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Food Wise
A Christian based charity delivering food provision, training and education to local communities
By Steph Cogbill on 09/10/19 | Category - Food

 A fantastic article from Birmingham Mail on how to cook 84 meals for the whole week for less than 70p each. Have you ever thought about planning your meals ahead of time but just don't know where to start? Here is a helpful guide with the recipes too!! 

Click Here for the article!

By Josceline Walden on 13/02/19 | Category - Food

How Have You Been Feeling Lately? 

Fatigued or Energised?
Sliggish or Alert?
Low or Sad?
Anxious or Relaxed?
Rational or Irrational in decision making?
Irritable or Easy going?
Is your mind "foggy" or sharp during the day?

Now think about the food you are (or aren’t) putting onto your plate? 

How regular are your meals/snacks? What's the quality of the food like; Ready meals, fast food or home cooked, Processed or fresh. 

Diet and mood go hand in hand.

Nutrition plays a big part in not just our bodily health, but also all aspects of our wellbeing.


Furthermore, mood and emotions can impact our eating; increasing or decreasing appetite, cravings; stress and anxiety has even been found to hinder proper digestion and disrupt the absorption of nutrients in the gut. 


How Does Diet Impact Our Mood?


The brain is the control centre for your whole body.
It's aim; to keep your body in a "balance” known as "homeostasis”, to protect you, to keep you alive.

What we know is that when diet is restrictive, or lacking nutritional quality, this impacts our mood because the brain is malnourished; That is, it is starved of what it needs in order to drive your body properly.

Just like if you were to fill your car with the wrong fuel, a brain fuelled by diet deficient in vital vitamins and minerals it needs is not going to do its job as efficiently, and can be "dangerous” to drive.
A car would give signals that it’s struggling, and our bodies do the same thing, we need to listen out and  know the signs. 

Go back and re-read the questions at the start of the blog and have a think about how the food you eat impacts your mood: What are you eating? When do you eat? How much? How you’re eating it? 
 Is your body giving you any "signs” that it needs to be fuelled in a better way? 


 How Does Mood Impact Food Choices?

It’s no surprise that it's harder to make healthy decisions when we feel low, anxious or stressed.

Having experienced depression, anxiety and disordered eating myself, I know first hand know how manipulative our mood can be; constant highs and lows of energy and appetite, mind-fog impacting rational decision-making, motivation ebbing and flowing. 

It can be a mission just to get out of bed, it becomes just another mountain to climb, worrying about what to eat (and maybe feed many more mouths). Not even Jamie Oliver’s "meals in minutes” can combat.


Research has shown mood can manipulate appetite and eating habits in many ways; increasing or decreasing hunger, speeding up eating speed, triggering cravings for more ‘palatable’ foods (think high fat and high carbohydrate; chocolate, sweets).


Cravings will usually centre around foods high in fats and carbohydrates, this is because they release a "happy hormone” known as serotonin in the brain. This triggers pleasure signals that make us feel comforted.  

Dopamine is another neurotransmitter(brain hormone) released when we eat, it helps us learn:
"that was tasty & comforting”,  
"That was convenient and quick"
"When I'm low I don't eat" 

The problem: Over time a habitual response, a learnt pattern of eating is created triggered by our mood The next time the same situation arises we turn to this behaviour to help us. 

In some instances it can become a Catch 22 cycle: poor diet, low mood, lack of energy, nutrient deficient choices. 


How Can You Boost Mood Through Food?

We need to choose to break the cycle, and as an act of self-care, learn to nourish our bodies.

Have faith the 8 mood-boosting steps, are super simple, and there is even a  "Food & Mood Shopping List” to help you on your way to eating yourself happy:

1)  Did You Eat A Good Breakfast?  

Set yourself up for steady supply of energy instead of a sharp sugar spike which can cause mood swings an interfere with concentration. 
Protein helps with (fullness) and wholegrain carbohydrates, or oats, are a great source of slow release energy. 

Why not try 2 slices of wholegrain toast with eggs and spinach. 
Or 30g Porridge Oats made with milk, ½ banana and some frozen berries. 

2)  Have You Had Enough Water Today?

Research has found even being slightly dehydrated impacts upon mood negatively. Your brain is 78% fluid, but it doesn’t want constant supply of fizzy drinks or caffeine, but plenty of water; 8 glasses minimum a day.

Don’t like the flavour? Spice it up with slices of lemon, lime or cucumber.

3)  Pack Your Snacks!

Your brain uses up 20% of the sugar from food as daily energy, and during sleep. Long breaks between meals, or having no snacks, can create large fluctuations in blood-glucose levels; low blood sugar can elevate feelings of anxiety, low mood and disrupts concentration

Carry snacks in your bag or car; apples, raisins, banana, carrot sticks and hummus, even a couple of boiled eggs. 

