8 Quick MIND Diet Breakfasts
By Franki Hanke
You have ten minutes to get out the door, how will you eat something at all, let alone something healthy? With these quick, MIND diet breakfasts, you can protect your brain health even when you’re short on time.
What’s the MIND diet?
The MIND diet is a hybrid diet between two nutrition plans: Mediterranean Diet and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (often called DASH Diet). In case you’re curious, MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. This combination focuses on the overlap of foods that support improved cognitive function. Existing research has found these foods result in less cognitive decline and declined risk of Alzheimer’s disease (by supporting brain function).
If you’re concerned about early-onset dementia or Alzheimer’s in your family, read the early warning signs.
However, these foods are not only beneficial for your brain. These foods support and improve cardiovascular health (to reduce risks of heart disease) and can aid in lowering blood pressure too and are generally a great guideline for foods to include in your meal plan for a multitude of health benefits.
What does the MIND diet recommend?
If you want all the details on the MIND diet, read our full article The Brain Food Diet.
To recap briefly, the MIND diet recommends swapping olive oil for other cooking fats like butter/margarine and limiting red meat, fried food, and cheese. Focus on including the recommended servings of these foods instead:
- Green, leafy vegetables (six+ servings weekly)
- Other veggies (one serving daily)
- Berries – especially blueberries and strawberries (two servings weekly)
- Nuts (five servings weekly)
- Whole grains (three servings daily)
- Fatty fish (one+ serving weekly)
- Beans (four servings weekly)
- Poultry (two servings weekly)
- Red wine (optionally one serving daily)
If you’re just starting out with dietary changes, don’t agonize over perfection. Even following the plan “imperfectly” is still associated with reduced risks and improved health.
Quick, MIND Diet Breakfasts
Meals to Prep Ahead
If you can spare time in the evening, prepping your breakfast ahead is much easier than making an entire meal in the morning.
Vanilla Almond Overnight Quinoa
Overnight oats are a standby of the healthy breakfast lore, but for a twist on the standard steel-cut oat, use a quinoa-oat blend! Plus, chia seeds thicken the final product (and add some omega-3 fatty acids). The suggestion to top with crushed almonds is a great way to bring some of the recommended nuts in. Pecans, almonds, and macadamia nuts would all taste great with this.
This recipe doesn’t include your daily serving of vegetables, so be sure to include those later in the day.
Brown Rice Pudding
Somewhere between a dessert and a breakfast, this brown rice variation on rice pudding is a hearty, satisfying breakfast that’s really simple to make and enjoy. It requires some stovetop time the night before, but the morning of you can enjoy it cold or warm up. The morning-time carbs are filling to keep you fueled till lunch.
If you have a little time in the morning, cook some fruit briefly in a frying pan with a drizzle of olive oil and honey for an easy topping that adds sweetness and flavor. Then, add some nuts for crunch and a little extra nutritional kick.
This recipe doesn’t include your daily vegetable, so be sure to include that later in the day.
For a truly quick breakfast, these snack bites couldn’t be faster once you’ve prepped them. They’re spiced with cardamom for flavor and made with a variety of nuts for a protein, energy-rich snack you can use throughout the day too.
This recipe doesn’t include your daily serving of veggies or whole grain, so be sure to include those in the rest of the day or pair these bites with another item during breakfast.
Roasted Red Pepper Frittata
If you like a hot meal in the morning but are short on time this frittata is the perfect solution. You can make it the night before and eat it a few times before it will spoil, heating up a portion in the microwave each day! If you’re not familiar, a frittata is a bit like a quiche, an omelet fusion that has more structure than an omelet but less of the creamy, custardy texture of a quiche. It’s a popular brunch dish that’s easy to reheat on a weekday!
This recipe combines red bell peppers with feta and spinach, but you can customize the combinations with the base recipe. Any green leafy vegetable tends to go wonderful in this egg bake.
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Meals to Make Day-Of
If your evenings are as busy as your morning, don’t worry. You can still eat well with a limited window of time.
If you do have some time the night before, proportioning ingredients can save you some extra minutes in the morning, especially for smoothies.
Hidden Bean Smoothies
If looking at the MIND diet’s inclusion of beans had you sweating, don’t worry! Beans (or legumes) are an easy inclusion for a smoothie that adds a creamy texture and extra nutritional density.
Strawberry Bean Smoothie
From certified nutritionist Alena, this smoothie combines your usual frozen fruit with white beans for a thick, creamy breakfast you can easily blend up. It includes strawberries and blueberries, our two favorite berries for their antioxidants, white beans (like cannellini), and frozen cauliflower. Following the recipe as written (which makes two portions), you’ll get about one serving of berries, one serving of veggies, and one serving of beans.
Depending on preferences, this recipe might need extra sweetness. Add some maple syrup or honey.
Chocolate Black Bean Smoothie
If you’d rather start your day with a treat, try Katie Trant’s chocolatey option using black beans. Much like our other smoothie, it includes frozen cauliflower for extra vegetables. If want to add extra nutrition, you could add some fresh berries like raspberries or strawberries on top of this smoothie (or blended in) for a chocolate-dipped berry kind of vibe.
If you’d rather go for a chocolate-peanut butter flavor profile, try this chickpea-based smoothie.
These recipes don’t include any whole grains from your daily three servings, if you have time, serve it as a smoothie bowl and top it with some grains to get a serving in or include these in your later meals.
Meyer Lemon Avocado Toast
While you’ll need to source a good loaf of bread ahead of time, the assembly of this avocado toast takes mere minutes! It has whole wheat bread as the base, and if you’d like to include leafy greens, add some arugula tossed in lemon zest and extra virgin olive oil.
If your day often stretches out, including carbohydrates and healthy fats* in your breakfast can carry you to lunch more effectively than lighter breakfasts.
*Healthy fats isn’t a great term as food shouldn’t have moral judgment, but it’s commonly used to refer to unsaturated fats which are associated with lower cholesterol than highly saturated fats.
For a quick parfait, build your parfait with pre-purchased components so you can just quickly serve and eat. The honey Greek yogurt by The Greek Gods is my favorite with an ultra-rich texture. Top with whole-grain granola, preserves, fresh fruit, and nuts in any combination you like.
If you want more MIND diet recipes, we’ve curated more breakfast recipes and a full week-long menu. If you want more nutritional invention, consider consulting a registered dietitian near you for personalized support. If you’re following the MIND diet for its brain-healthy properties because of specific family history, please consult with your primary care physician about these concerns too.
Remember, healthy eating isn’t about perfection or restriction. Embrace the changes that come easily and develop habits that serve your body and mind alike. The healthiest version of you will balance nutrition, enjoyment, and access when it comes to healthy foods.
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