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Mediterranean Diet 1

Mediterranean Diet Plan

#1 in Best Diets Overall

No. 1 Mediterranean Diet

With its emphasis on fruits and vegetables, olive oil, fish and other healthy fare, the Mediterranean diet is eminently sensible. And experts’ assessments of it were resoundingly positive, giving this diet an edge over many competitors.

Overall rank: 1
Overall score: 4.2 out of 5

What types of meals should you eat on Mediterranean Diet?
Do’s & Don’ts

Do: Load up on whole grains and veggies.

While there isn’t “a” Mediterranean diet, most versions share many of the same principles. According to Oldways, the nonprofit food think tank in Boston that helped develop a Mediterranean food pyramid, you’ll load up on fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts and legumes; eat plenty of fish and seafood; get a little poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt; and mostly pick at sweets and red meat. And don’t forget a drizzle of olive oil.

You’ve got lots of wiggle room in food prep. One night might be Spanish paella. The next might be a Greek gyro or an Italian-inspired pasta dish. How much and when you eat is also up to you.

With its emphasis on fruits, vegetables, olive oil, fish and other healthy fare, the Mediterranean diet is eminently sensible.


7 Health Benefits of a Mediterranean Diet

Eating this diet, which is rich in fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains, can lower your risk for certain health problems. Here are a few ways you can improve your health by eating the Mediterranean Diet. …By Health.com Updated December 13, 2018

Out of all the trendy diets you could choose, following a Mediterranean diet is not only delicious (and may make you feel like you’re on vacay in Greece), it could boost your health. Packed with fruits and veggies, fish, whole grains, and healthful fats, the Mediterranean diet could help manage your weight, benefit your brain, improve heart health, and maybe even help you live longer.

Fights inflammation

Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce inflammation.

Strengthens skin

The omega-3s in fish help keep skin cells strong and elastic.

May help ease pain

A compound in olive oil called oleocanthal may have a similar effect to NSAIDs like ibuprofen and aspirin.

Could lower cancer risk

A Mediterranean diet may cut the risk of uterine and breast cancer.

Maintains heart health

While there has been some research to suggest that this diet supports heart health, a new study linked women who eat a Mediterranean diet to a 25% lower risk of heart disease. In the span of 12 years, researchers studied more than 25,000 women who consumed a diet high in plant-based foods, healthful fats, and olive oil (and low in meats and sugar), and found that this style of eating reduced inflammation, accounting for decreased risk of cardiovascular disease risk.

Keeps your brain sharp

Foods that are packed with antioxidants, like nuts and olive oil, may help delay the onset of mental decline.

Helps you live longer

The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of fruits, vegetables, and olive oil may help fight oxidative damage linked to aging.


Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan

Here’s a day of typical meals on a 1,500-calorie Mediterranean diet from Oldways.


6 ounces Greek yogurt topped with 1/2 cup strawberries and 1 teaspoon honey
1 slice whole-grain toast with half mashed avocado

1 whole-grain pita with 2 tablespoons hummus and stuffed with 1 cup fresh greens and 2 slices tomatoes
1 cup minestrone soup
1 medium orange
Water with 1 lemon wedge

1/8 cup sliced almonds
1/8 cup peanuts


1/2 cup arugula
1/2 cup baby spinach
1 tablespoon shaved Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon vinaigrette dressing

3-ounce salmon topped with 1 teaspoon tarragon and 1 teaspoon mustard over 1/2 cup couscous, 1/2 cup zucchini and 4 spears asparagus


Small bunch grapes
1/2 cup lemon sorbet

Mediterranean Diet 101: A Meal Plan and Beginner’s Guide

The Basics
Foods to Avoid
Foods to Eat
Sample Menu
Eating Out
Shopping List
Bottom Line

The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional foods that people used to eat in countries like Italy and Greece back in 1960.

Researchers noted that these people were exceptionally healthy compared to Americans and had a low risk of many lifestyle diseases.

