Chocolate, cake and biscuits are the comfort foods Brits reach for most to boost their mood, according to research.
A poll of 2,000 UK adults, commissioned by supermarket Aldi, found a fifth (20 per cent) will have a full English fry-up when in need of a little pick-me-up.
And while a bacon sarnie hits the spot for 21 per cent, a further 14 per cent will make themselves feel better with a full roast dinner.
One in 10 (8 per cent) admit turning to comfort foods daily and 74 per cent say they will always opt for foods that are high in sugar.
Despite this, over half (56 per cent) acknowledge what they consume can in fact make them feel worse - with more than 57 per cent saying they feel full of regret after they’ve eaten certain foods.
The research comes as Aldi partners with Team GB nutritionist, Nigel Mitchell, to champion the importance of your diet on your mood and everyday life - creating bespoke low-cost recipes to suit all the family.
The supermarket has been a sponsor of Team GB since 2015, proudly supporting every athlete with helpful initiatives to keep them fuelled, like providing £25 in vouchers to spend in Aldi each month.
Nigel said: “It’s fascinating how our bodies react to certain foods, and when our mood is low, we do tend to turn to things that give us a sense of comfort. While there’s nothing wrong with having a treat from time to time, it’s also really important that we are aware of the link between our diets and mood to ensure we incorporate foods that can have a positive impact too.
“Over the years I’ve worked with many Olympic athletes - including those in the recent Winter games - advising them on how the foods they eat support their physical training, as well as how they can affect cognition, mood and overall wellness.
“Foods like oily fish, nuts and seeds are among some of my top recommendations for foods that benefit both mind and body. Packed full of nutrients, they are also all great ingredients for slow energy release, while things like brightly-coloured fruit and vegetables can really help with blood flow around the body - including the brain.”
Making the most of the boosts
Nearly one in five (17 per cent) say their boost only lasts a few minutes when they turn to certain comfort foods, while 31 per cent said their mood lift lasts for up to an hour.
The most likely time people will turn to certain foods is when they are feeling sad or down (52 per cent) while 48 per cent will do it when they are feeling stressed.
And, according to the OnePoll study, more than four in 10 (42 per cent) will turn to comfort foods when the weather is cold and rainy.
More than half admitted their choice of comfort food is unhealthy, but 69 per cent say it’s just too expensive to eat more healthily – even though they would like to.
With a quarter (24 per cent) saying they lack inspiration, 63 per cent went on to say they would like to eat more healthy meals.
One in five (20 per cent) say they don’t have the time to cook healthy meals, while more than half (53 per cent) of parents surveyed admitted to just letting their children choose what they want to eat.
Julie Ashfield, Managing Director of Buying at Aldi UK, said: “At Aldi we are committed to providing the best possible quality and value to all our customers – which is exactly what these recipes are also designed to do.
“The recipes all include ingredients that Nigel regularly feeds into the nutrition plans of Team GB athletes and can all be found in your local Aldi store – showing we don’t have to be an Olympian to eat like one.
“Alongside the recipes, our Get Set to Eat Fresh programme also aims to promote the benefits of eating fresh and healthy food. Working with our Team GB ambassadors, we have so far helped teach more than 2 million children about the importance of a well-balanced and nutrient-rich diet.”
Gemma Thickett, Advice and Information Service Manager at Mental Health UK said: “Eating well can help our emotional and physical wellbeing.
“Eating ‘well’ can mean we are a healthy weight and manage our weight in the long term, we eat the food necessary to keep us healthy, such as fruit and vegetables, and that eating is an enjoyable experience!”
To check out Nigel’s recipes, click here
Top 30 foods Brits turn to for comfort
5. Ice cream
7. Fish and chips
9. Bacon sandwich
10. Full English breakfast
11. Crusty bread
12. Burger and chips
15. Chip butty
16. Sausage sandwich
17. Fried chicken
18. Roast dinner
20. Sticky toffee pudding
23. Mac & cheese
24. Fruit crumble
25. Shepherds/cottage pie
26. Beans on toast
28. Scrambled egg on toast
29. Rice pudding
30. Jacket potato
Top 10 items to add to your basket, according to Nigel Mitchell
1. Berry granola
2. Dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
3. Oats for porridge
5. Fresh tomatoes
6. Sweet potato
10. New potatoes