When looking at many diet plans, they often start out with what you can’t eat. No carbs here, limit your protein there, and no fruit juice after 3 PM on Wednesdays.
Or, they may call for some bizarre food choices that have you driving all over town just to find the right ingredients. Who knew that they sold squirrel milk commercially?
When it comes to the Mediterranean diet, you don’t have to follow super strict rules or drive to the middle of nowhere just to find the perfect ingredients for your next recipe. Everything you need can be found in any local supermarket. The “restrictive” parts of the diet are tell you to avoid foods you should already be avoiding; those high in sugar, processed foods, refined grains, etc.
Plus, the Mediterranean diet comes packed with health benefits, most importantly for your heart and brain.
Today, we’re going to dive into a number of foods that the diet not only has available, but encourages you to eat. Get ready to eat well, feel good, and look good too!
Who doesn’t love pasta? With so many incredible options, you could eat a different kind of pasta every day of the week and not try them all.
It’s important here that you’re finding whole-grain pasta instead of refined, cheap storebrand stuff. There are tons of wonderful recipes that you can make with pasta, but for the Mediterranean diet you’re going to want to focus on lean meats or fish if you decide to mix in a little protein.
Many wise men have once said that pizza was one of the greatest inventions known to mankind, coming in just after the wheel and before the lightbulb.
Once again though, you can’t just go eat any pizza you find. It’s not a good idea to grab a Pizza Hut pizza with everything on it for dinner.
Make your own pizza at home, using whole-grain or even zucchini for the base. Add some tomato sauce and lean meats and use olive oil to prepare it all. Yummy!
Red wine is packed with antioxidants that promote long-term heart health. It’s advisable to have a small glass (4-5 oz.) about 3-4 times a week with your meals.
Moderation is key as this doesn’t mean you should be downing multiple glasses with every meal. It can, however, work as a substitute for beer or hard liquor when you go out. Instead of having a few beers, have a few glasses of red wine instead.
Finally, a non-Italian food option. Coming from the Middle East, falafel is easy to make and is also a vegetarian option for those looking to limit their meat intake.
It can be eaten alone, mixed with other dishes, or made into a wrap for a quick meal or snack. It’s hard to go wrong with falafel.
If you’re a seafood fan, then you’ve chosen the right diet. The Mediterranean diet calls for fish at least twice a week, and you’ve got plenty of options. Fire up the grill for some salmon, throw some cod in the oven, or snack on some sardines.
This is the one part of your diet that you should monitor a bit more closely than others. Make sure you’re only eating fish twice and week and avoiding fish that are high in mercury like king mackerel, swordfish, and shark.
Every now and then, you see something pop up about how eggs are actually bad for your heart and eating them too much puts you at risk. While you should deal with everything in moderation, the Mediterranean diet wholly encourages you adding eggs to your meals.
The best part is eggs can be mixed with just about everything. Scramble them with some tomatoes, use them for sandwiches, or even just eat a hard-boiled egg from time to time.
When it comes to dips, there will always be a silent war between queso, salsa, hummus, and guacamole. When it comes to the Mediterranean diet, hummus is a clear winner.
Hummus also makes for a perfect snack for those midday lull periods. Use some celery, carrots, or your favorite vegetable as the dipping item. You can also try and make your own at home for an extra challenge.