The Mediterranean diet is considered by many to be the healthiest way to eat. It is low in saturated fat, and high in satisfying, good-for-you unsaturated fat. It is built around a base of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans, nuts, and dairy products. Poultry, fish, eggs, and sweet treats are limited to once a week, and red meat is limited to once or twice a month. Avoiding processed foods and drinks, and including heart healthy olive oil and red wine, make this diet very popular indeed.
You would certainly lose weight on this diet if you completely eliminate processed foods, and switched to all whole-grain breads and pasta. This is not a quick-fix diet designed to shed a lot of weight quickly. It is a healthy way to eat that will last for your entire life, and could possibly make it longer!
What can you eat on the Mediterranean Diet?
- Whole grains – couscous, polenta, quinoa, oats, pasta
- Fruits and vegetables – including potatoes
- Cheese and yogurt – full-fat and organic is best
- Beans, legumes and nuts
- Olives and olive oil
What is limited or forbidden?
- Poultry is limited to once per week
- Fish is limited to once per week
- Eggs are limited to once per week
- Sweet treats are limited to once per week
- Red meat is limited to once or twice per month
How to Follow a Mediterranean Diet
Mediterranean food is often very simply prepared, and very flavourful. Traditional tastes like lemon, oregano, garlic, and other herbs and spices add layers of flavour to basic dishes without adding calories. This diet is very well balanced in terms of carbs, protein, and fat, and so you should follow the “Thirds Rule” for portioning food. One-third of your plate should be vegetables, preferably steamed or grilled. Another one-third of your plate should be protein, either beans, legumes, chicken, fish, or red meat. The last one-third of your plate should be carbohydrates. Choose unprocessed whole carbs like quinoa, millet, and couscous whenever possible. If you want pasta, try whole-wheat, brown rice, or corn pasta. A daily glass of red wine is thought to be an asset to this diet as well, along with 8-10 glasses of water throughout the day.
Eating out while on the Mediterranean diet should be fairly easy, as many restaurants are adopting heart-healthy menu options. Take a few minutes to study the menu beforehand, and pick dishes that are steamed, grilled, or baked, rather than fried. Substitute salad or vegetables for fries, and ask for your dressing on the side so you control how much you get.
This diet is incredibly easy to follow. There are no special ingredients, no crazy substitutions, and no counting of points or carbs. The Mediterranean diet is a heart-healthy life long eating plan that is easy and sustainable. Always talk to your doctor before starting a new eating plan.