The Mediterranean style of eating is a healthy option for many people. It’s perfect for people at risk of heart disease and it can’t hurt if you want to lose weight and reach your health goals. This diet involves eating lots of different foods, so you aren’t going to feel deprived. This isn’t a diet in the sense that it’s created for weight loss, but instead is a style of eating that is recommended by many doctors as a healthy lifestyle choice. Check out these foods involved in the Mediterranean style of eating and I think you’ll be ready to make some healthy choices.
1. Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables make up the bulk of the Mediterranean diet. In general, you can mix and match any of your favorites to fill your tummy and boost your nutrient intake at the same time. The basis of the Mediterranean style of eating is to center most meals on plant foods, which includes fruits and vegetables. Go ahead and choose the ones you like best because trying to choke down those you hate isn’t going to lead to success.
I know I just talked about vegetables, but I think Mediterranean salads deserve a mention all their own. They're loaded with veggies that include olives, greens and tomatoes, but you can also find plenty of beans, cheese and healthy oil and vinegar style dressings. In fact, a huge salad is something I absolutely love for dinner. Salami is another great ingredient to toss in. Mix and match your favorites and you'll always have a delicious meal to look forward to.
3. Olive Oil
Because the Mediterranean diet advocates plant foods, olive oil is the go-to choice for cooking. It can be used to sauté vegetables, make marinades for meat or to create homemade salad dressings. You can even use light olive oil for baking without dramatically changing the flavor. The Mediterranean diet recommends skipping butter, margarine and other solid fats because they are high in saturated fat, whereas olive oil is rich in heart healthy fats that can reduce the risk of heart disease.
Fish is one of the hallmark foods for the Mediterranean style of eating, but others types of seafood are also ideal. This is because this area of the world is on the sea, so access to ocean meals is a part of life. It turns out that many types of seafood can help boost heart health due to omega-3 fatty acid content. You can eat seafood and fish twice per week, but stay away from red meat while you’re on the meal plan. Salmon, tuna, halibut, mackerel and sardines are great choices.
Though it’s recommended to avoid red meat on the Mediterranean diet, chicken is advocated as an alternative to seafood. Eat it in moderate portions each week along with the other foods on the meal plan. Chicken is a great source of lean protein and iron, which makes it a great choice for your healthy eating goals. Chicken eggs are ideal as well.
Again, they’re a plant food, so beans have a prime place in the Mediterranean diet. Use them in place of meat in soup, stew, burgers or tacos. You can also mash beans for dips and spreads. Beans are cheap, which makes them a great choice for a tight budget. They’re also easy to cook and pair well with lots and lots of ingredients. Try out different kinds of beans to find the ones you love best.
7. Dairy Foods
Though dairy foods aren’t eaten in large quantities on the Mediterranean diet, small amounts of yogurt and cheese are recommended. You can have one serving daily, but as little as one serving per week is also fine. Dairy is the best source of calcium, which is essential for strong bones and teeth.
Do you stick to the Mediterranean diet? Do you think you could eat these foods all the time? Your health can only benefit, so give it a try and let me know how it goes!