14 Diet Guidelines for Living With Bipolar Disorder

Patient Expert
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Do as much of your own food preparation and cooking as you can. Whatever you make at home is bound to be healthier than restaurant food, even if it’s the same dish. It’s amazing how much of the bad stuff you can cut back on when you control what goes into your meals.

Quality matters

Try to cook from scratch using quality ingredients. Most of the stuff you get in cans and boxes is industrialized sugar and salt and fat with a picture of food on the packaging. Cooking from scratch really doesn’t take much longer than nuking so-called convenience food. It just seems that way.


Keep your kitchen well-stocked with quality food. When you reach for something to satisfy a food craving, it’s better to have, say, mixed nuts on hand than Cheetos.


It’s okay to indulge. But we must pay close regard to the “time and place” element of indulging.

Plan ahead

I cannot emphasize how important this is. The last thing you want to do is figure out what you should be eating for dinner when you are starving and everything on hand is in the freezer. Or that you suddenly find yourself ravenous surrounded by nothing but fast food joints.

Establish a routine

You really don’t want to be skipping meals only to find yourself needing to satisfy an insatiable craving a few hours later in front of a donut shop.

Practice mindfulness

When you eat, just eat. It’s amazing how thoughtless we are with regard to what goes into our mouths. Pay attention to each mouthful. If the food is good, the experience will be incredible. If the food is bad, a few key realizations may start happening.

Be mindful - part 2

Practice mindfulness, this time in regard to what you think and say. Our rationalizations tend to be fodder for comedy writers. Making excuses is perfectly natural, but we do need to recognize when this is happening.

Watch your emotions

Be especially mindful when your emotions take over. Depression, mania, anxiety, and stress, together with no end of personal stuff all play hell with our personal relationship to food. Pay attention to what may be feeding that craving for a quart of Ben and Jerry’s.    

Find support

A friend or partner who observes good eating can do wonders for you.

Skip the guilt trips

We all screw up. We stray. We have setbacks. Too often, we give up when this happens. Simple rule: Fall down seven times, get up eight.

Be wary of miracles

Watch out for miracle diets and miracle cures. One magic ingredient won’t change a thing.

Avoid extremes

You may have just read that meat or gluten or carbs are bad for you. Fine. But don’t suddenly start eliminating whole food groups based on one thing you happened to have read on the Internet. An extreme diet may turn out to be the right decision for you, but only after you have done your own extensive research.

Be realistic

Set realistic goals: You may want to throw away your scale. We are talking about establishing good routines and practices that will serve you through a long and healthy life, not losing 50 pounds in 12 weeks.