Mediterranean Diet: The Basics
Eating healthy doesn't have to be difficult or complicated, and the Mediterranean diet is a perfect example of how flavorful, wholesome dishes can come together in one tasty package. Forbes recently identified the Mediterranean diet as one of the healthiest and easiest diets to follow, so if you're looking for an easy way to improve your well-being and nutrition, this might be the right approach for you!
Emphasize Plant-Based Foods.
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes plant-based foods, particularly fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds. They're rich in antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals—all of which are essential for a healthy and balanced diet. Additionally, choosing plant-based proteins instead of animal proteins can help reduce your risk for chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
Add Healthy Fats to Your Plate.
Fats are a major part of the Mediterranean diet, but it’s important to choose heart-healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil and avocado. These fats are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation and improve your overall health. You can also add nuts, seeds, olives and fish like tuna and salmon for more healthy fats in your diet!
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Use Whole Grains Smartly.
Incorporating more healthy whole grains into your diet is important for long-term success. Whole grains contain fiber, B vitamins, and minerals like iron and magnesium. Quinoa, barley, farro and bulgur are great whole grain options to add in. Make sure to read labels carefully when shopping for whole grains — look for words like “whole wheat” or “whole grain” on the label since many products can be deceiving and labeled as ‘healthy’ when they actually aren’t.
Make Lean Proteins Part of Your Daily Diet.
Lean proteins are an important source of nutrition that should be included in your daily diet. Lean proteins like salmon, chicken, turkey, eggs, and Greek yogurt are all nutrient-rich sources that can provide essential vitamins and minerals while also helping you stay full. Protein helps build muscle, tissue repair, and keep your bones strong. Aim to get 25-35% of your total calories from lean proteins every day.
Watch Portion Sizes and Include Nuts for Snacking and Variety.
Even though the Mediterranean diet is incredibly healthy, it's still important to watch portion sizes and snack in moderation. Eating overly large portions can lead to weight gain and other health issues even with a balanced diet. Healthy options like whole grain crackers, low-fat nuts, fruits, and vegetables are also great for snacking and can add variety to your daily meals. Incorporating nuts into your diet has been known to help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.