Food List, Health Benefits & Meal Plan


The Mediterranean weight-reduction plan is extra in style in the present day than ever earlier than and for good motive. Not solely has the weight-reduction plan been ranked as primary for the previous 5 years in a row by the U.S. Information & World Report, however researchers have been learning the weight-reduction plan for over half a century and proceed to search out great advantages (extra on that later). The actual motive why the weight-reduction plan has gained such a following is that it is filled with high-quality, scrumptious meals that make wholesome consuming pleasant and satisfying.

The strategy focuses on an abundance of wholesome, anti-inflammatory meals and would not minimize out any main meals teams. It’s no surprise that Ikaria, an island in Greece, and Sardinia, an island in Italy, have each been designated as two of the 5 Blue Zones of the world the place individuals stay the longest. Learn on to study extra about the way to comply with the weight-reduction plan, together with a full Mediterranean weight-reduction plan meals checklist and a pattern 7-day plan to kick begin your wholesome consuming journey.

What’s the Mediterranean Food plan?

The Mediterranean means of consuming is impressed by the standard cuisines of Greece, Spain, Italy and France, amongst others. The strategy is wealthy in produce, entire grains, legumes and wholesome fat, supplying tons of antioxidants and heart-healthy unsaturated fat. Different celebrity components on the weight-reduction plan embrace fatty fish, nuts, seeds, fragrant herbs and spices.


Average quantities of dairy and eggs are loved in addition to poultry. Crimson meat is integrated however in smaller quantities and comes from sources like beef and goat. Alcohol (particularly pink wine) is included carefully. What differentiates the Mediterranean weight-reduction plan from most is that it focuses on meals high quality and is extra of a means of consuming and way of life strategy than a restrictive weight-reduction plan. You will not have to chop out any main meals teams or favorites, however moderation is essential with this plan.

Mediterranean Food plan well being advantages

A number of the most compelling proof to assist a Mediterranean weight-reduction plan led to a surge in recognition again in 2013: A staff on the College of Barcelona studied greater than 7,000 contributors who drastically improved their coronary heart well being after adopting the weight-reduction plan. The scientific proof of the weight-reduction plan’s effectiveness has piled up since then. Analysis continues to persistently present the various advantages of following a Mediterranean weight-reduction plan, from decreasing the chance of coronary heart illness to bettering cognition. A number of the unbelievable advantages of the Mediterranean weight-reduction plan embrace that it will probably:

  • Enhance ldl cholesterol and blood stress
  • Optimize mind operate
  • Thrust back nervousness and despair
  • Defend in opposition to persistent ailments like coronary heart illness, diabetes and sure cancers
  • Enhance signs of rheumatoid arthritis
  • Help improved fertility
  • Promote wholesome digestion
  • Enhance imaginative and prescient and eye well being
  • Help wholesome pores and skin and fight untimely indicators of ageing
  • Help in weight administration
  • Promote longevity

Are there any dangers to following a Mediterranean Food plan?

With so many advantages and scrumptious meals, there are few downsides to the Mediterranean weight-reduction plan and it is probably fantastic for most individuals to begin however it’s advisable to talk along with your healthcare supplier first. That being mentioned, some potential dangers can embrace that the weight-reduction plan might not present sufficient calcium and iron because it would not have an enormous emphasis on dairy merchandise and pink meat.

Some recipes and meals on the weight-reduction plan generally is a bit time-consuming to organize, and sure components like seafood and high-quality olive oil could be expensive. Whereas the weight-reduction plan does enable wine, moderation is essential as extreme alcohol use can’t solely have tragic penalties within the quick time period however may also result in the event of a number of persistent ailments and different critical issues. Lastly, the weight-reduction plan would not have strict tips or portion sizes to comply with which can be a deterrent for some.

