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Foods On The Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean Diet Food List Printable Pdf

Mediterranean Diet for Beginners

This Mediterranean diet food list is available as a PDF file, and I recommend printing it out and putting it on your fridge. You will always have inspiration to eat these healthy foods whenever you go into the fridge.

If youre looking for recipes to make with these foods, check out our extensive collection of Mediterranean Diet Recipes.

Dining Out On A Mediterranean Diet

If you’re heading to a Mediterranean restaurant, chances are they will have plenty of appropriate options for you to choose from. Here are a few tips for staying consistent with the eating pattern while dining out:

  • Start with a salad
  • Choose fish or seafood as your main
  • Request extra veggies on the side
  • Opt for non-starchy vegetables like dark leafy greens
  • Ask for whole grain bread or pita instead of white varieties
  • Use olive oil instead of butter
  • Stay hydrated with water or sparkling water throughout your meal
  • Go for a walk after dinner with a loved one

The Mediterranean Diet Packs A Lot Of Benefits

The Mediterranean diet is one of the most well-researched diets for the prevention and treatment of many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, per Porpora. It may even slow aging.

Here are some of the Mediterranean Diets biggest selling points when it comes to its health benefits.

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What Is The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid

The Mediterranean diet pyramid is a graphical representation of the Mediterranean diet designed to improve understanding and increase adherence to this way of eating. It was created in 1993 by Oldways, an American nonprofit, with support from the Harvard School of Public Health and The World Health Organization. The pyramid was designed as a healthier option than the U.S. Department of Agricultures original food pyramid, which was popular then.

The pyramid shows the food groups in the Mediterranean diet and their ideal frequency, resting on a base of physical activity and communal meals. Water and red wine are displayed beside the pyramid as healthy drinks.

Courtesy of

Greek Pizza With Pourable Crust

Mediterranean Diet Versus Macrobiotic Diet

Yes, you really can make and bake homemade pizza crust in less than 30 minutes! The trick is whipping up a pourable crust. Toppings like roasted eggplant and bell peppers, feta, artichokes, mint and lemon put a Greek-style twist on a classic pizza crust.

Get the Recipe: Greek Pizza with Pourable Crust

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Second Tier: Eat These Twice A Week

Fish and seafood occupy the second tier of the pyramid. These foods are to be eaten at least twice a week.


Fish are an essential part of the Mediterranean diet.

Oily fish

Oily Fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and helpful for heart health. They are also rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Examples of oily fish include:


Albacore tuna

Lean fish

Lean fish have fewer calories and may be preferred if you dislike fishy smells. Examples are:


Fish to avoid

You should avoid fish that are likely to be high in mercury, poisonous, and threatened species.

Fish that may contain mercury: shark, ling, swordfish, and orange roughy.

Poisonous fish: puffer fish, stone fish, tiger fish.

Threatened species: Atlantic halibut, orange roughy, beluga sturgeon, red handfish, Atlantic bluefin tuna, European eel, winter skate.


Seafood is a rich source of protein and minerals. They are often low in calories and rich in flavor.

Examples of seafood are:

  • Pasta alla Puttanesca with Tuna

What Is The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating that is similar to the cuisine of countries along the Mediterranean Sea. There is no single definition of the diet, but you will eat mostly plant based foods. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has shown the Mediterranean diet to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death related to heart problems by 30%. The diet can be used as a long term diet pattern to promote health, control blood sugar and prevent chronic disease.

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Favorite App For Following The Mediterranean Diet

This app, which is available on the App Store and , allows you to track food, calories, and macronutrients in order to stay in step with your goals. Even better: It also features specific diets, such as the Mediterranean diet, with meal plans, access to a recipe library, and nutrition information and meal ratings. Though the app is free, the Mediterranean diet and meal plan requires subscribing to the Premium membership.

What The Mediterranean Diet Is All About

Fit Facts: Benefits of a Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet draws upon the culinary practices of southern Europe, North Africa, and the Mediterranean Middle East, all areas where food is prepared to be savored and enjoyed, not rushed.

Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and herbs make up the foundation of this diets pyramid, and every meal is centered around them. Fish is eaten at least twice a week, while poultry, eggs, and dairy are eaten less often, perhaps just a few days a week. Meats and sweets, meanwhile, are served in moderation.

Healthy fats, like olive oil, should be used in place of others, like butter and vegetable oil. And red wine can even be enjoyed in moderate amounts.

Need some examples? Weve compiled some of the best, authentic recipes for Mediterranean-style eating. Bon appétit!

Pita chips in a salad? The crunchy bites means the fattoush always goes fast in a Middle Eastern meze. The salad features all of the fresh summer salad ingredients youd find in a traditional garden, along with a lime vinaigrette that has allspice and cinnamon.

Tabbouleh traces its roots to Syria, but youll find it in many other Mediterranean restaurants, too. With herbs and fresh lemon juice, its refreshing and filling, making it popular as a side dish to falafel or fish, or even as a meal on its own.

Read Also: Best Plant Based Diet Cookbooks

A Detailed Mediterranean Diet Food List

On the Mediterranean diet, youll rely heavily on the following foods and limit those that are processed. Examples of processed foods include cold cuts and sausage , salty packaged snacks like potato chips and crackers, and prepared sweets like cookies, cake, and candy.

You may choose to drink a little red wine and eat some dark chocolate.

While you dont have to count calories on the Mediterranean diet, weve included nutrition information for the following foods for your reference.

Ways To Follow The Mediterranean Diet For Better Health

Perhaps the world’s healthiest diet, the Mediterranean diet is abundant in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and olive oil. It features fish and poultrylean sources of proteinover red meat. Red wine is consumed regularly but in moderate amounts.

Research suggests that the benefits of following a Mediterranean-style eating pattern may be many: improved weight loss, better control of blood glucose levels and reduced risk of depression, to name a few. Eating like a Mediterranean has also been associated with reduced levels of inflammation, a risk factor for heart attack, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.

If the idea of overhauling your entire way of shopping and eating seems daunting, start small. Wiping the slate entirely clean may not be necessary, nor is it sustainable .

Here, we outline steps you can take to move toward a more Mediterranean-style diet. Choose one of these strategies below, and make it a habit. When you’re ready, move onto the next strategy. No matter where you choose to start, these eight tips for starting a Mediterranean diet can help you make over your plate so you can reap the health benefits.

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The Major Benefits Of The Mediterranean Diet

By Jillian Levy, CHHC

Not only is the Mediterranean diet a tasty way to eat, drink and live, but its also a realistic and sustainable way to reduce disease-causing inflammation and maintain a healthy weight. In fact, U.S. News named the Mediterranean Diet the best overall diet among different 41 diets.

For thousands of years, people living along the Mediterranean Sea have indulged in a high-fiber diet of fruits and vegetables, along with legumes, whole grains, olive oil, fish and herbs. This healthy eating pattern has earned a reputation for disease prevention, mood enhancement, enjoyable weight manageable and even more.

What Foods Should You Eat In Moderation On The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet: Why It Works and How to Get Started

Youve learned that the Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, but what about other foods, like poultry and dairy?

These foods are also included in the Mediterranean diet, but the goal is to eat them in moderationwhich simply means keeping an eye on your intake of foods to make sure they align with your overall goals.

Lets dive into some of these food groups.