4)   Go For Unsaturated Fats:

Much of your cellular and hormonal functioning is reliant on adequate fat supply. Unsaturated fats rom nuts, seeds, egg yolks, and oily fish are healthy sources.
Selenium is an important mineral found in many of these foods that helps with cognition (brain power), immune system function, and fertility. If deficient, found related to negative mood states.  

5)   Limit Alcohol & Caffeine:

It is recommended to limit both caffeine and alcohol if suffering from clinically diagnosed mood disorder. Both act in opposing ways; Caffeine is a stimulant and its short-lived highs can often create manic episodes, whilst alcohol is a depressant and can worsen low mood.

has also been found to prevent absorption of certain nutrients in the body, such as Vitamin B, leading to deficiencies that enhance mood instability.

Why not experiment with different
herbal teas, or alcohol free versions of drinks at social occasions.

6)   Go For Greens and Grains:

Diets deficient in wholegrain, veggies and fruits often lead to feelings of tiredness, irritability and feelings of depression. Fantastic sources of zinc, folate, and B Vitamins and so many tasty ways to cook them up or hide them in your meals, just check out our recipes page to find some veg-spiration!

7)   Eat the rainbow:

You can largely get all the vitamins your body needs from eating a varied diet (A,D, E K, &  the 8 B Vitamins and Vitamin C).
The more colourful your plate is, regardless if it is from fresh or frozen, the more diversity of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) you are giving your body to function optimally.

Those who are vegetarian or vegan need to source B-12 from fortified cereals, milk and yoghurt products as it is this B Vitamin is only found in meat products. 

8)  Be Freezer Ready:

When the going gets tough, the tough need to have aback up plan that provides the same quick fix as fast food and ready meals. Instead of having frozen pizzas, chips at the ready why not freeze one portion of a meal each night during the week, so you have a freezer filled with nutritious, home cooked alternatives giving you no excuse to not eat a balanced meal.

              * * * 

    R E M E M B E R

It is ok to eat your favourite fast foods, have a slice of cake and a bar of chocolate every now and again. A healthy diet is not a restricted diet. Long term look at the quality and quantity of the foods you are feeding your body and brain. 




Mind Charity, Food & Mood [accessed 12th Feb 2019]

British Association of Dieticians, Food & Mood [accessed 10the Feb 2019]

Macht, M. (2008). How emotions affect eating: A five-way model. Appetite, 50(1), 1-11. doi;10.1016/j.appet.2007.07/002






















By Becky Whale on 01/01/18 | Category - Food

FoodWise was delighted to be able to help CAP clients from Woking and Guildford with their Christmas meal back in December. We delivered turkey crowns to people across the towns who would otherwise have struggled affording this expensive item for their Christmas lunch. It was wonderful to see the joy this gift brought to people in need, and the relief for the parents of families who may otherwise have gone without. Jane Seals of CAP commented ‘Our clients were blown away by your generosity”. FoodWise is particularly grateful to Prince and Sons butchers in Horsell for kindly donating the turkeys at cost price. This initiative was so successful we are already planning to go ahead with further turkey donations in Christmas 2018. If you can help in anyway, please get in touch!

By Grace Luke on 14/09/16 | Category - Food

The kids have been back at school for a week already! If they don't have school dinners now's the time to double check that you are sending them off with a healthy packed lunch.

Healthy Packed Lunch










Eating a healthy balanced diet is important to every child’s growth and development. Having a varied diet will help your child to eat more healthily. Here are some ideas to help you encourage your child/children to eat a healthy lunch. Why not get them to help you prepare it – children love to get involved and are more likely to eat something that they have been involved in preparing.

A healthy packed lunch should include:-
  1. A portion of starchy food such as white or wholemeal bread, pitta, wrap, rice, pasta, couscous.
  2. A portion of protein such as sliced meat, fish, egg, or meat alterantives:- pulses, beans or chickpeas
  3. A portion of fruit such as apple, pear, grapes, melon, satsuma, strawberries etc, and a portion of vegetables such as carrot, celery, pepper or cucumber sticks. Peas, sweetcorn, grated carrot in sandwiched or salads.
  4. A portion of dairy such as yoghurt or cheese.
  5. A drink. Water or milk is the most healthy option

Winning menus

Here are a few tasty ideas to ring the changes with your child's packed lunch or visit Change4Life web site for loads more.

