Mediterranean Diet 101: A Meal Plan and Beginner’s Guide


If you’re trying to incorporate more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and heart-healthy fats into your diet, Mediterranean recipes can be a great place to start. A common misconception about the Mediterranean diet is that it’s all about eating pasta and pizza, but it’s actually rich in flavorful ingredients like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and heart-healthy fats. This diet has been associated with several health benefits and may help support brain function, promote heart health, regulate blood sugar levels, and slow aging. Plus, it tastes delicious!

What Is The Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean diet is a holistic eating plan that focuses on traditional foods originating from countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. These local, unprocessed foods are said to contain high amounts of beneficial nutrients that promote heart health, regulate blood sugar levels, boost brain function, and reduce inflammation. The diet is characterized by its high consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains in addition to fish for protein. Olive oil is commonly used as a cooking oil as well as a dressing for salads. Red wine can be consumed in moderation for its antioxidant properties. Dairy products can also be included (mostly in yogurt or kefir form) but should be avoided until you know how your body reacts to them.

Benefits of The Mediterranean Diet

– Promotes weight loss & boosts heart health – Reduces hunger cravings – Fights inflammation – Reduces risk of brain-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, & more – Lowers chances of developing depression – Protects bones & promotes bone health The Mediterranean diet isn’t just about food; it’s a whole lifestyle that promotes healthy living. The Mediterranean diet is essentially rich in fruits, vegetables, olive oil and other forms of healthy fats (including seafood), grass-fed meat or pasture-raised animal proteins—which all adds up to a diet that does wonders for your heart. Studies show that people who eat meals with foods from these groups have lower cholesterol levels, improved insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control. It also helps you lose weight and may help protect against certain cancers. If you follow a Mediterranean diet, you’re also likely consuming fresh fruit instead of processed sweets and soda, which can be very unhealthy choices. Instead, you’ll snack on fresh veggies like tomatoes and bell peppers or drink fruit smoothies made with lemon juice (lemon has antioxidants called flavonoids) along with blackberries and pomegranate seeds that are full of antioxidants too!

How To Put Together A Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan

First, start with your ideal Mediterranean diet serving of fruits and vegetables. This can be anywhere from 4 to 10 servings per day, depending on your age, gender, body type, activity level, personal preferences or current health conditions. Include a serving of legumes at least twice a week for their protein content. Next up are whole grains like quinoa or oatmeal; then dairy (for non-vegans) in forms like low-fat yogurt or cheese. Finally comes fish—two to three times a week is sufficient—and an optional tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil sprinkled over salad as well as meat and poultry once or twice weekly in very small portions.

Sample Menu To Get You Started

For example, if you choose black beans as your protein, prepare them by serving them over white rice with a side of roasted sweet potatoes. Top it off with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar for an extra antioxidant boost. If you’re not sure what constitutes a serving size for any given ingredient in Mediterranean diet recipes, use your hands as measurement guidelines. One serving of carbohydrates (rice or potatoes) will take up about two cupped handfuls; one serving of beans should be in one palm-sized scoop; fruits should fill one cupped hand; vegetables serve up to two cups when chopped. Also remember that oil is used pretty liberally in Mediterranean recipes, so you can factor that into how much you eat each day.

What Is Missing From The Typical American Diet?

The Mediterranean diet is well-known for its benefits. It’s one of the best lifestyle diets for losing weight, lowering cholesterol, boosting heart health, and reducing inflammation in your body. If you’ve been thinking about trying it out but don’t know where to start, our guide will help you get started on a delicious meal plan that’s packed with everything you need to reap those benefits (and more). You’ll also find simple meal planning tips and recipes that even beginners can use to make healthy eating easy. And if you want more great info, check out our beginner’s guide to starting a healthier diet today! Why Everyone Should Be Eating Mediterranean: Delicious Meals Taste Great

Notice something missing from your typical American meals? That would be veggies. Whether they’re steamed or sautéed with butter, we have them no more than once or twice a week. Americans aren’t alone—most Westerners aren’t getting enough veggies in their day, which could be why Western countries are some of the biggest consumers of antibiotics per capita. In fact, many doctors say low vitamin and mineral intake is linked to lower immune function as well as increased risk for chronic diseases like cancer.

Why You Should Give The Mediterranean Diet A Try

If you haven’t jumped on board with one of 2019’s biggest food trends, it’s time to start. And we’re not talking about acai bowls or buttered coffee—we’re talking about eating like a true Mediterranean. Full of heart-healthy fats, protein-packed legumes, antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies, whole grains, and even wine (in moderation), diets rich in these foods are linked to longevity in Mediterranean countries like Spain. Why? Although scientists aren’t totally sure, diet is thought to have an impact on health. Research shows that people who eat more nuts, olive oil, fish, vegetables, and fruit tend to live longer than those who don’t. Like all trendy diet plans, though, Mediterranean eating has its downsides. Skipping meals can be unhealthy when done incorrectly; sugary treats can be calorie bombs; research is still unclear as to whether moderate alcohol consumption is good for you, and weight loss isn’t typical. 

Potential Benefits Of The Mediterranean Diet

While we know that a Mediterranean diet has many benefits, there are still some we are just beginning to understand. Some early research suggests that people who follow a Mediterranean diet may have a reduced risk of cancer, cognitive decline with age, and cardiovascular disease. In addition, previous studies have shown that those who adhere to a Mediterranean diet tend to weigh less than those who don’t. Additionally, they often feel more satisfied after eating. However, there is still a lot of research needed before we can be certain about any of these findings. Here’s what we do know so far… The Importance Of Eating Fatty Foods On The Mediterranean Diet: It’s been said that no man ever became fat by eating lean meat. While certainly not an ironclad rule—unless you’re only choosing between two foods, all meals involve calories—there are some basic guidelines when it comes to incorporating fats into your lifestyle. And as much as nutrition experts like myself might cringe at saying it, one of these rules involves steak every now and then.


Mediterranean diet recipes have been popular for years and it’s easy to see why. This diet emphasizes healthy fats like olive oil, protein-rich foods like fish, and fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts. Mediterranean diet recipes are also naturally low in salt—another plus. Although there is a lot of debate about which foods should be considered part of a Mediterranean diet (there are three main schools of thought), one thing that everyone agrees on is that it’s best to eat as many unprocessed or minimally processed ingredients as possible, while avoiding meats raised with antibiotics, hormones or pesticides; which basically means eating whole food versions of your favorite dishes! I think that’s something we can all get behind!

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