Eating for a Healthy Body and a Healthy Mind

My hubby is a serial ‘project-initiator’. He’s never happy unless he’s got a project or six on the go and they often revolve around fundraising for charity.

His latest venture combines his full-time job as a firefighter with his interest in mental wellbeing which comes from his ‘other’ job as a counsellor. It also manages to bring in his interest in fitness. Usually his projects are fairly short-term – maybe a month or two at most and culminating in an event. But, never one to rest on his laurels, his latest initiative pretty much tops them all.

It’s a year long campaign to raise awareness of the links between physical fitness and mental wellbeing. It’s called #healthybodyhealthymind and involves a partnership between the NI Fire and Rescue Service, NI Chest, Heart and Stroke and Mindwise. Between now and next April, there are numerous physical challenges and fitness activities planned which, as well as making the link between physical and mental health, will also hopefully raise funds for the two charities involved.

What on earth, you may well ask, does this have to do with a food blog? Well. On top of a really busy cooking weekend which ranged from a gorgeous Chilli Prawn and Pea noodle dish on the Friday night to a scrumptious Marmalade Bread and Butter pudding after dinner on Sunday, I managed to find time to make hubby some energy-rich snacks to take with him this morning as he abandoned me (sniff, sniff) for the guts of two weeks to cycle around every fire station in Northern Ireland as the #healthybodyhealthymind campaign kicked off with Station 2 Station.

That’s him on the right…

I’ll come back at a later stage with recipes for the noodle dish and the b&b pudding, but today I thought I’d share the recipes for the sweet but healthy energy balls I made for hubs to take with him for sustenance as he headed off to cycle god-only-knows-how-many-miles to end up in Newry tonight. En route over the two week challenge, the four fire-fighters involved will be stopping at over 20 schools to talk to teenagers about the importance of physical and mental fitness and they’ll visit 68 fire stations in total. The lucky beggars also seem to be guaranteed great weather for their trip.

Not that I mind being left at home with two teenagers, two cats, a dog and free reign over the remote control. It’ll be a Masterchef bonanza for me this week – can’t wait to see who takes the crown on Friday. I’m hoping it’s Alison, but she has some stiff competition from Steve, Lorna and Giovanna in particlar in my view!

Anyways, I made two types of energy balls (rather than the highly-sweet Rocky Road Bars that were requested!) adapting the recipes from Jamie Oliver’s Everyday Super Foods book to suit what was in the cupboards. Recipe links below.

These are particularly timely, as is the Station 2 Station event, as today marks the start of Mental Health Awareness Week. I for one am totally convinced that diet plays a large part in mental and emotional wellbeing. I know that too much sugar, crisps or processed food not only makes me feel tired, sluggish and generally rotten, but it also badly affects my mood, making me even grumpier than usual and making me feel ‘blue’.

So, have a go at these – the date ones are the nicest in my view, but that’s because of the cocoa content – they’re really easy and you can change and adapt the recipes to suit what you have at home. They’re also a heck of a lot cheaper than the similar bar-shaped versions you can buy in the shops.

Recipes from this post

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