritious meals hits 2 birds with 1 stone; it’ll help their gut and their brain. Check out some of our favourite recipes to whip up for your loved ones:
One-Pan Lemony Herb Baked Drumsticks
This nourishing meal comes from the One Pot Wonders eBook and is the perfect gift for those experiencing a major life change; new parents or people in mourning will especially appreciate having one less thing to do. During those times when people have their hands full or are dealing with grief, cooking and eating healthily is the first thing to go out the window. So, whip up this hearty, warming soup for any friends or family who are going through the wringer.
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 8 chicken thighs or drumsticks, bone in, with skin
- 400g baby potatoes, halved
- 2 red onions, roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- Juice and zest of 2 lemons
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 cups broccoli florets
- 4 cups baby spinach
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Put the oil in the bottom of a large roasting dish. Rub the skin of the chicken in the oil and season with salt, then lay the drumsticks in the pan.
- Place potatoes around the edges of the chicken. Scatter the onion, lemon juice, zest and oregano over the top. Place roasting dish in the oven and bake chicken for 40 to 45 minutes, turning halfway or until chicken is golden. (Juice should run clear when pierced.)
- Steam broccoli over a double boiler. Serve chicken with a side of baby spinach and broccoli, drizzled with butter, olive or coconut oil.
Sunflower Strawberry Thumbles
These biscuits are nutritious, tasty and perfect for packaging in a jar or box to send to your loved ones. Check out the No Sugar Baking Cookbook for more recipes like this.
- 1 ½ cups sunflower seeds
- ½ cup buckwheat flour
- 1 ½ tablespoons arrowroot
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of sea salt
- ¼ cup butter or coconut oil, melted
- 2 tablespoons rice malt syrup
- 1 free-range egg, separated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons strawberry jam
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Spread the sunflower seeds on the baking tray and roast in the oven for 10 minutes, tossing them around after 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Put ¾ of the sunflower seeds into a high-speed blender or food processor and blitz until a coarse meal forms. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and stir in the buckwheat flour, arrowroot, baking powder and salt.
- In a small bowl, combine the butter, rice malt syrup, egg yolk and vanilla. Whisk with a fork and fold into the dry ingredients, stirring until a dough forms.
- Whisk the eff white in a small, clean bowl until foamy. Coarsely chop the remaining sunflower seeds and place in another small bowl.
- Roll dessert spoons of the dough into balls. Roll each ball in the foamy egg white and then coat it in the sunflower seeds. Arrange on the baking tray and push down with your thumb to create a well in the centre. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Fill each well with ½ teaspoon of jam. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until lightly golden. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool, they will firm up once cool.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days or freeze for up to a month.
Ginger Bread Muggin
This warming ginger bread mug cake is the perfect surprise for family members, with the anti-inflammatory and gut-boosting properties of ginger, plus the soothing aromas of cinnamon and pumpkin spice, this No Sugar Baking Cookbook classic is comfort in a mug.
- ¼ cup almond meal or gluten-free plain flour
- 2 tablespoons desiccated coconut
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin spice mix or ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon crushed pecans, plus extra to serve
- ½ teaspoon rice malt syrup
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin or sweet potato puree
- ¼ cup milk
- Full-fat organic plain yoghurt, to serve
- Place all of the ingredients in a microwave-safe porcelain mug and mix with a spoon. Microwave on high for 2 minutes.
- Serve with yoghurt and pecans.
For more nutritious and satisfying recipes, check out our extensive range of eBooks.
Remember, it’s okay not to be okay – if you or someone you know is in need of assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. The support lines below are available 24/7.
Lifeline: 131 114
Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636
In an emergency, call 000 (Australia)