A Beginner’s Guide to Mediterranean Diet

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The Mediterranean diet basically means eating the way people in the Mediterranean region traditionally ate. The general guidelines include:

  • Eat fruits, vegetables, seeds, legumes, nuts, bread, seafood. Spices, herbs, potatoes and extra virgin oil.
  • You can eat red meat but rarely.
  • Poultry, cheese, eggs, and yogurt are only to be consumed in moderation.
  • You must avoid refined oils, processed meat, sugar-sweetened beverages, refined grains, and other highly processed foods.

In this article, we will be discussing foods you can eat, foods you must avoid, beverages you can have and a lot more. Read below to find more:

In this article:

Foods you can Eat
What you can Drink?
Healthy Snack Options
Shopping List for the Diet

Everything You Need to Know about the Mediterranean Diet

Foods you can Eat

There is a lot of variation between different countries, it is thus a little controversial to exact state which foods you can eat. According to the studies, the diet is high in healthy plant foods and low in animal foods but it is recommended to eat fish and seafood at least twice a week. Listed below are a few unprocessed Mediterranean foods:

mediterranean diet

Fruits

Bananas, oranges, apple hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, cashews, peaches, melons, grapes, strawberries, etc.

Vegetables

Kale, broccoli, carrots, onions, spinach, brussels sprouts, cucumbers, tomatoes, cauliflower, etc.

Legumes

Peas, lentils, peanuts, chickpeas beans, pulses, etc.

Tubers

Sweet potatoes, yams, turnips, potatoes, etc

Nuts and Seeds

Hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, almonds, cashews, etc.

Whole Grains

Brown rice, barley, corn, whole wheat, whole oats whole-grain bread and pasta, buckwheat, etc.

Herbs and Spices

Basil, mint, nutmeg, cinnamon, sage, garlic, rosemary, pepper, etc.

Healthy Fats

Avocado oil, extra virgin oil, olives, and avocados.

Dairy

Yogurt, Greek yogurt, cheese, etc.

Fish and Seafood

Oysters, clams, crab, mackerel, salmon, sardines, tuna, trout, mussels, etc.

Poultry

Chicken, turkey, duck, etc.

Eggs

Quail, duck eggs, chicken, etc.

What you can Drink?

One of the most important things is water. This should be your go-to drink. You can have red wine too, but in moderation – around 1 glass per day.

In case, you have alcoholism issues or issues with controlling their consumption, you should highly avoid it.

You must avoid sugar-sweetened beverages and fruit juices, which are high in sugar. You can consume coffee and tea.

Healthy Snack Options

Although there is no need for you to have more than 3 meals a day in case, you are hungry in between the meals, you can go for these healthy snack options:

  • A piece of fruit
  • Carrots or baby carrots
  • Leftovers from the night before
  • Greek yogurt
  • A handful of nuts.
  • Apple slices with almond butter
  • Some berries or grapes.

A Mediterranean sample menu for 1 week:

MONDAY

Breakfast

Greek yogurt with strawberries and oats.

Lunch

Whole-grain sandwich with vegetables

Dinner

A tuna salad, dressed in olive oil. A piece of fruit for dessert.

TUESDAY

Breakfast

Oatmeal with raisins.

Lunch

Leftover tuna salad from the night before.

Dinner

Salad with tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese.

WEDNESDAY

Breakfast

Oatmeal with veggies, tomatoes, and onions. A piece of fruit.

Lunch

Whole-grain sandwich, with cheese and fresh vegetables.

Dinner

Mediterranean lasagne.

THURSDAY

Breakfast

Yogurt with sliced fruits and nuts.

Lunch

Leftover lasagne from the night before.

Dinner

Broiled salmon, served with brown rice and vegetables.

FRIDAY

Breakfast

Eggs and vegetables, fried in olive oil.

Lunch

Greek yogurt with strawberries, oats, and nuts.

Dinner

Grilled lamb, with salad and baked potato.

SATURDAY

Breakfast

Oatmeal with raisins, nuts and an apple.

Lunch

Whole-grain sandwich with vegetables.

Dinner

Mediterranean pizza made with whole wheat, topped with cheese, vegetables, and olives.

SUNDAY

Breakfast

Omelet with veggies and olives.

Lunch

Leftover pizza from the night before.

Dinner

Grilled chicken with vegetables and a potato. Fruit for dessert.

Shopping List for the Diet

You can look forward to buying the following items for your Mediterranean diet:

  • Fruits

Apple, bananas, oranges, grapes, etc.

  • Grains

Whole-grain bread, whole-grain pasta, etc.

  • Vegetables

Onions, broccoli, carrots, spinach, kale, garlic, etc.

  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes.
  • Cheese
  • Greek yogurt
  • Chicken
  • Shrimp and shellfish
  • Olives
  • Pastured or omega-3 enriched eggs
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fish

Mackerel, sardines, salmon, etc.

  • Legumes

Lentils, beans, pulses, etc.

  • Berries

Strawberries, blueberries etc

  • Frozen veggies

Choose mixies with healthy vegetables.

  • Condiments

Pepper, cinnamon, sea salt, turmeric etc.

Conclusion

Mediterranean diet includes plenty of vegetables, healthful fats, and whole grains. It is considered to be a lot beneficial for better sleep quality, lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease and weight loss. In case, you do not see results even after following the diet, it is recommended that you consult a dietician who can make some changes to the diet for the best results.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6471908/

https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/6/20/17464906/mediterranean-diet-science-health-predimed

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