Who says that Monday 17th January has to be the most depressing day of the year? We say eat your way to happiness and enjoy every last mouthful with these tasty ideas for preparing ahead and beating the onset of January blues.
Beating Blue Monday is all about forward planning. Prep yourself a gorgeous breakfast beforehand so you've got something delicious to put a smile on your face the moment you wake up. Spend Sunday afternoon baking up a beautiful batch of pear breakfast buns or fruity banana bread then simply warm through for a few minutes in the morning for that fresh-from-the-oven feel. This means you can cram in an indulgent breakfast, and fill the house with the smell of freshly-baked goods, without any fuss.
Avoid a mid-morning slump by stashing some tasty treats in your bag to grab on-the-go. Flapjacks are the perfect easy bake to rustle up at home, and these healthy flapjacks are a great option as they're packed with oats, fruits and seeds. So, go on, take five minutes to make yourself a cup of tea and tuck into one of these chewy bars.
Whether you're at work or tackling the day from home, make lunch an occasion so you're not staring into a sad, soggy sarnie. These zero-lettuce salad bowls are a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach, bringing some much needed colour and freshness to January. Or try upping your sandwich game with these ultimate sandwich filling ideas such as triple-stacked clubs and meaty baguettes.
If you are at home with a few hours to spare, baking is the perfect feel-good activity to lift your mood. The smell of fresh, homemade cookies baking in the oven is sure to put a smile on anyone's face. For something oozy, try these salted caramel lava cookies or go for an intense chocolate hit with these dark, glossy chocolate crinkle cookies.
If you’re stuck in a rut when it comes to cooking, why not use Blue Monday as the perfect excuse to try something new? Perhaps start with a twist on a classic, such as these Mexican-style jacket potatoes made with vibrant sweet potatoes for a burst of colour, or this rich spin on Italian meatballs served with punchy blue cheese polenta instead of your classic pasta, the perfect comfort food for a cosy winter dinner.
Having friends and family around is the ultimate way to banish the blues, so make the effort to invite people over for dinner as a Monday night treat. Hosting doesn't have to be a hassle though, try whipping up some beetroot houmous bowls for easy snacking, serve up slices of cheat's pizzas, or cook up a fragrant curry in under 30 minutes for a real winter warmer.
If you’re embarking on a dry January, this is going to be the hardest day of the month. Keep up the good work by sipping on this warming spiced apple and ginger ale as a booze-free option that will still ward off the winter chill.
Classic puddings are the ultimate food-hug and often bring back happy childhood memories. A classic baked rice pudding swirled with a dollop of jam, or a rich, custardy bread and butter pudding are perfect comfort food desserts for a Monday night as they're super easy to make with store cupboard ingredients you are likely to already have at home.
Round off the day with a proper mug of hot chocolate as you cosy up before bed. A real indulgence and the ideal way to send you off to a deep sleep ready to face Tuesday... and the rest of January!
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