How food can support your mood and learning

What and how we eat affects our physical health, mental health and also our learning. It’s important to explore how what you eat can support you. Improving your food choices may help to improve your mood, give you more energy and help you think more clearly. Don't forget, you can get 10% off HelloFresh with your UNiDAYS discount, so you can cook great tasting meals at home with fresh ingredients.

Student Minds, the UK’s student mental health charity, shares 9 steps to making healthy changes in your eating habits.

9 steps to making healthy changes in your eating habits:

  1. Focus on adding healthy foods rather than taking unhealthy foods away. If you deny yourself the occasional treat, your body may respond by chemically demanding pleasure which can lead to overindulgence.
  2. Look for recipes you can cook online or invest in a healthy recipe book.
  3. Enjoy your food, don’t just eat it.
  4. Plan your meals for the week - this will also help save money and can help you to avoid wasting food.
  5. If you’re going to work or university for the day, pack a healthy lunch and snacks. Planning this in advance can make it easier to resist temptation to buy unhealthy snacks.
  6. Don’t skip or delay meals and be sure to schedule your snacks. If you often feel too hungry, it can cause you to focus a lot on food in unhelpful ways.
  7. Try not to graze throughout the day or eat too close to bedtime as this can disrupt your sleep cycle (read more about how you can improve your sleep).
  8. Keep hydrated. Try to drink water instead of caffeinated or high-sugar drinks, including high-sugar juices or smoothies.
  9. Beware of empty calories in alcohol - they are empty because they have no nutritional value.

There are also lots of other helpful healthy habits which can help your mental health alongside a healthy diet, including a good sleep, regular exercise, sunlight and a balanced daily routine.

Exercise can also help improve all aspects of your health, explore 10 ways to make movement part of your daily routine:

  • Make small changes
  • Do something you enjoy
  • Focus on one goal at a time
  • Plan it into your week
  • Build up gradually
  • Get outside
  • Try a HIIT workout
  • Add in some strength training
  • Make incidental movement part of your day
  • Take advantage of technology

Explore how you can make these exercise tips a reality on the Student Space website.

About Student Minds

Student Minds is the UK’s student mental health charity. We empower students and members of the university community to develop the knowledge, confidence and skills to look after their own mental health, support others and create change.

We train students and staff in universities across the UK to deliver student-led peer support interventions, as well as research-driven campaigns and workshops. By working collaboratively across sectors, we share best practice and ensure that the student voice influences decisions about student mental health.

We are delivering Student Space to help students navigate university life during the coronavirus pandemic. Student Space is available to all higher education students across England and Wales and provides students with a trusted place to:

Together, we will transform the state of student mental health so that all in higher education can thrive. For more information, visit

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