Are you on the Mediterranean Diet? This is a healthy diet based on the healthy cuisine of countries like Spain, Italy, France, and Northern Africa. It’s chock-full of healthy ingredients like fish/seafood, whole grains, veggies/fruits, and cheese/yogurt. Unlike other diets, you can enjoy foods that are full of color and flavor. The diet even lets you drink up to one glass of red/white wine per day. If you’re just starting out it can be tough to find ideas for your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The good news is you can find the best Mediterranean diet recipes of the year so you can keep your Mediterranean-style meals fresh on different levels.
Like when following other diet plans it can be tough to think of new menu items when on the Mediterranean Diet. There are a few situations where this is likely. If you’re just starting out then you might be unsure about how to get started with the diet. This is especially true if you’re used to eating a high-calorie/carb/fat diet like the Standard American Diet (SAD). In that situation, you might be unsure about the best meals to make with natural ingredients. Another situation is when you’ve been on the Mediterranean Diet for a long time. In this situation, it might seem like you’ve made every possible dish on the Mediterranean Diet.
What’s the Mediterranean Diet?
You might have heard of this diet but are unsure what it’s all about. The region’s cuisine features dishes from countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. They include France, Italy, Spain, and Greece.
These countries’ diets vary somewhat. There’s pasta in Italy, bean stew in Spain, goat yogurt in Greece, and leek/potato soup in France. However, they share some basic features. The cuisines are mostly plant-based including lots of fruits and veggies, although there are some fatty fish and chicken. Grains tend to be whole instead of processed. There’s also some dairy but it’s made from real milk and can be full-fat.
One interesting feature of the Mediterranean Diet is it’s not entirely low-fat. For example, there are high-fat foods like fatty fish, Greek yogurt, and olive oil.
The difference though is these are “good” fats that are featured in other diets like Keto. Some studies show that these diets can actually be more effective than low-fat diets for weight loss.
If you want to make your diet more Mediterranean-like here are some ways to do that:
- Eat more whole grain bread/pasta
- Add more fish to your menus
- Eat lots of fruits and veggies
- Cook with plant-based oils like olive/canola/coconut oils
- Consume less red meat
In a sense, the Mediterranean Diet is similar to other healthy diets you can pick. However, the main difference is it’s region-specific.
You can find other diets that are high in good fat but they probably don’t feature foods that are specifically found in a particular region of the world. In fact, many of us aren’t too familiar with the region’s cuisine except ones like pizzas and gyros. Even the French food we’re most familiar with is likely heavy ones like white-flour baguettes and chocolate eclairs.
Best Mediterranean Diet Recipes
We’re nearing the start of a new decade. It’s been nearly seven decades since Elizabeth David published the book “A Book of Mediterranean Food.” David basically created the category of Mediterranean food and focused on French cooking. If you’re looking for the year’s top Mediterranean dishes here are some options:
- Baked Eggs w/ Avocado and Feta Cheese
- Egg White Sandwich w/ Roasted Tomatoes
- Feta/Quinoa Egg Muffins
- Greek Yogurt Pancakes
- Honey/Almond Spread w/ Peaches
- Mediterranean Egg Cups
- Mediterranean Breakfast Salad
- Mediterranean Eggs
- Orange-Honey Oatmeal w/ Pistachios, Figs, and Yogurt
- Pistachio Granola w/ Yogurt
- Quinoa Breakfast Bowl w/ Egg
- Saucy Poached Eggs
- Smoked Salmon/Poached Eggs on Toast
- Kale/Chickpea Grain Bowl w/ Avocado
- Avocado, Bean, and Tomato Bowl
- Bean Cakes w/ Mint Yogurt
- Braised Chicken w/ Olives and Pruners
- Braised Artichokes, Fava Beans, and Carrots
- Cauliflower w/ Chili Sauce
- Falafel, Feta Cheese, and Tomato Salad
- Fig/Arugula Salad w/ Walnuts/Goat Cheese
- Flattened Chicken w/ Almond/Paprika Vinaigrette
- Grape/Goal Cheese Wheat Bowl
- Greek Salmon Bowl
- Grilled Chicken Pitas w/ Sesame Drizzle
- Grilled Eggplant Skillet
- Lemon/Dill Salmon Salad
- Lentil Salad w/ Beets/Spinach
- Mediterranean Chicken and Faro (wheat grains)
- Radish, Bean, and Olive Salad
- Roasted Salmon w/Oranges Beets, and Carrots
- Salmon Salad w/ Beets and Blackberries
- Salmon Salad w/ Butternut Squash
- Steamed Salmon and Corn w/ Yogurt
- Tuna Melt w/ Olive Salsa
- Tuna/Quinoa Tossed Salad
- Veggie/Quinoa Soup
- Avocado Toast
- Pesto Yogurt Dip
- Red Lentil hummus
These are some of the many dishes you should consider in 2020. The web offers a wide range of other options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snacks. Make sure to consider the availability of some ingredients.
Some ingredients might be brand new to you so you might be hesitant to start cooking with them. one example is faro. Search the web for tips/tricks when cooking with this wheat-based food.
Tips for Mediterranean Diet Cooking
1. Swap in olive oil
This also involves swapping out options like butter and vegetable oil. Extra-virgin olive oil is the best option. Canola oil is another good option.
You can use olive oil in many ways. Besides cooking with it you can even drizzle it over bread or pasta.
2. Eat fruit for dessert
Many fruits are high in sugars. However, we’re talking about natural sugars, not the white processed stuff. This fructose will help you feel full longer instead of white sugar that causes your blood sugar to spike.
You can even add other ingredients to make your desserts taste even better. They include Greek yogurt, dark chocolate, and so on. You can have your just desserts without having problems falling asleep later that night.
3. Eat more fish
The USDA recommends eating fish/seafood at least twice per week. The Mediterranean Diet includes lots of fatty fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids. So, you’ll be getting lots of “good” fats in your meals. Studies show that fish can provide several benefits for your body and brain.
4. Snack on veggies or nuts
The Mediterranean Diet doesn’t promote snacks like microwave popcorn and candy bars. If you want to follow this diet you should consider healthier options. They include a bag of nuts or some sliced bell peppers for a tasty and delicious snack when you get the munchies.
5. Do meal planning
This could be for the next day, week or month. It will take some time but it’s definitely worthwhile in terms of the time you’ll save in the long run. It’s also a plus if you’ll have to find some ingredients at a store besides your local supermarket.
A big plus of this approach is you’ll already have your next shopping list completed. This reduces the chance of buying unhealthy stuff when planning the best Mediterranean diet recipes.