A substantial proportion of noncommunicable disease originates in habitual overconsumption of calories, which can lead to weight gain and obesity and attendant comorbidities. At the other end of the spectrum, the consequences of undernutrition in early life and at different stages of adult life can also have major impact on wellbeing and quality of life. To help address some of these issues, greater understanding is required of interactions with food and contemporary diets throughout the life course and at a number of different levels: physiological, metabolic, psychological, and emotional. Here we review the current literature on the effects of dietary manipulation on anxiety-like behaviour. This evidence, assembled from study of preclinical models of diet challenge from gestation to adult life, supports a role for diet in the important connections between psychology, physiology, and behaviour. Analogous processes in the human population in our current obesogenic environment are likely to contribute to individual and societal challenges in this area.