Improve Your Mood this Winter with Healthy Food & More!

Joshua Scott — December 20, 2016

Winter – especially a winter in Chicago – can be rough on a person’s well-being. The sun’s hardly up before it decides to set again, everywhere you walk is icy and slippery, and you never know when the next polar vortex is going to descend like a frigid apocalypse. But all this doesn’t mean you have to spend the entire season being glum. There are plenty of ways to keep your spirits up!

Here at Northern Fork, we obviously know food (and how healthy food can improve your mood) but we thought we’d share some other tips to get you through winter as well. Read on!



Okay, so running in sub-zero temperatures while dodging icy patches of sidewalk doesn’t sound like a great time. Fair enough. But as tempting as it can be, don’t spend all winter just lying on the couch. Numerous studies have shown that regular exercise can be as effective as antidepressants in combating mild to moderate depression.

You can do cardio in your apartment, enroll at a gym, or simply go for a brisk walk every day during your lunch. Whatever gets the blood pumping gets your endorphins going too.


Winter daylight can be short, bleak, and dreary, which some scientists think is a major factor that contributes to seasonal affective disorder. In other words, not getting enough sunlight can make you sad.

One way to get around this? Something called “light therapy.” Spending time around bright light, often emitted from specially-designed “light boxes,” can help improve your mood if you’re feeling gloomy. You might also want to soak up as much legitimate sunshine as you can by going outside during the day.



According to a study at the University of Missouri, it’s possible to feel better just by listening to cheery music. At the very least, cheery music helps when you’re trying to cheer yourself up.

Avoid somber and melancholy melodies when you’ve got the winter blues. Instead, find some upbeat tunes you won’t get sick of and let the music carry you to a better place. It’s science, after all.



Some research has shown that people are significantly happier when they’re anticipating going on vacation. It’s not hard to see why. Even if you plan a trip for much later, the act of planning and getting excited for your vacation can give you a much-needed mid-winter boost. When there’s light at the end of the tunnel, it makes it easier to keep going, right?


We are what we eat, and what we eat can have a huge effect on how we feel. That’s why food becomes extra important during wintertime.

Health website Greatist has a great, well-researched article that details a number of nutrients that can improve your mood. Some of the stand-outs include:


  • Calcium – found in foods such as kale, yogurt, and milk.
  • Iron – found in foods such as lentils, oatmeal and dark meat.
  • Magnesium – found in foods such as almonds, spinach, and edamame.
  • Omega-3s – found in foods such as salmon, trout, and chia seeds.
  • Vitamin B6 – found in foods such as tuna, chickpeas, and fortified cereals.
  • Vitamin B12 – found in foods such as cheese and fish.
  • Vitamin D – found in foods such as eggs, mushrooms, and salmon.

So, say you’re looking for something nutritious, delicious, and ­mood-improving to eat? Why not try Northern Fork’s winter apple kale salad with salmon – you’ll get a whole bunch of those mood-regulating nutrients in one catered lunch!



If you’re looking for healthy catering in Chicago or just want food to make people happy on a cold winter’s day, look no further. Northern Fork is your Chicago catering company and we know good food. Set up the light box, turn up the tunes, and we’ll all dance and eat our way to springtime and warmer weather together.