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Mediterranean Diet Plan: Everything You Need To Know And A Diet Plan For Beginners

Discover what makes for a healthy diet and how to make that shift to a wholesome Mediterranean diet plan. Also find tips on how to make it even better for you.
Updated: Jul 03, 2020 14:45 IST
Mediterranean Diet Plan: Everything You Need To Know And A Diet Plan For Beginners
Mediterranean Diet Plan

Mediterranean diet is what people from Crete, Greece, and Southern Italy, and even from parts of France, follow and it has become very popular for showing results in lowering occurrence of heart problems, heart diseases, and obesity. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, eggs, whole grains and good fats like those from fish, olive oils, and nuts make for the core of a Mediterranean diet plan. This diet plan focuses on very low consumption of non-fish meat, and also focuses on spending more time while eating.

A Mediterranean diet presses low on carbs, keeping the current sedentary lifestyle in mind. Use of soups, pickled vegetables, and natural sweeteners is also encouraged in this diet plan.  

After an acute observation in 1960 about fewer deaths in the Mediterranean region due to coronary heart diseases, a study proved that their diet is focused on heart-healthy diet. This diet hence has been recognised by the World Health Organisation as a healthy and sustainable diet.

What is a Mediterranean Diet?

Mediterranean food is not all that makes for a long and healthy living in those who follow it, hence adapting the Mediterranean lifestyle in all ways is what you should look at.

The ones who follow the lifestyle believe in conversations, spending time with family, sharing their food, and also a lot of physical activity. Cheese, wine, yoghurt and some sweets also make for the diet plan. But a regular snack is usually handful of nuts or fresh vegetables. Portion sizes are not defined, but they emphasize on sharing food with family, which makes one stuff less and also eat slowly.

Heavy gymming, weight lifting or a chalked out workout plans do not make for Mediterranean style of living, instead moving a lot naturally is recommended. Imagine walking your way to your workplace or climbing up the stairs instead of taking the elevator.

Mediterranean's are naturally very joyous people and they stay happy and laugh a lot; they truly and literally believe that “laughter is the best medicine”. Most of the Mediterranean people love to talk and share stories that always have an angle of humor, which means they keep spreading the joy they contain.

Hoarding is another concept which is alien to them - Mediterraneans don't believe in stocking up things.

Buying a variety of fruits and vegetables of different colours is also one of their priority. They rather would take multiple trips to the market to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, instead of stocking them up in one go.

Eating mindlessly in-between meals is another thing that they completely avoid. A meal is a celebration for them and hence staying hungry for that meal is equally important. They don't walk up to the cafeteria in the middle of the day, and neither do they gulp in those extra sugary beverages in between. Instead a handful of nuts, a fruit or carrots with hummus is what the Mediterraneans prefer.

Mediterranean people believe in cooking their meals at home and savoring the flavors of their craft. So if you are someone who loves eating out, its going to be tough getting to a Mediterranean lifestyle. Pasta for them is whole grain pasta cooked in spinach sauce and loaded with vegetables.

As for liquor goes, a little of red wine is always welcome, but only in moderation. Alcohol has been associated with health problems hence consuming it in controlled levels is ultra-important for the Mediterraneans.

Mediterranean Diet: A Beginner's Guide

  1. Fruits and Vegetables: Include more serves of fresh fruits and vegetables. If you already do then increase it to about seven-ten servings a day.
  2. Whole grains instead of all-purpose white flour.
  3. Pasta means whole grain pasta.
  4. Replace butter with olive oil for cooking and flavored herb olive oil as a bread spread.
  5. Include seafood for at least twice a week- fresh water fish being a preferred choice.
  6. Include some cheese and yoghurt to your diet- low fat Greek-yogurt makes for a good choice.
  7. Consume lesser salt, include more spices and herbs, instead.
  8. Don't eat red meat, processed meat, poultry, refined oils, and processed foods.
  9. Stay away from sugar drinks, candies, ice creams, table sugar, hotdog, sausages, white breads and the likes.
  10. Your go to drink can be wine and water, red wine but only occasionally about one glass a day.

A Standard Recommended Mediterranean Diet Plan

A Mediterranean diet is whole solely three meals a day and no snacks in between. Here we will look at some samples of what a Mediterranean diet consists of.

Day 1:

Breakfast : Oats soaked in Greek Yoghurt with berries

Lunch : Whole grain vegetable sandwiches

Dinner : Tuna with fresh vegetables cooked in olive oil, and a fruit for after dinner for a dessert

Day 2:

Breakfast : Oats with nuts soaked in yogurt

Lunch : Diced fish with vegetables

Dinner : Tomatoes, olives, cheese salad

Day 3:

Breakfast : Egg with vegetables and fruit

Lunch : Cheese sandwich with vegetables

Dinner : Lasagne Mediterranean style

Day 4:

Breakfast : Yogurt with nuts and fruits

Lunch : Salmon with vegetables

Dinner : Whole wheat Mediterranean pizza, topped vegetables and cheese

Day 5:

Breakfast : Oatmeal with apples and raisins

Lunch : Whole grain sandwich

Dinner : Salmon with rice and vegetables

Day 6:

Breakfast : Eggs with olives and vegetables

Lunch : Greek yogurt with oats, berries and nuts.

Dinner : Grilled chicken with potato

Things To Stock In Your Fridge To Begin The Mediterranean Diet 

  • Vegetables: Broccoli, carrots, onions, spinach, corn, kale, peas, asparagus, cabbage, sweet potato, potato, garlic, etc.
  • Fruits: Apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, strawberries, blueberries etc.
  • Grains: Whole-grain bread, whole-grain pasta, etc.
  • Legumes: Beans, lentils, pulses etc.
  • Nuts: Raisins, almonds, walnuts, cashews, etc.
  • Seeds: Flax seeds, Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
  • Condiments: Sea salt, pepper, cinnamon, etc.
  • Fish: Salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout.
  • Cheese
  • Greek yogurt
  • Chicken
  • Virgin Olive Oil
  • Pastured or omega-3 enriched eggs.
  • Olives

Frequently Asked Questions About Mediterranean Diet

Q. What is not allowed in a Mediterranean diet?

A. Mediterranean diet does not allow any refined foods, grains, sugary food products, and red meats.

Q. Why is a Mediterranean diet recommended?

A. Mediterranean diet is a heart-healthy diet format, which is why it is highly recommended. It also helps fight against Type 2 diabetes.

Q. Are hot beverages like tea and coffee allowed in a Mediterranean diet?

A. The best go to drink is water, but coffee and tea are also acceptable, but any sugary drinks are to be avoided.

Q. What is the most common breakfast in a Mediterranean diet?

A. For breakfast Mediterranean diet commonly follows - Oats, Greek-yogurt, berries, eggs, avocados, nuts and seeds.

Q. What is the most common snack option in a Mediterranean diet?

A. Mediterranean diet follows a three meal format, but if you feel hungry in between, then a handful of nuts, seeds, fresh vegetables, fruits, hummus are a good option.

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Sshradha is well-known as the "queen of sarcasm and wit" which makes reading her write-ups fun, Someone who is forever craving for delicious spicy food and is fond of travelling too. Her weekends are often spent at movie theatres or at home reading gripping fiction books and biographies. Her company is indeed a blessing as with her you can never have a gloomy day. Her exquisiteness of work is something not so often found. Wanna be friends with her? Then just get her some home cooked delicious food!

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