Mediterranean Diet: Meal Plan, Food List & Top 10 Benefits

SixFruits Editor

The Mediterranean diet is mostly known for its traditional dishes made from vegetables, fruits, pasta, seafood, and whole grains.

Several studies have shown that following a Mediterranean diet is beneficial because:

  • Reduce the risk of heart disease
  • May prevent type 2 diabetes
  • Helps you lose weight

Unlike other diets, it emphasizes eating foods in their natural state.

For people looking to lose weight or stay healthy, the Mediterranean Diet is a good choice.

The Basics

mediterranean diet health benefits
Bread, veggies, and yogurt
  • You can eat: extra virgin olive oil, vegetables, fruits, nuts, potatoes, seeds, whole grains, breads, spices, herbs, fish, seafood and legumes.
  • You can eat in moderation: eggs, poultry, yogurt and cheese.
  • Eat only rarely: red meat.
  • Don’t eat: refined oils, sugar-sweetened beverages, refined grains, processed meat, other highly processed foods and added sugars.

Mediterranean Diet Health Benefits

The Mediterranean diet is one of the most healthy diets because it is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients.

The American scientist Ancel Keys from the University of Minnesota School of Power discovered a correlation between cardiovascular disease and diet habits.

Ancel Keys is credited with discovering the health benefits of this diet.

The Mediterranean Diet Health Benefits include:

  1. May Help You Live Longer
  2. Reduces The Risk of Heart Disease
  3. May Help Manage or Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
  4. May Lower Cognitive Decline
  5. May Benefit Patients With Arthritis
  6. May Help With Weight Loss
  7. May Reduce Blood Pressure
  8. May Protect Against Cancer
  9. Can Reduce The Risk of Stroke
  10. May Reduce Cholesterol Levels

Mediterranean Diet: List of Foods To Consume

Mediterranean diet food list
Mediterranean diet food list

The Mediterranean diet is based on the consumption of fruits and vegetables, disregarding red meat.

In turn, it is best to consume fish or seafood twice a week.

These are the foods that you should base your Mediterranean diet on.

Mediterranean diet food list:

  1. Legumes: peas, beans, pulses, lentils, chickpeas, peanuts, etc.
  2. Fruits: oranges, apples, pears, bananas, grapes, strawberries, figs, dates, peaches, melons, etc.
  3. Vegetables: broccoli, tomatoes, spinach, kale, cauliflower, onions, cucumbers, carrots, Brussels sprouts, etc.
  4. Nuts and seeds: walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, cashews, etc.
  5. Tubers: sweet potatoes, potatoes, yams, turnips, etc.
  6. Fish and seafood: trout, salmon, tuna, sardines, shrimp, mackerel, clams, oysters, mussels, crab, etc.
  7. Whole grains: brown rice, whole oats, corn, pasta, rye, barley, whole wheat, buckwheat and whole-grain bread.
  8. Eggs: quail, chicken, and duck eggs.
  9. Poultry: duck, chicken, turkey, etc.
  10. Dairy: Greek yogurt, yogurt, cheese, etc.
  11. Healthy Fats: avocados, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil and olives.
  12. Herbs and spices: mint, basil, rosemary, garlic, nutmeg, sage, pepper, cinnamon, etc.

Mediterranean Diet: What to Drink

The Mediterranean diet recommends drinking water.

In turn, you can drink a glass of wine a day (although it is not strictly necessary).

As for tea and coffee, they can be consumed but not sweetened with processed sugars.

Mediterranean Diet: List of Foods To Avoid

Mediterranean Diet- List of Foods To Avoid
Mediterranean Diet: Foods To Avoid

First, you need to read food labels to find out what they contain.

On the other hand, these are the foods you should avoid:

  1. Refined grains: pasta made with refined wheat, white bread, etc.
  2. Added sugar: ice cream, soda, table sugar, candies, etc. 
  3. Refined oils: cottonseed oil, canola oil, soybean oil, etc.
  4. Trans fats: found in various processed foods.
  5. Processed meat: hot dogs, processed sausages, etc.

Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan For 1 Week

Here is a weekly Mediterranean diet model:

Monday:

  • Breakfast: oatmeal with raisins.
  • Lunch: a whole sandwich with vegetables.
  • Dinner: salad with feta cheese, olives, and tomatoes.

Tuesday:

  • Breakfast: Greek yogurt with strawberries and oatmeal.
  • Lunch: tuna salad with olive oil.
  • Dinner: Mediterranean vegetable lasagna.

Wednesday:

  • Breakfast: yogurt with fruits and nuts.
  • Lunch: leftover lasagna from the day before.
  • Dinner: whole grain sandwich with vegetables and cheese.

Thursday:

  • Breakfast: Omelette with vegetables. A piece of fruit.
  • Lunch: tuna salad.
  • Dinner: salmon with brown rice and vegetables.

Friday:

  • Breakfast: oatmeal with walnuts and apple.
  • Lunch: eggs and vegetables with olive oil.
  • Dinner: Mediterranean pizza made with whole grain.

Saturday:

  • Breakfast: Greek yogurt with strawberries and walnuts.
  • Lunch: leftover pizza from the night before.
  • Dinner: grilled lamb with salad.

Sunday:

  • Breakfast: omelet with vegetables.
  • Lunch: whole grain sandwich with vegetables.
  • Dinner: grilled chicken with potatoes and vegetables.

Mediterranean Diet Snacks

Mediterranean Diet Snacks

When following the Mediterranean diet it is advisable to eat only three meals a day.

However, if you are hungry, you can consume any of the snacks listed below.

Mediterranean diet snacks:

  • Carrots
  • lettuce
  • A piece of fruit
  • Nuts
  • Greek yogurt
  • Grapes
  • Berries
  • An apple with almond butter

How to Follow the Diet at Restaurants

It is not very difficult to follow the Mediterranean diet in a restaurant.

You can choose to ask that your food be cooked with extra-virgin olive oil and try to eat only whole grain bread with olives (to avoid butter).

It is also preferable to choose one of the fish on the menu.

Mediterranean Diet Shopping List

Mediterranean Diet shopping list
Mediterranean Diet shopping list

When making purchases for the Mediterranean diet, it is best to choose the least processed options.

In addition, it is essential to eat organic food and avoid buying processed foods with a large amount of sugar so as not to be tempted.

These are the foods that should be on your shopping list:

  1. Fruits
  2. Vegetables  
  3. Frozen veggies
  4. Berries
  5. Legumes
  6. Grains
  7. Seeds
  8. Nuts
  9. Condiments
  10. Shrimp and shellfish
  11. Fish
  12. Cheese
  13. Potatoes and sweet potatoes.
  14. Greek yogurt
  15. Pastured or omega-3 enriched eggs
  16. Olives
  17. Chicken
  18. Extra virgin olive oil

Conclusion

Although there are several ways to follow the Mediterranean diet, this model can serve as an example.

If you are interested, you can look for more information in Mediterranean diet recipe books. In this way, you can vary the foods.

Just remember, the Mediterranean diet is a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and fish.

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