Mediterranean Food Guidelines
Following the Mediterranean Food Guidelines is a healthy diet habit! People from the Mediterranean region who eat this diet are healthy, and experience little cardiovascular disease. The Mediterranean diet offers a lifestyle solution that is very sensible, healthy, and loaded with fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, olives, lean protein and healthy grains!
The Mediterranean Food Guidelines are:
- Whole grains, fruits and vegetables: breads, pasta, rice, couscous, polenta, and other whole grains and potatoes are recommended. I love it that potatoes are included in the grain section. How many American kids count French fries as their vegetable choice? Eating mostly plant-based foods like grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes and nuts should be eaten at most meals and form the backbone of this lifestyle. Fresh herbs and various spices are added to all meals and make meals very tasty. Fruits are actually served at the end of meals as a healthy dessert!
- Protein: Less of an emphasis is placed on animal protein. Chicken, eggs, cheese, and yogurts are included daily, to weekly in moderate portions. Red meat should be eaten less often during the month. Fish and seafood should be eaten often, at least two times per week. Beans, legumes seeds, and nuts are recommended daily vegetable protein sources that also include healthy fats, and fiber. They should be included in most meals.
- Oils: Healthier olive oils and olives are recommended.
- Sweets: I love that sweets are included on this diet, even though they should be limited!
- Exercise is recommended, and drinking red wine in moderation and plenty of water is also recommended.
I actually lived in a country that focused on the Mediterranean diet guidelines and I saw firsthand that it was a great lifestyle solution!
The only negative on the Mediterranean food guidelines is that portions are not addressed. Americans are used to gigantic portions in comparison with the rest of the world. We would be able to create gigantic Mediterranean portions and gain weight. It is important to eat in moderation and eat healthy, but not huge portions.
Check out the Mediterranean Food Guidelines for further ideas!
Some simple ways to develop the Healthy Diet Habit of Mediterranean eating are:
- Eat lots of salads and top them with fresh salad dressings made with olive oils and herbs. Salads do not need to include greens, but can be many chopped vegetables. Be creative! Check out my Super Salad Meal Chart!
- Add Feta cheeses to salads or small amounts of quality cheeses.
- Sauté your meats and vegetables in a small amount of olive oil. Meat will not be the center of the meal, but vegetables should be plentiful!
- Enjoy fish and chicken a few times per week, and rarely eat beef.
- A small handful of nuts are a great daily snack with a piece of fruit.
- Enjoy real foods and very little processed foods!
- Finish your meals with fruit for dessert!
Following the Mediterranean Food Guidelines is a healthy diet habit in the pursuit of health and weight control!