The Mediterranean Diet is heart-healthy and rich in nutrients. It is made up of foods which are eaten by people in Mediterranean countries, especially fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds and healthy fats. Try adding one or two new foods to your shopping list each week or use this Mediterranean Shopping List (pdf) to help plan your next grocery trip.
Fruits and Vegetables
Lettuce, spinach, kale, celery, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, avocados, celery, sweet potatoes, artichokes are some vegetables that will fill out the Mediterranean Diet menu. Fruits include raspberries, blueberries, apples, oranges, grapes, peaches, strawberries, cherries, bananas and pears. Fruit drinks do not have the same nutritional value. Fresh is best, but frozen or canned are acceptable options, too. The less processed the better.
Whole grains such as whole wheat bread, whole wheat pita, brown rice and whole grain pasta are a staple in the diet. Whole grain cereals or oatmeal are also a good choice for the Mediterranean Diet.
Legumes, Fish, Poultry, Nuts and Seeds
- Incorporate nuts and seeds such as almonds, cashews, walnuts, flax seeds into your diet. These are great to sprinkle on salads. Try almond milk on your cereal or in your smoothie.
- Beans such as chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans, great northern beans and cannellini are important elements. Try incorporating beans into soups and salads. They are inexpensive and packed with nutrition and fiber, which helps you feel more satisfied. Season with garlic, pepper and sage. Try a low-fat hummus with cut-up fresh veggies for a tasty, portable snack or lunch.
- The Mediterranean Diet recommends eating fish or seafood such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, tilapia, shrimp or crab at least twice a week to get essential omega-3 fatty acids.
- Poultry is allowed, but remove the skin to reduce fat. Red meat should be eaten in moderation, no more than once a week.
Dairy & Eggs
Choose low-fat dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese. Limit egg consumption to just a few a week or substitute with egg whites.
As the ancient Greeks used to say: “Pan metron ariston” or everything in moderation.
Recent studies show that the Mediterranean Diet Slows Cognitive Loss.
For meal ideas, check out Healthy Mediterranean Recipes and Menus.