When I lost a loved one two years to the Alzheimer’s disease, I started to realize just how important it is to manage mental health throughout life. Even if the disease has not personally impacted your life, the sheer fact that 1 in 9 individuals over age 65 has Alzheimer’s might be enough to help motivate you to prioritize your brain health.
Fortunately, there’s one method of accomplishing this which is through food.
Ready to get start? Lucky for you, the foods that are utilized in the MIND diet – nuts, berries, beans, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, fish, olive oil, poultry and wine – are easy to find. Following the plan might even be easier than you think if you were to follow these simple strategies to incorporate the diet’s key foods into your meal preparation:
1. Wash and prepare leafy greens.
If you don’t have much time, buy chopped and pre-washed greens such as spinach, kale, arugula or collard greens. You can use them as a base for your salads or toss them into pasta or soups.
2. Prep a pot of pulses.
Add pulses – beans, peas and lentils – to salads, or let them be the main entree by cooking vegetarian burgers. For example, try mashing black beans with finely diced onions and peppers and mixing in your preferred spices. Then, mold the mixture into patties and season them on a griddle until they are heated through. Add salsa and avocado to the patties for a flavorful, MIND-friendly dinner.
3. Cook a two batches of whole grains.
Try prepping quinoa, farro, wild or brown rice, or steel cut oats in big batches at one time. Full of fiber, whole grains can help create a satisfying meal. You can divvy up the portions by consuming them throughout the week as a side dish, as part of a salad or soup or as a base for grain bowls.
4. Create some snack packs.
Portion walnuts, pistachios, almonds or pumpkin seeds into small snack jars or bags to take on a long car ride or to power you through a long work day. Just a small handful a day will suffice.
5. Bring on the berries.
Add a cup of frozen or fresh berries into smoothie bags so you can quickly and easily grab and blend them for a fast breakfast or snack on the go. Berries could also be pureed into vinaigrettes or sauces and are sweet stir-ins for oatmeal.
6. Drizzle the olive oil.
Trade the butter for olive oil when you prep vegetables and meats. You can also use it as a base for homemade vinaigrettes.
7. Roast, grill or poach chicken or other poultry.
Get creative with poultry without the hard work. Just add a few chicken breasts, garlic and onions to a slow cooker. Throw in your preferred salsa for a little more flavor. When it is ready, shred or chop it and add it to stew, sandwiches, and salads.
Author: Steven Sinclaire