Home Health & Wellness Psychologist Prescribes Dose of Dinnertime Nostalgia as Nation’s Mood at Low

Psychologist Prescribes Dose of Dinnertime Nostalgia as Nation’s Mood at Low

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Brits are craving comfort now more than ever, with two-thirds of the nation saying their mood has suffered in the last six months due to negative news, according to new research by recipe box Gousto. 

When feeling low, 62% of Brits turn to nostalgia for comfort, and it’s on our plates where we’re warmed by this sentimentality, with 41% saying they feel most nostalgic about food.

39% of Brits cook their most nostalgic childhood meals when they need cheering up, with Sunday roast (26%), fish and chips (19%), shepherd’s pie (11%), fish fingers (10%) and bangers and mash (10%) the top five meals that bring back the fondest memories for Brits.

Given the tough news of late, it’s no wonder that over a third (36%) admit they’ve been craving their favourite foods from happy times in childhood. However, over half (52%) say they want to learn to cook food that’s both comforting and healthy.

Answering the nation’s craving for comfort, the UK’s best value recipe box company, Gousto, is partnering with food psychologist Dr Christy Fergusson and comedian Katherine Ryan to get the nation’s meal planning around nostalgia to find joy and comfort in cooking nutritious twists on their most loved childhood recipes.

Comedian Katherine Ryan, long-term Gousto ambassador, said: ‘Like everyone, I have strong memories of mealtimes growing up. In our home, having taco Tuesday twice a month was the ultimate treat. I still get excited by the smell of the sizzling fillings and the assembling routine, like I used to with my sisters.

Gousto’s delicious black bean and charred mango version give me all the throwback feels and brings back all the same excitement and happiness when I cook it with my family now. Gousto’s chefs have created these incredible twists on childhood recipes to help home cooks find comfort in nostalgia when we need it most.’

The benefits of meal planning around nostalgia are backed by science. Dr Christy Fergusson explains that being a sensory process with aromas, tastes, and sounds triggering fond memories, the brain undergoes chemical reactions when cooking that can boost our mood. Certain dishes take us back to places, people, routines, and memories of childhood, tapping into powerful feelings of nostalgia.

So, it’s no surprise that 73% say preparing and eating a nostalgic meal positively impacts them.

Supporting the recipe box’s call for meal planning around nostalgia, Dr Christy Fergusson, food psychologist, said: ‘When we cook certain dishes, the smell and taste can help to tap into feelings of comfort and nostalgia, taking us back to a positive experience or memory from the past.’

‘So cooking a version of one of our childhood favourite meals, like the dishes Gousto’s chefs have created, can be a powerful way to connect with positive memories and release our feel-good brain chemical, dopamine. It’s food to boost your mood!’

Gousto has a menu packed full of nutritionally balanced, nostalgia-inducing recipes to cook from scratch with quality, seasonal ingredients to transport Brits back and bring a dash of joy to kitchens around the UK. 

From new and limited-edition recipes like Heinz beans on toast burgers and Indian-spiced chicken nuggets and chips to firm favourites like smoky BBQ fajitas and comforting cottage pies – Gousto’s expert chefs have created delicious twists on top throwback dishes.  

Gousto’s nostalgia-inspired recipes are available to order on the app. Gousto is the UK’s best value recipe box with over 75 weekly recipes from just £3.14 per serving, and with pre-portioned ingredients, there’s no food wasted, meaning no money in the bin.


  • Heinz beans on toast beef burger with crispy potatoes
  • Veggie shepherd’s pie with garlicky greens
  • Homemade fish goujons and cheesy beans
  • Broccoli cheese-loaded baked sweet potatoes
  • Creamy veg-packed potato-topped pie
  • Feel good fish and sweet potato chips with peas
  • Simply perfect beef spag bol

As well as dishes from Gousto’s new ‘oven-free feasts’ collection, an extensive range of recipes that rely on alternative cooking methods such as the slow cooker, microwave, hob and toaster to help home cooks make more energy-efficient choices.

    • Thyme-crusted chicken with crispy garlic potatoes and onion gravy
    • Slow cooker autumn veg ratatouille with rice
    • Pork and refried bean tacos with zesty apple slaw
    • Sweet and smoky BBQ chicken fajitas
    • Chicken tikka masala with basmati rice
    • Butternut squash dal with coconut raita 

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