Last June Flourish with Food introduced the MIND approach, which complements the Mediterranean way of eating. Its foods, associated with slowing the cognitive changes often experienced with older age, have desirable antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties.

Research has continued since the initial findings were published in 2015.  An easy-to-read review of the MIND Diet, its “brain healthy” components and recent research:

Thinking of January’s cold temps, this month highlights soup (again) and whole grain options that go with soup, as an easy way to get in MIND approach foods.  Look up March 2022’s Flourish with Food featuring soup as a strategy for increasing vegetables and guidance for making soup a complete meal. 

The potential benefits of soup: warm and comforting; way to use leftover protein, vegetables, and grains; can be a one-pot meal and a “planned-over” for another day; perfect for slow cookers; many freeze well; and often tastes better the next day.  

Quick Spill-the-Beans Minestrone (MIND ingredients in Bold)

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

32 oz. sodium-reduced chicken or vegetable broth

1 can (15 ½ oz.) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (15 ½ oz.) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (14 ½ oz.) Italian-style stewed tomatoes

2 cups packed chopped fresh kale or spinach (or ½ cup frozen or drained canned)

½ cup uncooked small whole wheat pasta (elbows, orzo, broken spaghetti pieces)

¼ tsp. Italian seasoning

¼ tsp. crushed red pepper

Grated parmesan cheese, optional

Sauté onion and garlic in oil until onion is translucent.  Add the remaining ingredients (except parmesan); bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until pasta is tender. Serve with parmesan if desired.     Source: Canned Food Alliance

White Bean Soup with Tomato and Shrimp: (MIND ingredients: shrimp, olive oil, onions, whole wheat pasta, tomatoes, olives)

Whole Grain Options to Pair with Soups (Whole Grains are MIND ingredients)

Whole Grain Crackers

The availability of crackers made with 100% whole grains is limited.  Easy to find brands: Original Triscuits (wheat), Original Wheat Thins (wheat), Wasa (rye, wheat, oats and/or barley), ak-mak Sesame Cracker (wheat, sesame seeds), Original Mary’s Gone Crackers (brown rice, quinoa).

Toufayan Whole Wheat Pita Rounds

Whole Wheat Tortillas: Spread with hummus or dip in olive oil (MIND ingredients)

Easy Homemade Whole Wheat Pita Chips:

Golden Cornbread (MIND ingredients in Bold)

1 c. whole grain cornmeal*

1 c. white whole wheat flour**

¼ c. sugar (optional)

4 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

1 egg

1 c. milk

¼ c. canola oil

Wisk together dry ingredients in a bowl.  Mix egg, milk, and oil together; add to dry ingredients. Mix just until dry ingredients are wet; don’t overmix. Bake in greased 8-inch square baking pan in preheated 425-degree oven for 20-25 minutes.   Source: modified from old Aunt Jemima Box

*Bob’s Red Mill, Medium Grind, Stoneground Cornmeal

**King Arthur, White Whole Wheat Flour (lighter color and milder flavor than regular whole wheat flour)

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.