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Brain-Healthy Alternatives for the Holidays

Posted by on Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

The holiday season is now in full swing. Gatherings with friends and family at this time of year often involve foods and habits that that aren’t so healthy. It can be a challenge to stay on track with brain-healthy lifestyle choices like  getting a healthy amount of sleep or eating better.  We have some ideas for helping you stay on track with your brain-healthy diet, while still enjoying the flavors you love.


Prevent Alzheimer's by Preparing Healthier Traditional Holiday Foods

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This time of year, it can feel like we naturally just crave more fat and sugar in our diets, but we’re learning how damaging this can be to our brains as well as the rest of our bodies.  Whether you’re trying to prevent Alzheimer’s yourself or preparing meals for someone who is interested in prevention or already suffering symptoms of the disease, these ideas can help you make healthier versions of the foods you associate with the season.


Loaded with both fat and sugar, cookies are the hallmark food of the holiday season. Most families have recipes for these confections that have been passed down from generation to generation. This generation is a great one to make changes to traditional recipes to make them healthier.

Look for ways to substitute the unhealthier components of your confections. You can substitute butter with heart and brain healthier vegetable oils or coconut oil. Substitute white refined sugar with natural, lower glycemic sweeteners such as stevia, maple syrup, agave nectar, and brown rice syrup.

Make Nutritious Cookies to Prevent Alzheimer's

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Here is a recipe for making gingerbread cookies using maple syrup and black strap molasses as the sweeteners and coconut oil as the fat:




People seem to either love or hate eggnog, but regardless of how much you like it, there is no denying it is absolutely packed with sugar and unhealthy fats. If you fall into the camp of eggnog lovers, there are ways to find and make healthier versions. We found a great vegan eggnog recipe made with almond milk, coconut milk, maple syrup, and one unexpected ingredient: avocado.

Make Your Eggnog Brain-Healthy to Prevent Alzheimer's

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Hot drinks are also popular this time of year, and we’ve come across a creative drink worth trying, Spiced Almond Milk, which contains yet another special ingredient: tahini.


Many people choose to serve roast beef at their family holiday gatherings. Unfortunately, there’s just no way around it: eating a lot of red meat just isn’t brain healthy. However, if you truly are reserving such foods for special occasions, this is the time of year to prepare it. There is a recipe for roast beef that takes a little bit of planning, but is well worth the extra prep time.

If you’re looking for a brain-healthy alternative to roast beef, consider establishing a new holiday tradition and serving salmon. For most people, salmon is a special treat, and it’s hard to believe anyone wouldn’t be thrilled to have a lovely wild-caught salmon on the holiday dinner table.

Prevent Alzheimer's by Eating Salmon for the Holidays

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Many of the foods we eat during the holidays are grounded in tradition and make us feel nostalgic. We love these foods and probably don’t want to give them up, but we hope this will help you see that making brain-healthy meals for the holidays doesn’t have to mean missing out on the foods you love, it just means you have to make a few simple changes.



For more easy to follow nutrition advice check out The Alzheimer’s Diet: A Step-by-Step Nutritional Approach to Memory Loss Prevention and Treatment, or visit to learn more about Neurologist, Dr. Richard Isaacson's 9 week diet plan and his cutting edge approach in the fight against AD in Alzheimer's Treatment | Alzheimer's Prevention: A Patient and Family Guide 2012 Edition. Also, sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates in AD treatment and prevention news.

One Response to “Brain-Healthy Alternatives for the Holidays”

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