The  MIND diet centers on 10 “brain healthy” foods: berries, green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, beans, nuts, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine.  This month Flourish with Food shares 2 quick-scratch, protein-centered lunch salads that include MIND approach ingredients.

Quick scratch (or speed scratch) is a culinary buzz term describing the use of a convenience food along with a few fresh ingredients.

These recipes use nonperishable proteins for making a grab & go lunch item easy to toss together the evening before.  Nutrition pearl: Protein in a meal helps one feel full longer.

Healthier Mediterranean Tuna Salad

2 (5 oz) cans chunk light tuna, in water, drained

¼ c. finely chopped red onion

¼ c chopped fresh parsley

3 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

½ tsp. lemon zest

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. black pepper

Combine tuna, onion, and parsley in a medium bowl.  Whisk remaining ingredients to make the dressing; toss with the tuna mixture. 


Alternative ingredients: Arugula; green onion; dried lemon zest (with herbs and spices in the market); bottled lemon juice; canned salmon.

Cooks’ Note: This dressing doesn’t bind ingredients together as well as mayonnaise. Consider putting in a pita pocket along with lettuce, wrap in a whole wheat tortilla or eat with a spoon along with whole wheat crackers (Wheat Thins, Triscuits, Wasa).

Greek-Style Edamame Salad

8 c. water

1-1/2 c. frozen shelled edamame

1-1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

1-1/2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

2 tsp. minced fresh oregano or 3/4 tsp. dried

¼ tsp. salt

1 c. chopped English cucumber

2 Tbsp. sliced pitted kalamata olives

2 Tbsp. crumbled feta cheese

Add edamame to boiling water.  Cook for 3 minutes or until tender; drain. Combine oil, vinegar, oregano, and salt in a medium bowl.  Stir in edamame and cucumber. Sprinkle with olives and feta cheese.

Source: Cooking Light Magazine, 2014

Nutrition note: Edamame beans are  immature soft soybeans harvested before they harden. Soybeans are one of the few plant-based sources of “complete” protein, along with quinoa. Complete protein foods contain all 9 essential amino acids the body cannot make on its own. Otherwise, animal foods - meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy foods - provide complete protein.

About Mary Lynne Hixson, MA, RD:

Mary Lynne, a registered dietitian, helps others enhance their health through the advocacy of nutrient-rich food choices and safe food-handling practices. Her expertise also includes counseling patients who have Type 2 diabetes and advising those who are in medically managed weight loss programs. After her 35+ year career, she retired and became involved with the launch of Harvest of Hope Pantry in 2012 as a Board of Directors member. Mary Lynne is a weekly volunteer with Cultivate’s Carry-Out Caravan program, shopping and delivering groceries to seniors in the Boulder area, and also a frequent volunteer with Harvest of Hope.