Protein and Produce after 2 p.m. : the MIND Diet and Easy Dinner Menus

Protein and produce after 2 p.m. ™ – that’s what my husband requested as his dinner and snack menu for the foreseeable future.

Another way to describe this meal plan is no simple carbs, no sugar, or white flour; but his description puts the plan in a positive light, right?  It is possible to be happy eating only protein and produce after 2 p.m. It just takes some planning.

A Creative Challenge

We both gained weight after this dismal winter/spring that seems to have plagued us for the past six months. The gray and cold brought bad habits to the surface: no motivation to exercise, TV binges, too much comfort food.

For me, cutting out sugar and increasing exercise help a lot, but what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another.  I think that is why losing weight is so tricky.

Since my husband’s plan also cuts out sugar, I was on board with it.

How do you manage these constraints and still feel satisfied?  I wanted to follow the MIND diet guidelines for longevity.  Time to get creative.

MIND diet guidelines work well for Protein and Produce after 2 p.m.

A Week on the Protein and Produce After 2 p.m. Plan

The menus below kept us on track.  We continued to follow our exercise plan (link here) and tried to limit our carbs in the morning, too.  This plan does not limit eggs and we incorporated more cheese than the MIND guidelines.  We can work on those improvements later!

Dinner 1

Grilled chicken breasts

Mixed green salad with balsamic dressing, blueberries, walnuts, and red onion

deviled eggs

cooked broccoli

Dinner 2

Grilled lower-fat fresh (turkey or chicken) sausage

Grilled onion (how-to here)


Mixed green salad with balsamic dressing, blueberries, walnuts, and red onion

Raw veggie plate: carrots, celery, broccoli, peppers

Dinner 3

Grilled lean steak

Mixed green salad with balsamic dressing, strawberries, sliced almonds,  and red onion

cooked sugar snap peas (how-to here)

sliced avocado drizzled with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper

Dinner 4

Shrimp cocktail

Ham, cheddar, spinach and onion omelette

asparagus and rice (how-to here)

Mixed green salad with balsamic dressing, strawberries, sliced almonds, and red onion

Dinner 5

Lamb meatballs (recipe link here) with yogurt sauce*

* MIND diet: substitute lean ground chicken or turkey

Mixed green salad with balsamic dressing, tomato, cucumber, and red onion

cooked peas

hummus and raw veggie plate: carrots, celery, broccoli, peppers

Dinner 6

Chicken Caprese (recipe link here), omit cheese in recipe.

Mixed green salad with balsamic dressing, strawberries, sliced almonds, and red onion

asparagus and rice (how-to here)

sliced avocado drizzled with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper

Dinner 7

Fresh grilled fish (any kind) drizzled with balsamic reduction (a thicker balsamic vinegar)

crustless quiche with turkey bacon, diced tomato, spinach, and scallions

Mixed green salad with oil and wine vinegar dressing, blackberries, pecans, and red onion

cooked broccolini

Crustless Quiche (Frittata)

An easy way to incorporate protein into a light dinner.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: crustless quiche, egg casserole, fritata, omlette, quiche
Servings: 3 people
Calories: 282kcal
Author: A. JoAnn


  • 5 eggs
  • ¼ cup milk or substitute
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tsp mustard, brown
  • 2 tbsp bacon, diced and cooked
  • ¼ cup tomato, diced
  • 2-3 scallions, sliced
  • ½ cup spinach, finely sliced (chiffonade)
  • 2 tbsp canola oil, separated


  • Preheat broiler.
  • Use a cast iron skillet or another skillet that can be placed under the broiler.
  • Coat skillet with 1 tbsp. oil and heat on stovetop  medium-low about 3-5 minutes.
  • saute bacon and scallions briefly. Add in spinach and tomato. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  • Use a paper towel to clean out skillet and add the remaining tbsp. oil. Heat again over medium-low.
  • Beat together eggs, milk, salt & pepper, and mustard.  Add to skillet.
  • Continue cooking quiche until bottom and edges of quiche turn golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.
  • Using a potholder or glove, remove skillet from stove top and place under broiler. Cook an additional 5-7 minutes until top has browned.
  • Cool and set a minute or two, then slice and serve. May be refrigerated and brought to room temperature to serve later.

It’s a Formula

We did quite well, believe it or not.  As you look over the week’s menu, here are some notables:

  • Stick with lean meats, and use chicken and turkey when possible (MIND guidelines). Our market carries excellent lean fresh sausage, but if yours does not, try substituting grilled turkey breast, or make meatballs from lean ground turkey.
  • Eat salad made with romaine, high-nutrient greens (chard, spinach, kale, beet greens) everyday. Don’t limit your salad portions – fill up on it!  However, only use dressing made with olive oil and vinegar, no added sugars.
  • Include healthy fats with dinner, you’ll be hungry otherwise.  The healthy fats I’ve included are olive oil, fresh avocados, and nuts.
  • Make extra.  It’s better to eat more good food than to eat something junky because you’re hungry.  Leftovers also make great lunches.
  • Keep hummus, fresh-cut and washed fruits and veggies, nut and seeds, and milk or milk substitutes on hand for snacking.
  • Eat until you are almost full, then stop.
  • Support each other. If you cheat or snack excessively, you are only encouraging your partner to do the same.

Let us know what you think, your personal spin, substitutes, and other approaches that work for you.  Healthy eating is a team sport!

Protein and Produce after 2 p.m.™ is a trademark of All rights reserved.

This post is not intended to offer medical advice. Check with your doctor before beginning any diet or exercise plan.

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Author: A. JoAnn

Here is where I share the beauty I find in everyday life; and the humor, too!