We all know that a little time in the kitchen with the right ingredients can result in some absolutely delicious results, but did you also know that baking can provide numerous mental health benefits too?
With no clear end in sight to the current UK lockdown, we’re all having to get creative with how we entertain and educate ourselves, but also how we socialise and care for our sanity.
Whether you’re stuck inside alone or with your family it might be time to crack out the baking tins and cook up a storm to nourish your body and mind.
In this article, we’ll look at 5 benefits of baking, our favourite recipes and why you should get the whole family involved, even if they don’t live with you.
Research  shows that baking can help to regulate brain activity in the same way as mindful meditation by engaging the part of the brain that is involved in self-regulation and strategic thinking.
This makes baking the perfect activity to reduce stress, fear and anxiety, which is crucial for keeping you grounded at times like these.
So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the current situation, then try baking your favourite treat for a much-needed dose of calm and relaxation.
We recommend: Chocolate and Peanut Butter Protein Cookies
With so much out of our control at the moment, it’s only natural to be looking for ways you can regain some it.
Baking is one such way of doing it as it requires you to use exact ingredients and follow a precise set of steps. Working through a recipe methodically gives you the means to regain control as you take your pile of ingredients and turn them into a finished product you can enjoy and share.
We recommend: High-Protein Vegan Cookie Dough
It’s not unusual for you to be feeling unfocused or distracted right now, especially, with so much uncertainty about the future. This means it can be difficult to engage fully on tasks like work when there is no clear end in sight.
Taking time out to do some baking can help you settle and re-find your focus, as baking requires you to be mindful of what you’re doing and also provides a real, tangible outcome you can focus on.
We recommend: Vegan Double Chocolate & Hazelnut Protein Fudge
Not only does research  show that certain foods increase our ‘pleasure’ neurotransmitters like dopamine, which creates a real tangible feeling of happiness but the satisfaction of completing a task and reaping the benefits of doing so is also immensely pleasurable.
Next time you need a little pick-me-up then head to the kitchen and make your baked good of choice.
We recommend: Banoffee Pie Loaded Protein Pancakes
#5: Social Interaction
Baking is inherently social, with the spoils of your labour being shared or given way to family, friends and neighbours. This makes it a fantastic activity to do with your family and can provide some valuable time together away from the distractions of TVs, phones and laptops.
Even if you’re not physically with your family or friends you can organise a virtual baking session and get together online to chat and bake. You could take turns choosing what to make, do it with a glass of wine or a cup of tea and have a good catch up.
We recommend: Chocolate Protein Brownies
With all these benefits it’s no wonder you hear people saying that baking nourishes the mind and the body.
So, whether you need a little pick me up, want to spend some quality time with those important to you or just want something to distract you for a little while, baking has the answer.