Take some long, dark nights. Throw in some hefty post-Christmas bills. Add a big helping of bad weather and you’ve got the recipe for the most depressing day of the year... allegedly. Yes, it's Blue Monday 2020 which falls on January 20.

We could all do with a bit of a pick-me-up at the sharp end of January, whether you believe the Blue Monday 2020 hype or not. And there aren't many better things to beat the blues than food.

We’re not talking about sitting on the sofa and gorging yourself on crisps, fizzy pop and sweets: although if that works for you, go off! No, we’re talking about some restorative, relatively healthy food to give your well-being a boost...

Omega 3 acids

Found in abundance in oily fish, Omega 3 has been linked to improved brain function. Get your fix of it with a salmon teriyaki, or some grilled mackerel fillets from your local fishmonger with a squeeze of lime. Walnuts also contain Omega 3 if fish isn’t your thing. Try baking them into a cake, or sprinkle over a salad.

B vitamins

Vitamin B6 is said to aid the production of serotonin – that all-important 'happy' chemical released by your brain. Grains like bulgur wheat, brown rice, quinoa are all thought to help with this. So skip the potatoes and use these for your side dish for your Blue Monday meal. Alternatively, add herbs, vegetables or whatever else you’ve got knocking about and construct a healthy and robust salad bowl from your favourite whole grain.


These are a great way of maintaining a good relationship between your stomach and your brain. Bio yoghurts are an obvious way of getting your fix probiotics fix. You could add a dollop to some granola for your breakfast, enjoy for desert, or stir into a curry. Some other probiotic foods include miso paste (found in ramen, above), kimchi (fermented Korean cabbage) and some pickled vegetables.

Folic acid

Folic acid is associated with healthy pregnancies, but there have been a number of studies linking it to your mood. So, to get a fix of folic try spinach, avocado, or chickpeas to boost your intake. Broccoli is also a good source of folic acid, so reach for a bolstering side order for a mood-booster.

Vitamin D

AKA 'the one that you get from sunlight'. This, as we know all too well, is in short supply this time of year. The good news is that Vitamin D is found in cheese, so you’ve got carte blanche to raid the dairy aisle. Vitamin D also found in egg yolks, so get busy with the Spanish omelette. Meanwhile, the plant-based crew could get their additional vitamin D fix from fortified breakfast cereal or orange juice.

What are your favourite foodie pick-me-ups? Show us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

It might be Blue Monday now, but lighter days are just around the corner – keep an eye out on our festival calendar for some serious Street Food to look forward to in 2020

Bare Grills: The do’s and don’ts of camping food...

Bare Grills: The do’s and don’ts of camping food...

Given the right mix of location, company and climate, camping is a truly unbeatable activity. And what better way to take your camping flex to the next level than with some world-class food? To get the score we got on the blower to Josh Sutton, aka the Guyrope Gourmet, a Yorkshireman who’s dedicated his life to quality cooking outdoors. “I had a revelation at a farm shop at a campsite – when you’re camping you have a fresh supply of great food,” explains Josh. “When you’re camping, you needn’t be eating processed tinned food: there’s no reason why you can’t cook really decent food.”

So, here’s the Guyrope Gourmet’s top tips for easy, delicious eating on a camping holiday.

Pack a decent kit

“It makes the job much easier,” says Josh. “It doesn’t need to be specialist. You need a knife, chopping board and a stove, preferably with two burners. If you’ve got a grill that means you can have toast – that’s invaluable. Just pack the stuff you’d have at home.

Having a ready-to-go selection of spices and seasonings can be a boon too. “I’ve got an old ammunition box which has got herbs and spices: thyme, basil, herb de Provence, paprika,” reveals the Guyrope Gourmet.

Take a meal with you

Save the palaver of fumbling around in the dark when you arrive by doing the hard work in advance. “We’ll normally drive for three or four hours, arriving late. If you’ve got something like spag bol or a good rich soup you can have it when you arrive, then have a bottle of wine and watch the stars,” says Josh.

Eat fresh

Campsites are usually located near some can’t-get-fresher meat and fish. But don’t leave it hanging around. “The issue is storage: you’ve got to eat it on the day! A coolbox isn’t up to the job,” says Josh. “Ambient food is good: chorizo, sausegnone, salami: it’s good because it’ll keep without a fridge.”

Be careful with fire

Most campsites don’t let you have fires – but some will allow it, and have fire pits. “There’s nothing better for a fire than having a good old natter round,” says Josh. “I use a washing machine drum for a pit. When they flames have died down you can barbecue off it – but don’t try it until the flames have died away!”

Never bring your barbeque into the tent

Even when extinguished barbeques can kick out a bit of heat – but don’t bring it into your tent for you to warm up, even if you think the flames are out. The results could be fatal. “They release carbon monoxide, and there’ve been fatalities from people bringing their tent in to get a bit of heat. Even if you think it’s out, don’t,” warns Sutton.

Split the washing up

We know the feeling: darkness has fallen, you’re a couple of tumblers of vino rosso deep and the stars are looking delightful. The last thing you want to do it face a mountain of washing up. So, rope in your pals to get stuck in too. “If you get two or three of you to do it together it’s a lot easier, and you can make it part of the experience,” advises Josh.

Take a look around

Wherever you pitch up, find out what’s the regional delicacy and seek it out. “In Aberaeron there’s a lovely campsite and a superb fishmongers. The Yorkshire Dales is great for lamb. Norfolk has cromer crab, and in Scotland there’s lobster. Find out what the local specialty is,” reckons Josh.


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