Mediterranean Meal Plan
- January 12, 2021
By Michelle Kerns
The Mediterranean diet is less a weight-management program than a set of healthy eating habits. Based on the Mediterranean cuisines of the Greeks, Spanish and French, a Mediterranean diet may help you prevent and manage heart disease and diabetes, says U.S. News & World Report. A typical Mediterranean meal plan provides plenty of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, nuts, seeds, eggs, dairy products, seafood and poultry, with occasional small amounts of meat.
A typical breakfast on a Mediterranean meal plan might be Greek yogurt mixed with chopped, fresh fruit and paired with whole-wheat toast that’s topped with mashed avocado. You can have low- or non-fat dairy products like yogurt every day on the plan, according to Oldways, a non-profit nutrition education organization that developed a Mediterranean diet food pyramid with the Harvard School of Public Health. Choose whole-grain products whenever possible, and use heart-healthy fats from avocado or olive oil in place of saturated fats like butter.
For lunch, try spreading hummus inside a whole-wheat pita and tucking slices of fresh vegetables like tomatoes or cucumbers inside along with leafy greens such as romaine lettuce or spinach. Serve the pita with a vegetable-based soup like white bean soup or minestrone and a piece of fresh fruit. Beans, like the garbanzo beans used to prepare the hummus, are an important part of the Mediterranean diet. Plant-based foods — beans, legumes, produce, grains, nuts and seeds — should be the basis of every meal on the plan.
Fish is a good choice for dinner on the Mediterranean diet. You should have seafood such as fish or shellfish often on the plan, at least twice a week. Choose low-mercury options like salmon, catfish or pollock. A typical Mediterranean diet dinner might include grilled salmon, a couscous or quinoa pilaf, steamed vegetables drizzled with olive oil, a spinach salad and fresh fruit. If desired, you can have a glass of red wine with your meal, although MayoClinic.com cautions you to avoid it if you have a history of alcohol abuse.
If needed, you can have a mid-morning or afternoon snack on the Mediterranean diet. Good snacks might include nuts, seeds like sunflower seeds, fresh fruit, a bean dip and vegetables or Greek yogurt. When eating nuts or seeds, be sure to choose raw or dry-roasted types that aren’t salted to keep your fat and sodium intake low.