  • Pitta pocket (you can now buy pitta squares – even easier to fill!) Fill with cheese, ham and cucumber, tuna and sweetcorn
  • Bagel – cream cheese or tuna make a great filling for bagels
  • Houmous with veg sticks – carrot, celery, cucmber, sweet peppers, baby corn
  • Cheese dip – with veg sticks or bread sticks
  • Pasta salad – add chopped cooked chicken, ham or some tuna to some pasta, stir in some veg (peas or green beans, sweetcorn, chopped cucumber, chopped peppers and mix together with mayonnaise or some tomato sauce. A great way to use up leftovers
  • Couscous – add cooked meat or tuna and some vegetables
  • Frittata – Frittata is a great way to use up whatever veg you have in the fridge and makes a lovely meal hot or cold. Although the recipe below has peppers and peas in I often use green beans, sweetcorn, courgette, broccoli (anything works – just give it a try!!) You could even put in a handful of grated cheese. Click for Recipe

Researchers from the University of Leeds have found that just one in five packed lunches (for primary aged children) contain a vegetable or any salad, and just 1.6% meet current nutritional standards. Although it may take a while for your children to get used to a healthier lunchbox, it will be worth it for their health - so keep trying even if you have to start with small changes at first.

By Beverley Stonehouse on 02/02/16 | Category - Food

Did you know that in some parts of the United States Shrove Tuesday - or Pancake Day as it is more commonly known in the UK - is called Fat Tuesday?

FatTuesday Pancake


Doesn’t sound terribly appealing in English, however the original French phrase ‘Mardi Gras’ has become synonymous with the riotous festival season in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Originally Fat Tuesday/Pancake Day was the final feast day before the Christian season of Lent. It was a way of using up rich foods, such as meat, eggs, milk and cheese before 40 days of fasting began.

Today pancakes are often perceived as a family treat, but actually they are a really easy and cheap dessert to make. Savoury versions using left overs, such as chicken, mince, cheese or fish make tasty main courses too!

Why not have a go at making your own pancakes next Tuesday. Cooking from scratch provides a great opportunity for children to get involved with simple cooking and will ensure your family eats a lot less sugar than in supermarket bought versions. According to the BBC the tried and tested Delia recipe for a basic homemade pancake contains about 88 calories, 5g of fat, 7.5g of carbohydrates, 0.2g of salt and 0.4g of fibre. Of course that doesn’t include any naughty toppings that you choose to add. Personally I am happy with a squeeze of lemon and a tiny sprinkling of sugar.

We’d love you to share your creations on our FaceBook Page.

By Martin Vodden on 30/12/15 | Category - Food

If you had asked me at the beginning of 2015 what were my goals for the coming year, establishing a new charity wouldn’t have been on my radar. And yet, here I am at the end of the year, the Chairman of FoodWise TLC explains Martin Vodden.


Coming from a Christian faith background that instilled a strong desire in me to serve and help others, the following social issues created the impetus to set up FoodWise TLC.


Food Poverty on the Rise

For some time now I have been concerned at the levels of food poverty being reported in the UK media. Even in the leafy suburbs of Surrey there has been a massive rise in the number of people turning to food banks for help in a crisis. I believe this is just the tip of the iceberg. Evidence suggests that turning to food banks is a strategy of last resort. People are often too proud to seek help unless it is absolutely necessary. I hear stories of children going to bed hungry and to school without breakfast, which we know, not only affects their health, but also their ability to learn. School holidays offer little relief, as it just means an extra family meal to find on an already restricted budget.


Loss of Basic Cooking Skills

The skills needed to cook food from scratch or use up leftovers have been declining over three generations. Although many of us have become more reliant on convenience foods and ready meals, retail analyst Kantar Worldpanel reported that home-cooked foods have declined most sharply among the poorest members of society tempted by promotions and cheap food – "feeding the family on a special offer convenience meal seems a cheaper alternative to preparing a more complex, multi-ingredient freshly cooked meal.” There are very few opportunities for people to improve their basic cookery skills. Broadening the range of low cost meals someone can cook leads to better eating habits and financial savings for them.


Importance of Social Support Networks

Psychologists report that emotional support is an important factor for dealing with life’s difficulties. Having strong social support can actually make people more able to cope with problems on their own, by improving self-esteem and sense of autonomy. Any type of shared activity is a great way to get to know new people. It’s much less intimidating to build relationships in a relaxed environment over a period of several weeks. Partnering with voluntary groups and agencies creates on-going support structures, which are both accessible and sustainable.


I realise that the underlying causes of food poverty are complex and FoodWise TLC can’t solve them all. FoodWise TLC embraces the widely accepted principle of "Give a man a fish, you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish and you have fed him for a lifetime”. Our free cookery courses enable people to prepare and cook simple inexpensive food that is healthy and tasty to eat. Every course is tailored to the needs of the group, so the level of assistance varies depending on the existing skills of participants and any special dietary needs that they may have. Everyone gets to take home the meal they prepare, so that’s one less meal to find during the week. And in amongst the learning there’s lots of social interaction, which we hope not only helps to build self-confidence, but lasting support networks. 


If you would like to find out more about our work or are interested in running a course within your community please contact me: or 07768 005155.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

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