When five Harvard Medical studies declare the Mediterranean diet the best choice for weight loss, you know they’re onto something. And even if you aren’t looking to shed some pounds, this way of eating can also be beneficial for heart, eye, and brain function — and it’s said to help you live longer! So, consider us sold.
This post contains affiliate links. For more information please read my disclaimer for more information.
The best part about the Mediterranean diet is that it’s much easier to transition into from your current diet compared to other diets. Eating a diet heavy in low-starch vegetables, fruits, grains, olive oil, and beans and low in meat, dairy, and eggs sounds totally doable right? This diet is one of the easiest, healthiest and least restrictive diets out there. It’s simple to maintain over the course of your lifetime. It’s really more of a ‘lifestyle’ than a diet. That’s why it’s one of my personal favorites.
Plus, red wine is allowed, so come on. (in moderation)
People who follow the Mediterranean diet have a longer life expectancy and lower rates of chronic diseases than do other adults. Indeed, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans point to the Mediterranean diet as an example of a healthy-eating plan.
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. It replaces butter with healthy fats, such as olive oil and canola oil, and uses herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods.
Red meat is limited to no more than a few times a month, while fish should be on the menu twice a week.
It’s practical and healthy because you want to avoid these foods which you should be avoiding anyway!
- Added sugar: Soda, candies, ice cream, table sugar and many others.
- Refined grains: White bread, pasta made with refined wheat, etc.
- Trans fats: Found in margarine and various processed foods.
- Refined oils: Soybean oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil and others.
- Processed meat: Processed sausages, hot dogs, etc.
- Highly processed foods: Anything labeled “low-fat” or “diet” or which looks like it was made in a factory.
Follow this meal plan ideas below and feel free to create unique combinations by mixing and matching categories.
There’s also some great recipes to follow below from the Mayo Clinic!
Steel-cut oats (whole grain and protein) with berries (fruit) and walnuts, almonds and sunflower seeds (healthy fat).
Greek yogurt (protein) with almonds or other nuts (healthy fat) and strawberries (fruit) with a side of whole wheat toast (whole grain).
Eggs (protein) with spinach, mushrooms, onions, chickpeas and tomatoes (veggies) and brown rice (whole grain).
Fish (protein) with steamed broccoli (veggies) and wild rice (whole grain) or Tabouleh, drizzled with olive oil (healthy fat).
Lentil veggie soup (protein and veggies) with a side salad of arugula, quinoa, and veggies (whole grain and veggies) tossed with olive oil and vinegar (healthy fat).
Burrito bowl of black beans (protein and healthy fat), sweet potato, cabbage, carrots (veggies), and avocado (healthy fat) with pumpkin seeds (healthy fat) and brown rice (whole grain).
- Veggies or fruit
- Small amount of cheese (two to three times a week; not daily)
- Green tea
- Dark chocolate (in moderation)
As far as wine goes, you can enjoy a glass of vino but not every day. As with everything, moderation is key.
The Mediterranean diet is also about enjoying delicious foods and not being restrictive — as you’ll discover when you try these recipes.
- Barley and roasted tomato risotto
- Grouper with tomato-olive sauce
- Mediterranean-style grilled salmon
- Pasta with spinach, garbanzos and raisins
- Polenta with roasted Mediterranean vegetables
- Tuscan white bean stew
- Vegetable and garlic calzone
Salads and sides
- Artichokes alla Romana
- Bean salad with balsamic vinaigrette
- Beet walnut salad
- Braised kale with cherry tomatoes
- Fresh tomato crostini
- Roasted red pepper with feta salad
Start your healthy, food blog today!