6 Ways to Incorporate the Mediterranean Diet into Your Daily Life
Why Should You be Following the Mediterranean Diet?
The health benefits of the Mediterranean diet are so extensive that it’s not uncommon to find one that improves the well-being of most people. Benefits range from improving brain health, skin benefits, decreasing the risk of type 2 diabetes, and decreasing cancer mortality. With all of these benefits in mind, it's not so crazy to think that the Mediterranean diet could be right for you too!
And now that you know why this diet may be right for you, it's time to learn how easy it is to follow.
6 Ways to Incorporate the Mediterranean Diet into Your Life:
1. Choose whole grains
When choosing a grain for your meal, opt for whole grains. Making this change can be easy by switching out items like white bread and white rice for whole grains such as brown rice, farro, quinoa, polenta, and bulgar. Choosing whole wheat bread over white bread is a great place to start. Quick tip – look for items with at least 5 g or 20% fiber on the nutrition label!
2. Eat more beans and legumes
Beans and legumes are a great source of plant based protein, as well as fiber to keep you full. Adding more beans to your diet is easy and delicious. Try adding beans like black beans, garbanzo beans, cannellini beans, or kidney beans on top of a salad, in a wrap, blended into a dip. You can even make a quick chilled salad by mixing them with some grains and raw or cooked veggies.
3. Add nuts and seeds
Adding nuts and seeds to your diet is the perfect way to increase your consumption of healthy fats. When you feel like you need a little pick me up throughout the day, try adding nuts or seeds in your snack to provide you with some long-lasting energy that’ll keep you going. You can do this by grabbing a handful of mixed nuts and seeds (walnuts, peanuts, almonds, pistachios, etc.), dipping an apple or celery into your favorite nut butter, adding nut butter on top of toast, or adding nuts or seeds on top of salads and soups for a more hearty choice.
4. Use extra virgin olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil is one of the primary fat sources in the Mediterranean diet, and incorporating more in your diet is simple. Try drizzling extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) over raw or cooked vegetables, use it to cook fish and vegetables, use it in a salad dressing, or add it to pasta and rice dishes.
5. Opt for fish and poultry
When choosing a protein for your meal, try opting for fish, poultry, and eggs. These protein options are more commonly chosen in the Mediterranean diet and can be prepared in many ways. Try grilling, searing, or oven baking fish or chicken for different meals and flavor profiles. Add your protein to salads, grain bowls, and sandwiches.
6. Have red meat sparingly
Red meat is consumed in moderation in the Mediterranean diet. Instead of red meat, try replacing it with another protein option mentioned above, or even a plant based protein like beans or legumes.
Incorporating the Mediterranean diet and eating style into your life might seem daunting, but trust me, it’s simple once you get the hang of it. If you follow the tips above you will be a Mediterranean diet pro in no time!
Written by Isabelle Hammack
Reviewed by Kelly Powers, MA, RDN, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who takes a holistic approach to nutrition and health. Kelly is a recipe developer with a food blog highlighting whole foods, simple recipes, and her life in San Francisco. She’s the creator of 52 Weeks, a weekly meal plan program that helps users get back in the kitchen and feed themselves well. Kelly is also a co-founder of Olivaio.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What foods are consumed on the Mediterranean diet?
A: Food typically consumed consist of: whole grains, vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts and seeds, fish, and extra virgin olive oil.
Q: Is meat consumed on the Mediterranean diet?
A: Red meat is consumed in moderation in the Mediterranean diet. Instead of red meat, try replacing it with another protein option such as fish or chicken, or even a plant based protein like beans or legumes.
Q: What type of oil should I use while following the Mediterranean diet?
A: Extra virgin olive oil is one of the primary fat sources in the Mediterranean diet. Try drizzling extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) over raw or cooked vegetables, use it to cook fish and vegetables, in a salad dressing, or add it to pasta and rice dishes.