Last week, I posted the delicious part: what to eat for brain health.  When it includes delicious foods like pecans and raspberries, who’s complaining?

The flip side is that while there are just a handful of foods to eat daily on the MIND diet, there are also a few foods to minimize too.  Fortunately, this a relaxed diet: you can enjoy them sometimes, just not always. Keys to success: avoid deprivation, chose high quality treats (and you determine quality), and truly savor the ones you choose.

Foods to Limit on the Mind Diet

  1. Cheese: once a week or less.Chocolate covered fruit
  2. Butter: less than 1 tablespoon per day.
  3. Red meat: less than four servings per week.
  4. Desserts and sweets:  less than four servings per week.
  5. Fried and/or fast food: less than once a week.

What to Eat Instead

Try substituting nuts for cheese.  Nuts add a nice savory kick to salad; if they are toasted, they also have a nice crunch.  Olive oil can add richness to sauces.  Combining olive oil, herbs, and nuts creates delicious pesto-like sauces that can substitute for cheese toppings.

Butter is often the easiest to trade– switch to olive oil.  If you need butter on your toast, blend softened butter and olive oil.  If you refrigerate the mixture, it will be firm enough to spread on different foods.

Red meat is also a relatively easy one to trade.  Try both combining red meat with poultry (such as a half turkey, half beef meatloaf) and shifting your weekly menus to dishes without red meat, like those featuring fish or legumes.  Cuisines from around the world offer lots of options, from a vegetarian Indian curry to a Brazilian feijoada.

Quick tip: the hashtag for #MeatlessMonday can often be a source of inspiration.

Skipping the fast food takes planning.  I know I tend to eat fast food most when traveling, or when my plans for the day go askew.  The simplest option is to have a back-up plan: where can you go instead?  Is there a convenience store that carries some healthier options?  Is there a grocery store with a salad bar or deli?  Packing food on days when you might be kept away later is also an option.  Making your own snack packs in a mini-cooler with options like hardboiled eggs, raw vegetables, sliced fruit, nuts, and perhaps whole grain crackers is affordable and delicious.

Going un-fried: let’s order it baked, broiled, grilled, sautéed, simmered, or stewed.  Pull out the stops on marinades if you miss the flavor, or add a pesto for richness.  Looking for crisp?  Try some celery or run baked items under the broiler to add a touch more crispness.

Desserts and sweets: if you have a sweet tooth, this one can be tough.  Those tips at the top may be helpful– chose your favorites, not the stale doughnuts at work (unless your favorite is the stale doughnut at work). Be selective and then take the time to appreciate those decadent sweets.  On other days, try dressing up fruit.  Sliced nectarines with a little lemon zest or orange slices with cinnamon are more interesting than a whole piece of fruit. Occasionally, even a little melted dark chocolate can add some excitement!

Practice: Place a chocolate chip on your tongue.  Hold it there until it melts.  Write down a description of the flavors and textures you experienced as it melted.

Need some help?

Get in touch— let’s set up a workshop for a group you’re in, or a one-on-one consultation.  Let me know how I can help you meet your goals!

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