MEDITERRANEAN DIET

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There is no one “right” way to do this diet. There are many countries around the Mediterranean sea and they didn’t all eat the same things.

 

The Basics

Eat: Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, breads, herbs, spices, fish, seafood and extra virgin olive oil.

Eat in Moderation: Poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt.

Eat Only Rarely: Red meat.

Don’t Eat: Sugar-sweetened beverages, added sugars, processed meat, refined grains, refined oils and other highly processed foods.

You should base your diet on these healthy, unprocessed Mediterranean foods.

  • Vegetables: Tomatoes, broccoli, kale, spinach, onions, cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, etc.
  • Fruits: Apples, bananas, oranges, pears, strawberries, grapes, dates, figs, melons, peaches, etc.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, walnuts, Macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and more.
  • Legumes: Beans, peas, lentils, pulses, peanuts, chickpeas, etc.
  • Tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, yams, etc.
  • Whole Grains: Whole oats, brown rice, rye, barley, corn, buckwheat, whole wheat, whole grain bread and pasta.
  • Fish and Seafood: Salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, mackerel, shrimp, oysters, clams, crab, mussels, etc.
  • Poultry: Chicken, duck, turkey and more.
  • Eggs: Chicken, quail and duck eggs.
  • Dairy: Cheese, yogurt, Greek yogurt, etc.
  • Herbs and Spices: Garlic, basil, mint, rosemary, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, etc.
  • Healthy Fats: Extra virgin olive oil, olives, avocados and avocado oil.

The diet prescribed in the studies is high in plant foods, and relatively low in animal foods.

However, eating fish and seafood is recommended at least twice a week.

The Mediterranean lifestyle also involves regular physical activity, sharing meals with other people and enjoying life.

Water should be your go-to beverage on a Mediterranean diet.

This diet also includes moderate amounts of red wine, around 1 glass per day.

However, this is completely optional and wine should be avoided by anyone who has alcoholism or problems controlling their consumption.

Coffee and tea are also completely acceptable, but avoid sugar-sweetened beverages and fruit juices, which are very high in sugar.

Quick Links

Keep a Well-Stocked Pantry

When your pantry is full of staples, you’ll find you won’t need to run to the store in the middle of cooking dinner to get a bottle of soy sauce. Plus it makes it easier to improvise a dinner on the fly when you don’t already have something planned. Ingredients like pasta, canned beans and canned fish can be the basis of spur-of-the-moment meals.

Eat What You Love

Eating well is not about deprivation—it’s about that good feeling you get when you eat something that is flavorful, wholesome and satisfying. No food should be off limits. Studies show that depriving yourself of the foods you love, especially in the name of dieting, may cause you to overeat later. Embrace a delicious and healthy way of eating that you can sustain for your whole life. When you bake, limit added sugars. (Added sugars of any kind—whether it’s corn syrup, white sugar, maple syrup or agave—all add calories and don’t offer any nutritional value.) Savor desserts so you really enjoy it without feeling guilty. Bottom line is that maintaining a healthy weight comes down to balancing the amount of calories you eat with the amount you expend during the day.
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