Numerous studies have now shown that the Mediterranean diet can cause weight loss and help prevent heart attacks, strokes, type 2 diabetes and premature death.

There is no one right way to follow the Mediterranean diet, as there are many countries around the Mediterranean sea and people in different areas may have eaten different foods.

This article describes the dietary pattern typically prescribed in studies that suggest it’s a healthy way of eating.

Consider all of this as a general guideline, not something written in stone. The plan can be adjusted to your individual needs and preferences.
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.

Avoid These Unhealthy Foods

You should avoid these unhealthy foods and ingredients:

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.

You must read food labels carefully if you want to avoid these unhealthy ingredients.
Foods to Eat

Exactly which foods belong to the Mediterranean diet is controversial, partly because there is such variation between different countries.

The diet examined by most studies is high in healthy 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.

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, etc.
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, etc.
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.

Whole, single-ingredient foods are the key to good health.
What to Drink

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

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

A Mediterranean Sample Menu for 1 Week

Below is a sample menu for one week on the Mediterranean diet.

Feel free to adjust the portions and food choices based on your own needs and preferences.

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.


Breakfast: Oatmeal with raisins.
Lunch: Leftover tuna salad from the night before.
Dinner: Salad with tomatoes, olives and feta cheese.


Breakfast: Omelet with veggies, tomatoes and onions. A piece of fruit.
Lunch: Whole-grain sandwich, with cheese and fresh vegetables.
Dinner: Mediterranean lasagne.


Breakfast: Yogurt with sliced fruits and nuts.
Lunch: Leftover lasagne from the night before.
Dinner: Broiled salmon, served with brown rice and vegetables.


Breakfast: Eggs and vegetables, fried in olive oil.
Lunch: Greek yogurt with strawberries, oats and nuts.
Dinner: Grilled lamb, with salad and baked potato.


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.


Breakfast: Omelet with veggies and olives.
Lunch: Leftover pizza from the night before.
Dinner: Grilled chicken, with vegetables and a potato. Fruit for dessert.

There is usually no need to count calories or track macronutrients (protein, fat and carbs) on the Mediterranean diet.

For more ideas, check out this list of 21 healthy Mediterranean recipes.
Healthy Mediterranean Snacks

You don’t need to eat more than 3 meals per day.

But if you become hungry between meals, there are plenty of healthy snack options:

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

How to Follow the Diet at Restaurants

It’s very simple to make most restaurant meals suitable for the Mediterranean diet.

Choose fish or seafood as your main dish.
Ask them to fry your food in extra virgin olive oil.
Only eat whole-grain bread, with olive oil instead of butter.

It is always a good idea to shop at the perimeter of the store. That’s usually where the whole foods are.

Always try to choose the least-processed option. Organic is best, but only if you can easily afford it.

Vegetables: Carrots, onions, broccoli, spinach, kale, garlic, etc.
Fruits: Apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, etc.
Berries: Strawberries, blueberries, etc.
Frozen veggies: Choose mixes with healthy vegetables.
Grains: Whole-grain bread, whole-grain pasta, etc.
Legumes: Lentils, pulses, beans, etc.
Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, cashews, etc.
Seeds: Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
Condiments: Sea salt, pepper, turmeric, cinnamon, etc.
Fish: Salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout.
Shrimp and shellfish.
Potatoes and sweet potatoes.
Greek yogurt.
Pastured or omega-3 enriched eggs.
Extra virgin olive oil.

It’s best to clear all unhealthy temptations from your home, including sodas, ice cream, candy, pastries, white bread, crackers and processed foods.

If you only have healthy food in your home, you will eat healthy food.
The Bottom Line

Though there is not one defined Mediterranean diet, this way of eating is generally rich in healthy plant foods and relatively lower in animal foods, with a focus on fish and seafood.

You can find a whole world of information about the Mediterranean diet on the internet, and many great books have been written about it.

Try googling “Mediterranean recipes” and you will find a ton of great tips for delicious meals.

At the end of the day, the Mediterranean diet is incredibly healthy and satisfying. You won’t be disappointed.