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This content is taken from the University of Reading's online course, Understanding Depression and Low Mood in Young People. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 13 seconds So for young people, there’s lots of physical developments going on. We see growth spurts and hormonal changes. And these different developments can affect how we eat and what we eat. And often they will affect our appetite and make us more hungry or less hungry. You might see young people needing a lot more food at meal times or needing more snacks. And that’s completely normal. That goes alongside those growth changes. For most young people, that will just settle back into a routine over time.

Skip to 0 minutes and 42 seconds With depression, you might see young people needing, or going for kind of the junk foods a bit more, or those sugary foods that give those intense bursts of energy, especially if we’re tired or sleep deprived we might kind of crave those more sugary foods. If we’re feeling sad, we might try and comfort eat. We might want the foods that make us feel good. In terms of the advice we would give young people about their eating habits, the most important thing is getting a good balanced diet. Structure’s really good too. So getting up and having breakfast, that can set us up for the day and make it easier to get involved and work hard at school.

Skip to 1 minute and 19 seconds And the family can play a really important role as well. So the family can help to model the kind of foods that we should be eating. But also, the social aspect of eating can be really important, so sitting down at dinner together as a family.

The impact of eating and nutrition

In this video Dr Faith Orchard discusses the importance of a healthy balanced diet, and the relationship young people have with food when suffering from depression.

Eating is a huge part of day to day life. We know that we need to eat to survive, and we also know that certain foods can be good or bad for our physical health. However, the link between eating and mental wellbeing is not always acknowledged. There can be other benefits that food can provide, such as social interaction when eating with friends, or time as a family when cooking a meal.

Do you ever notice certain eating habits accompany different moods? Share your thoughts below.

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This video is from the free online course:

Understanding Depression and Low Mood in Young People

University of Reading