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The Mediterranean Diet: What You Need to Know

The Mediterranean Lifestyle: A Cheat Sheet

What is it?

The Mediterranean Diet is based on the way people living in the Mediterranean haven eaten and lived for hundreds and years. People generally focus on eating whole, real foods and on avoiding extra sugar and processed foods. This lifestyle also promotes healthy physical activity, spending times with friends, and reducing stress.

This way of eating has been scientifically shown to promote weight loss and to prevent a host of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. It’s been called, “the healthiest diet in the world”.

How to follow the Mediterranean Diet:

The Ideal Plate is made of:

  • ½ vegetables
  • ¼ protein: plant sources like beans (often), seafood (often), or other animal like chicken (occasionally)
  • ¼ healthy carbs (fruit, or complete grains like brown rice or quinoa)
  • A sprinkle of health fat (like avocado or olive oil)

What to Eat:

Eat all the time: Vegetables, fruits, fish, seafood, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, healthy fats, extra virgin olive oil, egg whites

Eat occasionally: Whole eggs, dairy, chicken, turkey

Eat rarely: Red meat

Avoid entirely: Added sugars, artificial sweeteners, highly processed foods, processed meats, trans fats, white bread/ white pasta.

What to Drink:

Drink all the time: Water, bubbly water, water with lemon or lime, black coffee, unsweetened tea

Drink occasionally: Nut milk, dairy milk, wine

Drink rarely: 100% fruit juice

Avoid entirely: Soda, sugar-sweetened drinks, artificially sweetened drinks

What to Do:

What do you do to follow this Lifestyle?

Do these things all the time: eat with others, spend time in nature, engage in healthy physical activity like walking, cultivate relationships with friends and family

Reduce or eliminate these things: emotional eating, all day snacking, unhealthy stress

Build your meals around real, whole foods, such as:

Vegetables: Spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, sweet potatoes, potatoes, pumpkin, beets, etc

Fruits: Berries, bananas, apples, peaches, plums, mangos, lemons, limes, pears, mango, starfruit, etc

Seafood: Fish of all types (salmon, tilapia, tuna, etc), as well as clams, shrimp, oysters, lobster, etc

Beans: Lentils, chickpeas, black beans, navy beans, includes pasta made from 100% lentils or beans

Grains: Breads and pasta made from 100% whole grain wheat, barley, quinoa, amaranth, brown rice, etc

Eggs: Egg whites (often) and egg yolks (occasionally)

Nuts: Almonds, pistachios, cashews, walnuts, etc

Healthy Fats: Extra virgin olive oil, olives, avocados, avocado oil, coconut, nut oils, etc

Poultry (occasionally): Chicken and turkey, including ground versions and whole meat

Dairy (occasionally, if well tolerated): Cheese, yogurt, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.