EATING ON THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET
A t the heart of any successful diet are the foods that you will enjoy. Regardless of the rules or origin of a diet, it’s important to know what you’ll be eating and how best to prepare
and enjoy your meals.
Happily, the Mediterranean diet offers wonderful variety and has very few “forbidden” items. Aside from replacing butter with olive oil, processed foods with fresh, and most meat with fish and plant-based proteins, there is very little that you have to sacrifice in order to follow the diet.
You can snack at will, enjoy delicious desserts, and visit your favorite restaurants on the Mediterranean diet, without counting calories or weighing your food.
Transitioning from a typical Western diet to the Mediterranean diet is all about learning how to shop for the freshest ingredients and reorganizing your daily food pyramid to emphasize fresh fruits and vegetables, healthful fats, and seafood over meat and starch.
It’s an easy transition to make, and most people find that within a few weeks they are looking forward to their meals and learning to savor them in a way that they hadn’t before.
What’s on Your Plate?
The traditional Western diet is very low in fresh fruits and vegetables and very high in starchy foods and red meat. In contrast, the Mediterranean diet is based largely on fresh produce, with whole grains at most meals, seafood several times per week, and meat only a few times per month, usually in small portions.
Olive oil is used far more often than butter, and cream-based sauces, salad dressings, and soups are very rarely eaten. Instead, meals may include tomato-based sauces, vinaigrettes, and clear soups.
While no meat is forbidden on the Mediterranean diet, it is not the staple that it is in the Western world. It’s more often served as a side dish or used as flavoring than it is an entrée by itself. Poultry is eaten more than beef, pork, or lamb, and eggs are a more common source of protein than is meat.
Here is what your typical daily diet should look like: