Mediterranean Diet: Basic Guide to Beginners

The Mediterranean diet is a traditional food of people who lived in the surrounding mediterranean sea. In 1960, people from Greece, Italy, Spain, and Portugal are used to eat these traditional foods.

Researchers found that these foods are particularly healthier than Americans and low risk of many diseases. 

The Mediterranean diet is not a fixed diet to follow because there are many countries around the Mediterranean sea. Foods differ in every region.

What is the Mediterranean Diet?

You can assume the Mediterranean Diet as a traditional lifestyle. This is not a restrictive diet and has no strict rules. These are the simple traditional foods that people used to eat in the regions around the Mediterranean sea.

You are allowed to eat plenty of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, seafood, and healthy fats like olive oil and nuts. It also allows you to eat a moderate amount of chicken, eggs, and fermented dairy products.

It limits eating foods like processed foods, red meat, sugar, packaged foods. It encourages cooking at home, eating with others, and regular exercise.

Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is the best diet by U.S. News and World Report. This appreciation is because the diet includes all the healthy fats and limits unhealthy saturated fats. It includes fiber-rich foods like fresh foods and whole grains. 

A study says that The Mediterranean diet can cause weight loss, and lowers heart attack, type 2 diabetes, stroke, premature death, and even supports brain health.

Basic Idea of foods

  • Allows eating: Vegetables, Fruits, seeds, nuts, legumes, potato, whole grains, herbs and spices, fish and seafood, and olive oil.
  • Eat-in a moderation: Chicken, eggs, and fermented dairy products.
  • Allows to eat rarely: Red meat
  • Not allowed: Refined oil, refined sugars, processed foods, processed meat, refined grains, and sweetened beverages.

Foods to Avoid in the Mediterranean Diet

Not only in The Mediterranean diet, but you should also avoid all these unhealthy foods completely no matter which diet plan you are following. 

  • Foods contain added sugar like candies, ice cream, chocolates.
  • Refines grains like white bread, pasta made from refined wheat.
  • Processed foods that contain Trans Fat
  • Soyabean oil, cottonseed oil, canola oils, and other refined oils.
  • Processed meats like hot dogs, processed sausage, etc.
  • Factory-made foods or highly processed foods.

Foods to Eat in the Mediterranean Diet

This will remain controversial which foods to eat in the Mediterranean Diet because there is variation in foods in different countries. But the diet contains high in plant-based foods and low in animal foods. You can consume fish and seafood is allowed 1-2 times a week.

It also encourages to do regular physical activities, sharing meals with others, and enjoying life.

  • Vegetables: Cucumbers, Cauliflower, carrot, Brussels, spinach, onion, tomatoes, broccoli, kale, etc.
  • Fruits: Banana, Apples, Orange, strawberry, grapes, dates, melons, peaches, figs, pears, etc.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Cashew, almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
  • Legumes: Beans, Lentils, peas, chickpeas, peanuts, pulses, etc.
  • Whole Grains: Brown rice, oats, whole wheat, whole grain pasta, and bread, corn, rye, barley, buckwheat, etc.
  • Fats: Extra virgin olive oil, olives, avocados, and avocado oil.
  • Herbs and Spices: Basil, mint, garlic, rosemary, cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg, sage, etc.
  • Dairy: Cheese, yogurt, greek yogurt, etc.
  • Poultry: Duck, turkey, Chicken, etc.
  • Eggs: Chicken, and duck eggs.
  • Fish and seafood: carb, salmon, tuna, mackerel, shrimp, oyster, mussels, sardines, etc.

Drinks to consider in the Mediterranean Diet

  • Water should be your first preference
  • May include one glass of red wine per day (optional)
  • Coffee and tea without added sugar

Healthy Snacks to consider in the Mediterranean Diet

If you feel hungry between meals in a day you can consider eating some healthy snacks

  • Apple with almond butter
  • Berries and Grapes
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Nuts
  • Some fruit
  • Carrots

Weekly Meal Plan for the Mediterranean Diet

This Mediterranean Diet Guide for Beginners will help you to plan your meal for a week. This sample plan is only for your reference, you can change it according to your preferences and needs.

Day-1

Breakfast: Greek yogurt with berries and walnuts

Lunch: Hummus Sandwich with vegetables

Dinner: Roasted fish and vegetables

Day-2

Breakfast: Oatmeal with raisins

Lunch: Tuna Salad

Dinner: Salad with feta cheese, olive, and tomatoes

Day-3

Breakfast: Omelet with vegetables and a fruit

Lunch: Whole grain sandwich with vegetables 

Dinner: Mediterranean lasagne

Day-4

Breakfast: Yogurt with fruits and nuts

Lunch: Leftover lasagne from the night before.

Dinner: White bean and veggie salad

Day-5

Breakfast: Olive oil fried eggs and vegetables

Lunch: Greek yogurt with strawberries, nuts, and oats.

Dinner: Grilled lamb, with salad and baked potato

Day-6

Breakfast:  Oatmeal with fruits and nuts

Lunch: Whole-grain sandwich

Dinner: Stuffed sweet potato with hummus dressing

Day-7

Breakfast: Non-fat plain yogurt with berries and chopped walnuts

Lunch: Veggies and hummus sandwich

Dinner: Strawberry poppy seed salad with chicken

Environmental Effects of the Mediterranean Diet

With this diet, you are not only making yourself healthy but also you are contributing to the environment. As the Mediterranean Diet is promoting more plant-based foods which are more sustainable than animal products.

Also, the Mediterranean Diet is restricts packaging foods, processed foods are produced a huge number of greenhouse gases. This is one of the major reasons for global warming.

Following this diet plan, you are reducing your carbon footprint.

Pro’s and Con’s of the Mediterranean Diet

Pro’s

  • Easy to follow
  • Can be stick with a longer time
  • You can eat what you love
  • This diet is low in saturated fat
  • Reduces risk of so many diseases

Con’s

  • Dairy like milk is limited
  • Alcohol is not recommended
  • You need to cook your own food

Though Mediterranean Diet is not defined properly,  this way of eating is generally healthy and rich in plant-based foods and lower in animal foods, with a small focus on fish and seafood.

There are lots of great books written on the Mediterranean Diet and tons of information available on the internet. You can make super delicious foods on this diet. 

This is a great diet that is healthy and satisfying. You would not be disappointed.

More Diets:

  1. Ketogenic Diet: Keto Full Guide to Beginner’s
  2. The Paleo Diet: Short Summary
  3. Vegan Diet: Full Guide For Beginners
  4. Liquid Diet: Types, Meals, Idea, Benefits, and Cons

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