First of all, forget about restrictive regimes and cutting out sweets. That’s not what this is about. While most diets are about eliminating entire food groups and having salads while your friends order the ribs, the Mediterranean diet is more about getting into a healthy lifestyle that prioritizes certain food groups above others. The Mediterranean diet is about emulating the cuisine of Mediterranean countries. They are heavy on fruits, vegetable and seafood, and while they’re not big on unhealthy fats, it’s not a sin to have them. This cooking style leads to healthier hearts and reduced risk of certain cancers.
So really there’s no downside to giving it a try!
Mediterranean countries consume a lot of pasta, grains, fruits, nuts, and legumes. In fact, this is what their dishes are centered around. Don’t be afraid to make vegetables the main players in your diet while limiting your red meat intake to about once or twice per month.
Another important element you want to keep in your kitchen at all times is extra virgin olive oil. This is what you’ll use instead of butter, and regular oil. Not only is it healthier, it makes food taste better. And it serves different purposes too, you can use it for cooking or as a salad dressing. Keep an eye out for spices as well. The Mediterranean tend to use them instead of salt. And again, this is great for your health, but also has the added bonus of giving exotic notes to your foods. Don’t be scared to experiment with different spices.
Organic Produce is Key
Since fruits, grains, nuts, and vegetables are the main ingredients of Mediterranean meals, freshness is a key factor. Consider shopping at your local farmer’s market or using farm-to-table ingredients whenever possible. Though GMOs aren’t exactly frowned upon, organic is always preferred by Mediterraneans. Furthermore, they aren’t just a side dish accompanying your main course, but common for snacking. As stated before, the Mediterranean diet isn’t about restriction, so mid-morning snacking is allowed. The trick is that you can’t just go for a buttered bagel, instead, you should be reaching for nuts or fruits.
Get Used to Fish and Seafood
Countries alongside the Mediterranean Sea take advantage of their surroundings (aka. The sea), so fish and poultry should be your main proteins. The Mediterranean diet involves eating seafood o fish between 3-4 times a week. Of course, you should go for the healthier options like trout, salmon, mackerel, tuna and herring, and avoid frying them.
Know Your Wines
Alcohol is all about moderation, so this is not an excuse to go crazy with wine. But, so long as your doctor isn’t opposed, it’s fine if you have a small glass of wine with a meal. Usually, it’s limited to no more than 5 ounces a day for women, and 10 for men, really moderate consumption. Naturally, you’re more than welcomed to try red, white, or whatever wine of your choosing.