Complete Guide To The Mediterranean Diet

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This article has been Fact-Checked by Kendall Kennedy MS, RD, RYT

The Mediterranean diet is based on the food countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea used to eat. This way of eating got attention because researchers noticed that the people on this diet lived a longer and healthier life than most other people.

The guidelines for the Mediterranean diet are not as strict as other plans. There is not one single way to follow it.

Find out whether this diet plan is something for you.

Mediterranean diet Food List

The main foods on the Mediterranean diet are things like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, fish, seafood, whole grains, breads, herbs, spices and extra virgin olive oil.

Other foods you can eat are poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt.

You can eat a little bit of red meat but not too much.

As mentioned the Mediterranean diet isn’t too strict on quantities of different foods. If you want to go for optimal health you can modify your version even more. For example, too much protein can be bad for you.

Foods you need to avoid

Sometimes eating healthy is not only about adding more healthy foods to your diet but also eliminating unhealthy foods.

Some food categories you need to avoid are:

  • Foods with added sugars: Soda, cookies, table sugar,..
  • Refined carbohydrates: flour, white bread, pasta,…
  • Trans-fats: margarine, certain vegetable oils,…

You basically should avoid most processed foods, foods that are obviously not in their natural state.

What should you drink

Water should be your go-to drink.

Coffee and tea are also acceptable. There even is some room for a glass of red wine every once in a while.

Those drinks are pretty much what you have to work with. If you want to be healthy you should stay away from fruit juice, even if it is freshly squeezed.

Mediterranean diet meal plan examples

The possible combinations of foods are pretty large on this meal plan. You can mix and match your favorite whole foods to discover mouth-watering meals. Here are some meal plan examples to get started.

Mediterranean diet breakfast ideas

Here are some breakfast ideas:

  • Eggs prepared as you want with vegetables and a piece of fruit.
  • Oatmeal with your favorite nuts, seeds and fruit
  • Greek yogurt with your favorite fruits and berries

Mediterranean diet lunch and dinner ideas

  • Whole grain bread with cheese and vegetables
  • Breakfast meals
  • A piece of chicken with some fresh vegetables
  • Fsh with your favorite side-dish of potatoes and vegetables with some fruit as dessert

With these examples you get an idea of what you can eat on this diet. It’s up to you to find your favorite combinations and preparation methods of whole foods.

Mediterranean Diet food ideas

Snacks for the Mediterranean diet

By eating whole foods and protein you will avoid hunger and cravings. However, if you do feel the need to eat some snacks in between meals, consider these healthy snacks:

  • Portion of nuts (these do contain calories)
  • Berries and fruits
  • Easy-to-snack vegetables like cucumber, carrots and cherry tomatoes
  • Greek yogurt

Again, your imagination is the limit for the amount of different snack combinations. Take a look at these 11 healthy snacks to start your mix and match journey.

The Mediterranean diet for weight loss

The Mediterranean diet is great for weight loss.

It’s harder to overeat on whole foods than processed foods. This means that for most people the Mediterranean diet will automatically put them in a calorie deficit. One of the pitfalls that would still keep you overweight would be eating too many nuts and calorie dense grains.

This diet plan is also fairly easy to stick to after a while. When you first start out you might crave the unhealthy foods you used to eat. However, the more and the longer you stay away from those, the more enjoyable the Mediterrean diet will become.

If you eat enough protein and healthy fats you will likely feel full. Eating a good amount of micronutrients is also fairly easy thanks to the diverse collection of fruits and vegetables you can eat.

In short it’s a great idea to try out this way of eating.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.