Neuropsychiatric disorders are major causes of the global burden of diseases, frequently co-occurring with multiple co-morbidities, especially obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and its various risk factors in the metabolic syndrome. While the determining factors of neuropsychiatric disorders are complex, recent studies have shown that there is a strong link between diet, metabolic state and neuropsychiatric disorders, including anxiety and depression. There is no doubt that rodent models are of great value for preclinical research. Therefore, this article focuses on a rodent model of chronic consumption of high-fat diet (HFD), and/or the addition of a certain amount of cholesterol or sugar, meanwhile, summarising the pattern of diet that induces anxiety/depressive-like behaviour and the underlying mechanism. We highlight how dietary and metabolic risk influence neuropsychiatric behaviour in animals. Changes in dietary patterns, especially HFD, can induce anxiety- or depression-like behaviours, which may vary by diet exposure period, sex, age, species and genetic background of the animals used. Furthermore, dietary patterns significantly aggravate anxiety/depression-like behaviour in animal models of neuropsychiatric disorders. The mechanisms by which diet induces anxiety/depressive-like behaviour may involve neuroinflammation, neurotransmitters/neuromodulators, neurotrophins and the gut–brain axis. Future research should be focused on elucidating the mechanism and identifying the contribution of diet and diet-induced metabolic risk to neuropsychiatric disorders, which can form the basis for future clinical dietary intervention strategies for neuropsychiatric disorders.