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A Grocery Shopping Guide for the Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet has been around for ages and incorporates a wide variety of vegetables, grains, and healthy fats. There’s plenty of research showing the benefits of this balanced diet –– including skin health, improved memory, heart health, and so much more. Even better, the Mediterranean diet is easy to follow and super delicious.

If any of these sound good to you, maybe you should give this diet, and way of living, a try.

The first step to implementing a Mediterranean style of eating into your life happens when you step into the grocery store. This can be overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re looking for or what foods to be incorporating, but we’ve got you covered. Below, you’ll find a quick and straightforward Grocery Guide that can help you navigate the grocery store without any worries. The Grocery Guide will also provide serving information for each food group so you know just how much you should be eating per day. It also offers various examples of different foods you can choose from, but are not limited to.

Grocery Guide:

Produce (consume daily)

Produce is not only packed with vitamins and minerals that are great for our bodies, but vegetables in particular play a large role in the Mediterranean diet. In the Mediterranean diet, vegetables and fruit should be consumed daily. According to MyPlate, we should be consuming 2 ½ cups of vegetables per day, and 2 cups of fruit per day.

Vegetables: (consume daily) look for fresh or frozen

Leafy greens (spinach, kale, arugula, chard)
Tomatoes
Cucumber
Carrot
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Eggplant
Sweet potato
Butternut squash

Fruit: (consume daily)

Apricots
Apples
Pomegranates
Pears

Dairy and Egg (consume daily & weekly)

Dairy and eggs is consumed a little more sparingly in the Mediterranean diet. Some dairy products like cheese and yogurt are usually consumed daily, while eggs are consumed a few times weekly. According to MyPlate, we should be consuming 3 cups of dairy per day, this counts as milk dairy or cheese.

Dairy: (consume 1-3 times per day)

Yogurt
Cheese

Eggs: (consume 4 or less times per week)

Seafood, Poultry, & Meat (consume weekly & monthly)

In the Mediterranean diet, seafood, poultry, and meat consumption is a little more limited. Seafood and poultry are typically consumed 2-3 times weekly, while meat is consumed sparsely, only 3-4 times per month. According to MyPlate, we should be consuming 5 ½ oz of protein per day. Protein counts as seafood, poultry, meat, as well as nuts, nut butters, and beans (see Pantry Staples section).

Seafood: (consume 2-3 time per week)

Tuna
Salmon
Mahi-mahi
Shrimp
Trout
Halibut
Herring
Sardines

Poultry: (consume 2-3 time per week)

Turkey
Chicken

Meat: (consume 3-4 times per month)

Lean beef
Pork

Pantry Staples (consume daily)

The pantry is your best friend in the Mediterranean diet! It holds most of the delicious and healthy fats consumed in this diet, as well as staples like legumes and grains. Most pantry staples should be consumed daily. According to MyPlate, we should be consuming 6 oz of grains per day, and 5 ½ oz of protein per day. For reference, 1 oz of protein looks like 1 Tbsp nut butter, ½ cup cooked legumes, ½ oz of nuts or seeds. 1 oz of grains looks like 1 slice of bread or ½ cup cooked rice, pasta, or other grains.

Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO): (consume daily)

Olivaio

Nuts & Seeds: (consume daily) look for raw & unsalted

Pistachios
Cashews
Almonds
Walnuts
Sunflower seeds
Pumpkin seeds

Nut butters: (consume daily) look for no added oil or sugar

Peanut butter
Almond butter
Cashew butter

Legumes: (consume daily) look for dry or canned legumes with no added salt or low sodium

Black beans
Cannellini beans
Butter beans
Garbanzo beans
Lentils

Grains: (consume daily)

Brown rice
Quinoa
Polenta
Farro
Barley
Steel cut oats

The Takeaway:

Shopping for the Mediterranean diet can be quick and simple if you know what to look for. This guide will help give you confidence when you walk into the grocery store, and inspiration for new foods and recipes to try. If you are eager to start the Mediterranean diet, here are a few recipes you will love: A Simple Greek Salad, White Fish with Tomatoes, and Orecchiette with Pumpkin and Bitter Greens.

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.