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What You Can Eat

  • Veggies. As many different kinds as you can find and as much of em as you want.
  • Fruits. Go bananas on berries, citrus, stone fruits, etc.
  • Olive oils: The Mediterranean diet practically makes this healthy fat a whole food group on its own, but dont forget about avocados too.
  • Grains. Whole grains, to be exact. And while bread, rice, and pasta are acceptable, switch things up with traditional Mediterranean grains like bulgur and couscous.
  • Pulses: Beans and legumes are huge protein sources on this diet. Dont limit yourselfeverything from chickpeas to lentils to pinto beans is fair game.
  • Nuts and seeds: Gear up for a lot of tahini.
  • Eggs: The incredible edible is a great source of protein, especially for vegetarians on this diet.
  • Seafood: Especially fish particularly rich in heart-healthy fats, like salmon, sardines, and tuna.
  • Poultry: Chicken, turkey, you get the idea.
  • Soy: Stick to non-processed forms of it, like tofu and edamame.
  • Herbs and spices: Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme are just the beginning.Dont forget dill, basil, saffron, and zaatar too.

A Day Of Eating On The Mediterranean Diet

Here is a dietitian-approved sample of a day in the life of the Mediterranean diet:


  • Veggie scramble with eggs, onions, peppers, and spinach
  • Steel-cut oatmeal topped with some berries and walnuts


  • Burrito bowl with black beans, avocado, romaine lettuce, salsa, and sour cream
  • Baked chicken or lean ground turkey


  • Baked salmon or tofu with steamed green beans and roasted butternut squash, topped with olive oil and herbs

On The Go Snacks

  • Plain greek yogurt topped with berries and seeds/nuts
  • Chopped veggies or fruit dippers in seed or nut butter
  • Hard-boiled eggs with seeds, nuts, and/or fresh fruit
  • Uncured turkey or salmon jerky
  • Sardine paté on a brown rice cake

Read Also: Meal Plan Plant Based Diet

What To Eat On The Mediterranean Diet

The list of Mediterranean recipes below should give you a great start! But just for simplicity’s sake, here’s a very general summary to help you eat the Mediterranean way:

  • Eat MORE leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, and legumes.
  • Eat MODERATELY lean proteins from fish, some poultry, and eggs.
  • Eat LESS Red Meats and Sweets

How To Start On The Mediterranean Diet

Is the Mediterranean Diet the Healthiest Diet? | Eat Smarter | Dietitian Q& A

So, what does a day in the life of the MeD look like?

In this section, weâll talk about applying all of this research with a practical Mediterranean-style meal plan. These recommendations are derived from the latest science on the MeD and eating for coronary artery disease and coronary heart disease prevention.

Here are some tips to help you start out on this healthier eating plan.

Read Also: Best Diets For Losing Belly Fat

Mediterranean Diet Cheese And Other Dairy

Cheeses, eggs, milk and other low-fat dairy products are included in the Mediterranean diet. Choose fat-free or 1% milk options, and try not to eat more than three servings a week. Avoid whole milk and cream.

  • Cheese. Feta, brie, chevre, parmesan, ricotta, manchengo, haloumi and labneh are some healthy options, and theres no end to the dishes you can add cheese to.
  • Greek yogurt. Top with fresh fruit and nuts.
  • Eggs. Scramble with fresh veggies and herbs.
  • Milk. Choose low-fat or fat-free varieties.
  • This Is Your Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Food List

    If youre interested in following a Mediterranean style of eating, heres your cheat sheet of which foods to eat:

    • Fruits. Any and all fresh fruits such as apples, oranges, pears, melon, grapes, berries, dates, figs, peaches, and grapefruit.
    • Vegetables. Any and all fresh vegetables like tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, kale, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cucumbers, peppers, summer squash, and onions. Dont forget about root vegetables like sweet potatoes, potatoes, turnips, and parsnips.
    • Whole grains. Whole grains, plus bread and pasta made with whole-grain ingredients. This includes whole wheat, oats, barley, rye, quinoa, and brown rice.
    • Nuts and seeds. Whole nuts like almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, and pistachios. Seeds such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and flaxseeds.
    • Legumes. Black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas, and fava beans.
    • Healthy fats. Extra virgin olive oil, avocados, avocado oil, walnut oil, olives.
    • Dairy. Moderate amounts of dairy items like Greek yogurt, cheese, and milk.
    • Fish and seafood. Wild-caught fish and shellfish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, shrimp, tuna, trout, and clams.
    • Other animal protein. Moderate amounts of poultry, pork, and other lean options. Save red meat for special occasions.
    • Herbs and spices. Garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, mint, sage, rosemary, cinnamon, nutmeg, and more.

