As a follow up to my June post, Brain Food: How to Eat Your Way to Great Brain Health, I’m writing today with some easy meal ideas which can help keep your brain extra sharp throughout your entire lifetime. As I mentioned in my original post, the key to great brain health is eliminating inflammatory foods such as: gluten, sugar, dairy, meats, fast and processed foods, fried foods, pastries, alcohol, food additives and preservatives. It can be a little tricky to stay on track when you are working to eliminate inflammatory foods, but with a little pre-planning and creativity in your kitchen, you can still eat an abundance of delicious foods and try out new flavors you’ve never enjoyed before!
Research indicates that some of the best foods for your brain include: apples, blueberries, beets, coconut, grapes, herbs (especially sage and rosemary), leafy greens (kale, turnip greens, Swiss chard and broccoli are the best), mushrooms, most notably Lion’s Mane mushrooms, olives, oranges, spices (in particular ginger, saffron and turmeric), strawberries, omega-3 rich foods, such as walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds. So think of the many ways you can consistently sneak those foods into your current cooking repertoire or create new recipes using those ingredients.
Just a few of the dishes you can easily incorporate into your healthy brain meal plan include:
- Chia Seed Pudding made with Coconut Milk, Turmeric and topped with Berries
- Avocado Toast (on Gluten-Free Bread)
- Baked Sweet Potato topped with Almond Butter, Blueberries, Bananas and Ground Flax Seed or Granola
- Energy Balls
- Spiced Nuts
- Dried Fruit
- Chopped Veggies with Hummus or another plant based dip
- Green Leafy Salads loaded with veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds
- Beet Salad
- Fruit Salad
- Buddha Bowls
- Cauliflower Steaks topped with Herbs and Spices
- Zoodles or Spaghetti Sauce topped with Herb Pesto
- Roasted Broccoli
- Roasted Carrots with Rosemary
- Soups loaded with beans, veggies, herbs and spices
- Salts infused with Rosemary and Sage
- Golden Milk
- Ginger or other Herbal Teas
- Water Infused with Fruits, Sage and Rosemary
- Indian and Thai Food are excellent choices when dining out. Did you know that India has one of the lowest rates of dementia? It is thought that is largely attributed to the abundance of herbs and spices that they eat each day.
- Any recipe that includes mushrooms are great for your brain, but especially the delicious gluten-free, vegan stuffed mushrooms below, which are a huge hit with everyone!
Good for Your Brain Stuffed Mushrooms – Serves 4 people as a side dish
- 1 cup walnuts
- 16 oz baby bella mushrooms, stems removed and chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 shallot, small dice
- 2 cloves garlic, small dice
- 1 handful of spinach or other leafy green
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon miso
- Salt & Pepper, if desired
Clean mushrooms and remove stems. Set the caps aside. Chop the stems and then sauté along with the shallots, garlic, rosemary and sage in the olive oil on medium heat until the shallots are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach, walnuts and nutmeg and cook another minute. Let the mixture cool and then transfer to a food processor, add the miso and process until thoroughly combined and the mixture is the consistency of bread crumbs. Add salt and pepper to suit your taste. Place the caps upside down in a casserole dish and spoon the mixture into the caps. Cook at 350˚F for 30 minutes. Serve with any desired herbs, chopped veggies or seeds as a garnish.
Sarah Eastin is a Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator, a Plant Based Chef, and newly certified Culinary Nutrition Expert who specializes in helping people feel their very best by coaching them to thrive on a healthy vegan/plant-based lifestyle while they create and enjoy tasty foods. In addition to her work with individuals, she helps brands and businesses that have a compassionate and sustainable mission grow, advocates for the equal treatment of all species and works to create a compassionate community. She recently started a Veganizer Chapter and is organizing veganized events at local restaurants in Denver, Colorado!