Step 1: Clean Out and Organize
Prep your kitchen with nutrient dense whole foods that support your brain health. Bye-bye Halloween candy. Remove processed foods that no longer align with your goals. Choose minimally foods instead. Organize your pantry, fridge and freezer to make it easier to find ingredients and reduce food waste. Consider using clear, airtight containers for storing grains, nuts, and seeds, and label them for easy identification.
Step 2: Stock Up on Fresh Produce and Frozen Veggies
Fresh vegetables and fruit are the cornerstone of a nutrient-rich lifestyle. Have a variety of colorful produce to get a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Aim for seasonal and locally sourced options whenever possible. Keep a bowl of fresh fruits on the counter and pre-washed and cut vegetables in the refrigerator for quick snacks and meal preparation. Increase nutrient density of soups, stews, grain dishes, mashed potatoes with frozen greens and frozen other veggies.
Step 3: Include Healthy Fats and Protein Sources
Healthy fats and proteins are vital for a nutrient-rich diet. Opt for sources such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and extra virgin olive oil to incorporate healthy fats into your meals. These fats support brain health, hormone production, and enhance nutrient absorption.
For protein, consider including quality-sourced meats, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, tempeh, and Greek yogurt. They provide essential amino acids necessary for muscle repair, growth, and brain function and overall health.
Step 4: Embrace Legumes and Whole Grains
Whole grains and legumes provide essential nutrients, fiber, and sustained energy. Stock your pantry with a variety of legumes like lentils, chickpeas, and black beans. They are versatile ingredients that can be used in soups, stews, curries, salad and even as a base for plant-based patties. Swap refined grains like white rice and pasta for nutrient-dense options such as buckwheat, quinoa, brown rice, and whole wheat pasta. I make a weekly hummus or dips/spreads to have on hand
- easy lunch: wraps, salads or protein toast
- snacks: celery, bell peppers, rice cakes, seed crackers, pretzels
Step 5: Incorporate Anti-Inflammatory Spices
In addition to boosting flavor, anti-inflammatory spices offer a range of potential benefits for brain function and reduce risk of cognitive decline; they help
- improve memory and attention
- enhance blood flow to the brain, these spices may support optimal brain
- reduce neuroinflammation and protect brain cells
You can add spices to almost anything: breakfast bowls, soups, dips and spreads, grains, salad dressings.
Step 6: Keep Holiday Goodies out of Sight
Baking up a storm of Austrian Christmas cookies is a connection with my mother whom I miss so much though she’s been gone 30 years. If there is a platter of delicious cookies on the counter, I will eat a one or two or three or four every time I go by. So, I learned to put them in tins and out of sight.