Mood-boosting breakfast bowl

It’s not uncommon for our moods to suffer during fall and winter when there is a reduced level of sunlight. Darker days can disrupt the body’s internal “biological clock” (circadian rhythm) causing hormones, sleep and mood to be unbalanced.  While there are many things we can do to boost our mood, such as getting proper sleep, exercising, and creating a self-care routine, nutrition plays a vital role in emotional and mental well-being.

This healthy breakfast bowl by Alison Wu is a mood-boosting powerhouse - it contains several brain foods such as amaranth, walnuts, cacao and honey to help fuel your brain start your day on the right note.

This recipe’s amaranth contains carbohydrates and vitamin B6, which help boost the brain’s natural feel-good chemicals, called seratonin.  You’ll get your omega-3s from this breakfast’s walnuts, which are key players in providing mental stability and maintaining brain health. The best part is the cacao (who doesn’t love chocolate for breakfast!?) as it contains neurotransmitters serotonin, tryptophan and dopamine that stimulate brain activity and help regulate mood. Drizzle some raw honey on top, which is loaded with quercetin and kaempferol that help clear free radicals and reduce inflammation in your body, helping your brain function optimally.

Photo by Alison Wu via  Mind Body Green

Photo by Alison Wu via Mind Body Green


  • 1 cup amaranth, soaked for at least 8 hours

  • 2 cups coconut milk

  • 1 Tablespoon raw honey

  • 2 teaspoons cacao powder

  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out

  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom

  • Pinch of salt

  • To garnish: Raw cacao nibs, raw walnuts, extra honey and dried coconut chips


  1. Soak amaranth in filtered water in the refrigerator overnight, or for at least eight hours.

  2. In a small sauce pan, mix together the soaked amaranth, coconut milk, honey, cacao powder, vanilla, cardamom and salt. Heat over medium-high heat until boiling, making sure to stir frequently to prevent burning.

  3. Once boiling, turn heat to low, cover the pan and allow to simmer for about 15-18 minutes. Turn heat off, leave the lid on the pan and let the porridge thicken for about 10 minutes.

  4. Divide the porridge between two bowls. Top with raw cacao nibs, raw walnuts, extra honey and dried coconut chips. Enjoy!

Riley Webster