The Mediterranean diet meal plan – Healthy meal plan for beginners.
Looking for a heart-healthy eating plan? The Mediterranean diet is right for you. The Mediterranean diet incorporates the basics of healthy eating. Most healthy diets include fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and limit unhealthy fats.
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes a plant-based eating approach, loaded with vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats, including olive oil and omega-3 fatty acids from fish. It is a diet known for being heart-healthy. It is also rich in seafood, nuts, legumes, whole grains, and olive oil. While on this diet plan, you will have to avoid or limit red meat, sugary foods, and dairy (though small amounts of yoghurt and cheese are eaten). Eating this way also means you have little room for the processed fare. Also, there is
The potential and known health benefits of the Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet is most known for its benefit to heart health, decreasing the risk of heart disease and reducing mortality from cardiovascular conditions. It also have the tendency of reducing cancers as well as conditions like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
Also, eating this way may offer protective effects for those with and at risk for type 2 diabetes. The Mediterranean diet improves blood sugar control in those already diagnosed with the condition. It can be a good way to manage the condition. Given that those with diabetes are at increased odds for cardiovascular disease daily adopting this diet can help improve their heart health.
The Mediterranean diet wasn’t designed for weight loss. It just so happens that one of the healthiest diets around the globe is also good for keeping your diet down.
Key components of the Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes on:
- Eating primarily plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts.
- Replacing butter and unhealthy fats with olive oil and avocado oil.
- Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavour food.
- Limiting red meats to more than a few times a month.
- Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week.
- Enjoying meals with family and friends.
- Drinking enough water and moderate amounts of red wine.
- Getting plenty of exercises.
Avoid these unhealthy food
- Added sugar: soda, candies, ice cream, table sugar, etc.
- Refined grains: white bread, white rice, pasta made with refined wheat, etc.
- Trans fat: found in margarine and various processed foods.
- Processed meat: processed sausages, hot dogs, etc.
- Highly processed foods.
Foods to eat
The Mediterranean diet is one high in healthy plant foods and relatively low in animal foods. Foods to eat include:
- Vegetables: tomatoes, broccoli, kale, spinach, onions, cauliflower, carrots, Brussels, cucumber, sprouts, etc.
- Fruits: bananas, apples, oranges, pears, grapes, berries, dates, figs, melons, peaches, etc.
- Nuts and seeds: almonds, walnuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, etc.
- Legumes: beans, lentils, peas, pulses, peanuts, chickpeas, etc.
- Tubers: potatoes (sweet and Irish potatoes), turnips, yams, etc.
- Whole grains: whole oats, brown basmati rice, rye, barley, corn, buckwheat, whole wheat, whole-grain bread and pasta.
- Fish and seafood: salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, mackerel, shrimp, oysters, clams, crabs, mussels, etc.
- Poultry: chicken, duck, turkey, etc.
- Egg: chicken, quail, and duck eggs.
- Dairy: cheese, yoghurt, greek yoghurt, etc.
- Herbs and spices: garlic, mint, basil, rosemary, ginger, nutmeg, sage, pepper, cinnamon, etc.
- Healthy fats: virgin olive oil, olives, avocado, and avocado oil.
- Drinks: water should be your go-to beverages on a Mediterranean diet. Moderate amounts of red wine are allowed (1 glass per day). This is optional, and wine should be avoided by anyone with alcoholism problems or difficulty in controlling their consumption. Coffee and tea are also acceptable, but you should avoid sugar-sweetened beverages and sugary fruit juices.
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1 Week Sample Menu on Mediterranean Diet
Below is a sample menu for one week on the Mediterranean diet. You can adjust the portions and food choices based on your own needs and preferences.
- Breakfast: Greek yoghurt with strawberries and oats
- Lunch: Whole grain sandwich with vegetables
- Dinner: A tuna salad, dressed in olive oil. A piece of fruit for dessert.
- Breakfast: Oatmeal with raisins
- Lunch: Leftover tuna salad from the night before
- Dinner: Salad with tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese
- Breakfast: Omelette with veggies, tomatoes, and onions. A piece of fruit.
- Lunch: Whole grain sandwich with cheese and fresh vegetables
- Dinner: Mediterranean lasagna
- Breakfast: Yoghurt with sliced fruits and nuts
- Lunch: Leftover lasagna from the night before
- Dinner: Broiled salmon, served with brown rice and vegetables
- Breakfast: eggs and vegetables, fried in olive oil
- Lunch: Greek yoghurt with strawberries, oats, and nuts
- Dinner: Grilled lamb, with salad and baked potato
- Breakfast: Oatmeal with raisins, nuts, and an apple
- Lunch: Whole grain sandwich with vegetables
- Dinner: Mediterranean pizza made with whole wheat, topped with cheese, vegetables, and olives
- Breakfast: Omelette with veggies and olives
- Lunch: Leftover pizza from the night before
- Dinner: Grilled chicken with vegetables and a potato. A fruit for dessert
Healthy Mediterranean snacks
- A piece of fruit
- A handful of nuts
- Berries or grapes
- Leftovers from the night before
- Greek yoghurt
- Apple slices with almond butter
There is usually no need to count calories or track macro-nutrients (protein, fat, and carbs) on the Mediterranean diet.