    As you can see there’s a lot to choose from. So go forth, and make the Mediterranean diet your own.

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    How Can You Follow The Mediterranean Diet Food Pyramid

    You can follow the Mediterranean diet pyramid by eating according to its guidelines.

    You should consider your current health goals and discuss your diet with a registered dietitian if you have any questions.

    Here are some tips to help.

    1. Make physical activity part of your lifestyle. Although the pyramid doesnt provide guidelines on how much exercise you need, it emphasizes an active lifestyle. Research shows that 22 minutes a day, or 150 minutes a week, is adequate.

    2. Practice communal eating. If you can, share meal times with your loved ones and make eating a group activity.

    If you cant eat with a group, make meal times a special event. Eat slowly and thoughtfully away from your desk, car, or computer.

    3. Choose whole foods. Avoid anything processed or packaged choose fresh, whole food instead.

    4. Make vegetables the main point of your diet. Make vegetables a big part of every meal. While vegetables are rich in nutrients and antioxidants, they are low in calories and harmful compounds. Eat them liberally and daily. Purchase organic vegetables when possible.

    5. Minimize saturated fats and sugar. Saturated fats and sugar are high in calories but low in nutrients. Use more olive oil and healthy fats, and eat fruits if you want something sweet. Cakes, cookies, and candies can be enjoyed during special occasions, but they shouldnt be part of your daily or weekly meals.

    12. Collect healthy recipes and make a meal plan.

    Make Mealtimes A Social Experience

    Facts about the Mediterranean diet ⢠Bakini savjeti

    The simple act of talking to a friend or loved over the dinner table can play a big role in relieving stress and boosting mood. Eating with others can also prevent overeating, making it as healthy for your waistline as it is for your outlook. Switch off the TV and computer, put away your smartphone, and connect to someone over a meal.

    Gather the family together and stay up to date with each other’s daily lives. Regular family meals provide comfort to kids and are a great way to monitor their eating habits as well.

    If you live alone, cook a little extra and invite a friend, coworker, or neighbor to join you.

    Cook with others. Invite a friend to share shopping and cooking responsibilities for a Mediterranean meal. Cooking with others can be a fun way to deepen relationships and splitting the costs can make it cheaper for both of you.

    Quick start to a Mediterranean diet

    The easiest way to make the change to a Mediterranean diet is to start with small steps. You can do this by:

    • Sautéing food in olive oil instead of butter.
    • Eating more fruits and vegetables by enjoying salad as a starter or side dish, snacking on fruit, and adding veggies to other dishes.
    • Choosing whole grains instead of refined breads, rice, and pasta.
    • Substituting fish for red meat at least twice per week.
    • Limit high-fat dairy by switching to skim or 1% milk from 2% or whole milk
    Instead of this:
    Pudding made with skim or 1% milk

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    What Kinds Of Foods Are Included In The Mediterranean Diet

    You will eat mostly plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables, potatoes, whole-grains, beans, nuts, seeds and extra virgin olive oil. Meals are planned around these foods. The diet also includes moderate amounts of lean poultry, fish, seafood, dairy and eggs. You should avoid fried foods, sweets, red meats and white flour products.

    The following information will clarify details about the Mediterranean diet, such as which foods to pick and how much of each food to eat. You will also find how to include these foods into your diet.

    Edit Your Favorite Recipes To Make Them Mediterranean Diet Friendly

    Its evident that with such a variety of whole, fresh foods on the table, its easy to build meals with this diet. And you dont have to eliminate your favorites they may just require some tweaks. For instance, rather than a sausage and pepperoni pizza, youd choose one piled high with veggies. You can also fit a lot of different foods into one meal. Filling up on fresh fruit and vegetables will allow you to build volume into meals for fewer calories.

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