Looking for simple meals that are still full of complex flavor? What about a healthy, well-rounded diet that isn’t just about cutting out certain food? The Mediterranean diet is the perfect fit for you. Like the name suggests, the Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional ways of eating you might find in the countries by the Mediterranean Sea. The Mediterranean diet helps with weight loss and weight management, reduces the risk of heart disease, improves your mood, and so much more.
The diet can be broken down into 8 key food habits:
- Eat Plenty of Vegetables
Aim to fill about half your plate with a colorful variety of vegetables. Eating diverse veggies provides you with the full range of important vitamins.
- Rethink Red Meat
Make meat a smaller proportion of your meals rather than the main dish. Eating less red meat can improve heart health.
- Try Unique Dairy Products
Greek yogurt and artisan cheeses are the perfect way to add unique flavors to snacks or meals while also getting some enriching calcium.
- Have Seafood Twice a Week
Fish like tuna or salmon or shellfish like mussels or clams are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that promote heart and brain health.
- Go Vegetarian for a Day
Try building meals around beans like chickpeas or hearty vegetables. Once you’re comfortable doing it once a week, try twice!
- Incorporate Good Fats
Replace saturated fats where possible and avoid trans fats. Sources of good fats include olive oil, nuts, avocados, and more!
- Switch to Whole Grains
On top of containing fewer simple carbs, whole grains include more fiber and help keep you full for longer.
- Try Fresh Fruit for Dessert
While other sweets are fine for celebrations and special occasions, fresh fruit can be just as delicious and much healthier.
Try it at Home: Mediterranean Grain Bowl
Griffin’s Executive Chef Daryeal Murphy showed us how to make a simple but nutritionally rich grain bowl. Chef Murphy’s grain of choice was quinoa, though other whole grains like brown rice or farro could work just as well! The other core ingredient in the grain bowl was a mix of cauliflower, chickpeas, and sweet potatoes—all roasted to highlight the flavor of their natural sugars. To top it all off, Chef Murphy prepared a dressing of turmeric, curry, currants, and vinegar. When all put together, the dish is a satisfying mixture of sweet and savory and full of nutrients!
The Mediterranean diet isn’t just about food though—activity and socialization are both important parts of the lifestyle. Finding simple ways to increase your activity throughout the day, like parking farther away or taking the stairs instead of the elevator, help you reap even more benefits from eating healthy. As you learn to prepare new meals and dishes, that’s the perfect opportunity to socialize with friends and family. Share stories (and maybe even your new lifestyle knowledge!) over a healthy and delicious meal.
To learn more about how you can change your health through food, check out these other healthy eating videos from the Griffin Center for Healthy Living.