An entire Mediterranean Food plan meals checklist

mediterranean salad with greens and seeds in a blue bowl

JulPo//Getty Photos

A Mediterranean kitchen is filled with contemporary produce, lean proteins, seafood and wholesome fat. Listed below are some scrumptious components that you just may discover helpful when stocking your kitchen so as to add Mediterranean taste to each meal.


Plant-based meals like greens and fruits are a robust basis of the Mediterranean weight-reduction plan. They provide a hearty dose of nutritional vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and extra which makes them nutrient-dense decisions since they include a excessive quantity of vitamins for a comparatively low quantity of energy. Plus, it has been effectively established in analysis that elevated fruit and vegetable consumption can forestall persistent illness and promote longevity. However solely about 10% of People meet the really helpful fruit and vegetable consumption tips.

Purpose for no less than 5 servings a day of produce day by day, or about 2 servings of fruit and three servings of greens. A serving of greens is ½ cup of cooked greens or 1 cup of uncooked greens. Our specialists advocate prioritizing non-starchy greens like darkish leafy greens, bell peppers and broccoli amongst others. Starchy choices like potatoes could be loved carefully on a Mediterranean weight-reduction plan. A serving of fruit is about 1 medium sized piece of entire fruit or 1/2 cup contemporary, frozen or canned. A number of the finest nutrient-dense fruits embrace berries, apples, peaches and pears.

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Artichokes
  • Arugula
  • Avocado
  • Beets
  • Bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cherries
  • Clementines
  • Cucumber
  • Dandelion greens
  • Dates
  • Eggplant
  • Figs
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Kale
  • Lemons
  • Melons
  • Mushrooms
  • Mustard greens
  • Nectarines
  • Okra
  • Olives
  • Onions
  • Oranges
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Peas
  • Peppers
  • Pomegranates
  • Potatoes and candy potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Radishes
  • Scallions
  • Shallots
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Tangerines
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Zucchini

Legumes, Nuts & Grains

This class of Mediterranean pantry staples are additionally nutrient-dense decisions and may pack in a ton of fiber and plant-based protein. Purpose to incorporate no less than one legume, nut or grain (or all three!) in every meal whereas following the weight-reduction plan.

Consuming extra entire grains, an emphasis in most Mediterranean meals, is related to decrease threat for persistent ailments together with heart problems and most cancers. People are consuming extra entire grains however not sufficient; analysis exhibits that lower than 16% of complete grain consumption per day comes from entire grains. A minimal of three servings of entire grains per day is good, which features a slice of entire grain bread or a half cup of cooked oatmeal, entire grain pasta or brown rice. Easy methods to incorporate extra entire grains in your weight-reduction plan begins with swapping white pasta and white rice for entire grain sides as an alternative like quinoa, bulgar, wheat berries and extra. Oats are additionally a simple entire grain addition so as to add to breakfast for a nutritious answer.

Beans, lentils, nuts and seeds present protein, fiber, wholesome fat, taste and extra to Mediterranean dishes. They’re in style worldwide and have been consumed for no less than 10,000 years. Common consumption of legumes have been proven to enhance levels of cholesterol and blood stress whereas additionally decreasing inflammatory markers within the physique. Beans and lentils generally is a nice protein supply so as to add to grain bowls, veggie dishes and extra. Nuts and seeds make for an amazing Mediterranean wholesome snack, simply search for choices which might be unsalted or low in sodium. A number of the healthiest nuts embrace walnuts, almonds and pistachios.

  • Almonds
  • Beans (cannellini, chickpeas, fava, inexperienced, kidney and navy)
  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Bulgur wheat
  • Couscous
  • Farro
  • Lentils (pink, yellow and inexperienced)
  • Oats
  • Orzo
  • Pine nuts
  • Pistachios
  • Quinoa
  • Walnuts
  • Wheat berries
  • Yellow cut up peas

Herbs, Spices and Condiments

Herbs and spices are nature’s taste bombs and are a few of the explanation why Mediterranean meals style scrumptious and odor unbelievable. Not solely do these meals add nice taste and dimension to meals, however they’re filled with antioxidants and anti inflammatory properties. Using extra herbs and spices in your cooking may also help you chop down the sodium in meals as effectively with out sacrificing taste.

