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Eating your way to better mental health - What’s on your menu?

15th October 2020

Macedon Ranges Health is offering a limited number of FREE menu assessments to sports clubs and recreation centres in the Shire to help improve the mental and physical health of their members

What we eat isn’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when we think of improving our mental health. But the relationship between what you eat and your mood is a really important one.

Dietitian Susie Whitelock, who works at Macedon Ranges Health in Gisborne said “We know that poor nutrition is a risk factor for both mental and physical ill health. People might be surprised to know that a diet which includes adequate amounts of wholegrain breads, fish, nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables can reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety”.

Many people have found it particularly challenging to maintain healthy eating habits during lockdown. Fewer trips to the supermarket means that you might be eating less fresh foods than you normally would. The impact of COVID restrictions also means we may not be getting as much exercise as we normally would.

“As the restrictions begin to lift, we are offering a limited number of local sporting clubs and recreation centres access to FREE menu assessments based on the Healthy Choices guidelines. We can look at your canteen menu or what you offer in your vending machines and come up with some practical suggestions to encourage your members to make healthier food and drinks choices. For example in a recent menu assessment with a recreation pool, we moved the placement of water in the fridge to make it more prominent and reduce consumption of sugary beverages. Simple steps like this which encourage us to take good care of our bodies, means we are in a much stronger place to look after our own mental health”.

If you are interested in accessing a FREE menu assessment for your club or recreation centre, contact Susie Whitelock at

If you or someone you know is in need of immediate mental health support, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 (24/7) or text 0477 13 11 14 (6pm-midnight).