Mediterranean Food

Mediterranean food and cuisine comes from the 21 countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea. These are: Italy, France, Greece, Turkey, Spain Lebanon and various other countries in the Mediterranean. Mediterranean food primarily consists of fresh fruits and vegetables with emphasis on seafood, poultry, grains, rice, beans and pastas. Grilling and boiling are the primary methods for cooking foods.  The diet uses spices for seasoning instead of salt. 

Fish and Poultry

Two servings of fish or shellfish per week should be consumed on the Mediterranean diet. Fish and poultry should be consumed in place of red meat. Limit Red meat to a max of 16oz per month.

Recommended sources of protein:

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Oysters
  • Shrimp
  • Salmon
  • Squid
  • Mackerel
  • Mussels
  • Tuna
  • Lobster
  • Tilapia
  • Salmon
  • Flounder

Healthy Fats

Olive oil is used as the main source of fat for flavor and to prepare food items. Canola oil can also be used in place of butter, vegetable oil and margarine. Butter and margarine are not used regularly when following the Mediterranean diet. Healthy fats such as Olive oil can lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and raise HDL (good cholesterol). When purchasing Olive oil choose Virgin or Extra Virgin Olive oil. These oils are minimally processed and provide the highest amount of protective plant compounds and antioxidants.

Vegetables and Fruits

Vegetables should be consumed in large amounts when following the Mediterranean diet. When following the Mediterranean diet it is suggested to consume additional vegetables that are high in iron and Vitamin C as the reduction of red meats from your diet can negatively effect your iron levels.

They include :

  • Artichokes
  • Eggplant
  • Celery
  • Broccoli
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Peppers
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Celery
  • Tomatoes
Replace sweats with fruit for dessert. 
  • Apples
  • Cherries
  • Dates
  • Peaches
  • Grapefruit
  • Melon
  • Strawberries
Around 7 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables should be consumed per day.
 

Dairy

Low to moderate amounts of dairy foods, such as yogurt, cheese and milk are permitted on the Mediterranean diet. However, low-fat or fat-free versions should be used instead of full-fat versions.

Grains

The grains that you use on the diet contain little to no saturated and trans fats. Refined carbohydrates are rarely used and most of the foods are derived from whole grain sources.

  • Wheat
  • Oats
  • Bulgur
  • Couscous
  • Rice
  • Barley

Beverages

A glass of red wine per day is permitted  on the eating plan. Avoid sugary soft drinks and fruit juices as they contain refined sources of sugars.

Nuts

Nuts are another part of the Mediterranean diet. Approximately 80% of the calories in nuts come from fats. Most of the fat in nuts are not saturated. Because nuts are high in calories no more than a handful a day should be consumed.

Now that you have a good idea of the food components required for the Mediterranean diet you can head over to the mediterranean recipes section to get started.