Excessive-quality olive oil from the Mediterranean is a crucial a part of cooking in these areas. Search for single origin 100% olive oil and go for ones offered in tinted or opaque bottles or cans to guard the oil from the sunshine which may also help it keep brisker longer. At all times remember to retailer oil in a cool and dry place. Vinegar is one other essential merchandise to have in your Mediterranean pantry because it comprises polyphenols and may also help steadiness out dressings and lots of dishes.

  • Anise
  • Basil
  • Bay leaves
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Crushed pink pepper flakes
  • Cumin
  • Dill weed
  • Additional virgin olive oil
  • Garlic powder
  • Mint
  • Nutmeg
  • Olive oil
  • Onion powder
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Sesame seeds and tahini
  • Smoked paprika
  • Sumac
  • Thyme
  • Vinegar: apple cider, balsamic and pink wine varieties
  • Za’atar

Dairy & Cheese (carefully)

Though cheese, yogurt and different dairy merchandise are eaten regularly within the Mediterranean, they’re usually consumed in small quantities and carefully. They do present a ton of vitamin together with calcium, protein and extra. However sure varieties could be excessive in saturated fats, so our specialists advocate prioritizing low fats and non fats choices when attainable.

  • Feta
  • Greek yogurt
  • Goat cheese
  • Halloumi
  • Manchego
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Pecorino
  • Ricotta

Meat & Seafood (carefully)

Fish tends to be the popular wholesome protein supply for a lot of Mediterranean populations, and they’re usually grilled or baked as an alternative of fried. Analysis means that common fish consumption can cut back threat of coronary heart illness, stroke, despair, Alzheimer’s and several other different persistent ailments. Lots of the disease-fighting advantages of fish come from its coronary heart wholesome omega 3 fatty acids, which have been linked to benefitting ldl cholesterol, triglycerides, irritation and even blood clotting.

Meat is consumed within the Mediterranean and is stuffed with bioavailable vitamins like vitamin B12 and full protein, however most within the area get pleasure from it in small parts and prioritize leaner cuts. Meat could be excessive in saturated fats, which is understood to extend ranges of ldl cholesterol within the blood, so moderation is essential. Poultry is in style as it’s a lean protein supply, making choices like rooster a staple on many Mediterranean menus.

  • Hen
  • Eggs
  • Crimson meat (sparingly, largely beef, goat and lamb)
  • Octopus
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Shrimp
  • Tuna

Suggestions for sticking with a Mediterranean Food plan

The Mediterranean weight-reduction plan has loads going for it, from its well being advantages to its refreshing meals decisions, which makes it pretty straightforward to comply with. These small however sensible ideas may also help you stick with the weight-reduction plan in the long run too:

  • Prep Your Kitchen: You’re extra prone to make wholesome decisions when you’ve nutritious and scrumptious components on the prepared in your kitchen. Use the Mediterranean weight-reduction plan meals checklist beneath that will help you get began. Necessities that you just all the time need to have available are an assortment of contemporary produce, nuts, seeds, high-quality olive oil, and entire grains.
  • Eat Mindfully: In an effort to absolutely immerse your self, it’s essential to disconnect from electronics and main distractions throughout mealtime. Silence your telephone, flip off the TV and sit down on the kitchen desk so you’re absolutely current within the meal. This emphasis on connecting and having fun with meals with others in actual life is a crucial basic of the Mediterranean way of life. Whenever you eat too shortly or whereas scrolling in your telephone, you may miss the entire expertise and end up feeling much less glad along with your meal.
  • Gradual Down: Purpose to make meals final for no less than 20 minutes since it will probably take that period of time in your abdomen to sign to your mind that it is full. Take time to chew your meals, savor the flavors and respect every chunk. Should you discover that you just’re nonetheless going very quick, attempt to set your fork down after each few bites. Give your self time to digest the meal and get in tune with satiety, the sensation of fullness and satisfaction that you just get from consuming.
  • Snack Sensible: Plan for the unplanned by maintaining a conveyable snack with you always simply in case a gathering runs late otherwise you get caught in site visitors. Having a wholesome choice to tide you over is essential. Roasted crunchy chickpeas or do-it-yourself path combine are straightforward transportable snacks to maintain in your bag or desk at work.
  • Keep Hydrated: Each single cell within the human physique wants water to operate, and hydration can also be essential for optimizing your metabolic fee. It doesn’t matter what sort of consuming plan you undertake, staying hydrated is essential for maintaining your physique glad and wholesome. An inexpensive purpose for the common particular person is about eight cups per day. For a extra correct hydration estimate, attempt to drink 1⁄2 oz. of water for every pound you weigh. Should you weigh 160 lbs., it will equal 80 oz. of water or 10 cups.
  • Prioritize Sleep: Sleep is important to each bodily course of and impacts every part from our immunity and metabolism to persistent illness threat and psychological well being. Insufficient sleep even impacts your urge for food and meals decisions. The quantity of hours you sleep at evening is essential but additionally the standard of that sleep is critical too. Sticking to a sleep schedule is good for optimizing your sleep, so attempt going to mattress across the identical time and waking up across the identical time every day.
  • Join: Significant relationships with others are a key piece of the Mediterranean way of life. Once more, meals are sometimes seen as alternatives to share time with family and friends, shifting the main focus from meals to connection. Make an effort to attach with these you’re keen on and care about as you begin the journey, whether or not it is a easy telephone name after work or a post-dinner stroll along with your partner. This connection element might even assist preserve you motivated and accountable.
  • Get Transferring: Decide to sitting much less and transferring extra, even when it is only a fast stroll or raking leaves outdoors. Any motion counts! Bodily exercise has advantages that vary from strengthening bones and muscle tissue to even bettering mind well being and decreasing the chance of persistent illness. Should you’re managing your weight, train may also help with that too. At all times seek the advice of your healthcare supplier earlier than beginning a brand new train routine.

Eating out on a Mediterranean Food plan

gilt head bream in a baking tray decorated with lemon

Anna Pekunova//Getty Photos

Should you’re heading to a Mediterranean restaurant, chances are high they are going to have loads of applicable choices so that you can select from. Listed below are a number of ideas for staying in keeping with the consuming sample whereas eating out:

  • Begin with a salad
  • Select fish or seafood as your primary
  • Request further veggies on the facet
  • Go for non-starchy greens like darkish leafy greens
  • Ask for entire grain bread or pita as an alternative of white varieties
  • Use olive oil as an alternative of butter
  • Keep hydrated with water or glowing water all through your meal
  • Go for a stroll after dinner with a liked one

Pattern 7-day Mediterranean Food plan meal plan

Our easy, nutritionist-approved one-week Mediterranean Food plan plan is ideal for alleviating into the approach to life and making it sensible for you.

On the lookout for extra recipes and meal plan inspiration? Try Good Housekeeping‘s bestselling 28-day Mediterranean Food plan meal plan that options step-by-step directions, curated recipes, journaling and each tip it is advisable to prep your kitchen for achievement.

The 28-Day Mediterranean Food plan

The 28-Day Mediterranean Diet

The 28-Day Mediterranean Food plan

Why belief Good Housekeeping?

As deputy vitamin director of the Good Housekeeping Institute, registered dietitian Stefani Sassos handles all nutrition-related content material, analysis and product testing for the model. Stefani is devoted to evidence-based weight-reduction plan and vitamin reporting. She takes the heartbeat of the newest vitamin analysis and tendencies, translating to readers what ideas are science-backed and value incorporating right into a wholesome way of life (and what fads are value avoiding). Rising up in a Greek-American household, Mediterranean meals had been (and nonetheless are!) on the forefront of all her household meals and traditions.

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