You may have seen the Mediterranean Diet on TV, in magazines, or even heard about it from friends.
It's a diet that has been around for centuries and it has some pretty amazing benefits.
The Mediterranean diet is high in fish, vegetables, nuts, and legumes which are rich in fiber and protein while low in fat.
Studies show that this type of diet can help you lose weight as fast as other diets.
If you're looking to try something new when it comes to your weight loss journey then why not give the Mediterranean Diet a go?
You'll be glad you did!
What Is The Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean diet consists of fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans.
It also includes moderate amounts of high-quality fats such as olive oil and nuts.
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes basic, fresh ingredients to generate delectable dishes that accentuate the tastes of the natural ingredients.
The Mediterranean Diet Is All About Balance
The Mediterranean diet makes use of all kinds of ingredients and seasonal produce so you can plan your dinners with ease.
The Mediterranean Diet is all about balance.
You don't have to eat everything on our list to lose weight while eating this way but you should have a variety of foods from each group to stay healthy.
High-quality carbohydrates are the base of the Mediterranean Diet.
You'll be eating foods that are rich in low-glycemic carbs like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
These are the best carbs for your body and mind to function optimally.
The fats on the Mediterranean Diet are healthy fats like olive oil and avocados.
Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation in your body which is key for weight loss and heart health.
Protein is another important part of this diet as it helps you feel full and satisfied.
The Mediterranean Diet also has a lot of calcium which helps build strong bones.
This diet goes hand in hand with exercise because you'll be burning off the food you eat by sitting less, and cycling, hiking, or going to a fitness class more often.
All of this will contribute to overall health and weight loss.
How To Get Started On The Mediterranean Diet
If you're worried about where to start when it comes to eating this way then you're in the right place.
Below are some tips on how to get started with each meal so you can start eating better today!
- At every breakfast, lunch, and dinner you should be eating a mix of protein, carbs, and fat.
- You can choose fish, meat, or poultry for your proteins while fruits, vegetables, and grains are perfect for your carbs.
- You can choose from nuts, avocado, and extra virgin olive oil as healthy fats.
- You must stay hydrated as well so drink at least 10 glasses of water a day.
You Should Follow A Few Rules To Get Started With This Diet
Start slowly. Don't stop eating all the foods you love overnight and try to cut back in small amounts instead – like if you eat sugary cereal in the morning, switch to a power breakfast.
Eat quality carbs and healthy fats and add more fruits and vegetables when you can.
Swap unhealthy snacks for healthier ones like popcorn, fruit, and vegetables.
Keep a journal of everything you eat so you can be aware of what you put in your body and how it makes you feel.
If you stick to the rules, eat healthy food, and drink a lot of water then weight loss will come naturally as well as better health!
Following The Mediterranean Diet
You don't have to follow the Mediterranean Diet exactly to start changing your lifestyle to something healthier.
Even if you swap out one unhealthy dinner for a healthy one, you'll see the benefits of this diet.
Now that you know what this diet is all about why not try swapping out your five weeknight dinners with recipes from this list?
Follow these steps and don't forget it's important to enjoy yourself too – eating healthy should be fun if you do it the right way!
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Benefits
Extra virgin olive oil is one of the best kinds of oil you can put in your diet!
- Extra virgin olive oil contains antioxidants like lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, vitamin E, polyphenols (like hydroxytyrosol), and monounsaturated fats.
- It also has anti-inflammatory properties that may be useful in preventing certain health issues.
- Extra virgin olive oil even contains small amounts of vitamin D from being exposed to sunlight during its processing.
- Helps regulate blood sugar levels.
- Regulates appetite and reduces sugar cravings, which helps maintain a healthy weight.
Weight Loss Benefits Of Eating Fish
The weight loss benefits of eating fish are well known.
In a study conducted on fish consumption, groups of participants received either salmon or trout.
Results indicated that the group who consumed seafood experienced slightly better weight loss and improved body composition compared to those receiving beef protein (likely due to calorie count).
Salmon is high in healthy fats.
The Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils are very important for brain function as well as heart health.
They are precursors for anti-inflammatory molecules that keep your arteries clear, reduce blood pressure, and prevent plaque buildup.
Salmon is high in selenium, a mineral with antioxidant properties important for liver health and thyroid function.
It is also rich in Coenzyme Q10, which has been shown to protect heart tissue.
Sardines, on the other hand, are a sustainable and inexpensive source of omega-3s.
They contain more calcium than milk and twice as much iron as beef!
They also contain potent antioxidant compounds that protect you from damage due to free radicals.
Sardines are also high in vitamin D and B12 which help your body absorb calcium for healthy bones.
Fish is a complete protein source, which means it provides many essential amino acids your body needs to function properly.
The amino acids in fish are also good for muscle growth and recovery from exercise.
High-quality proteins have all the essential amino acids that muscles need to recover after being stressed from intense workouts, making protein important for muscle recovery.
Protein helps repair your muscles after a hard weight training workout! It also gives you energy, helps regulate your metabolism, and builds muscle.
Benefits of Fish Oil
The fat burning benefits of fish oil are widely known and fish oil supplements are commonly recommended diet supplements for women and men who want to lose weight.
- Fish oil reduces body fat and aids in the healthy distribution of that fat. Fish oils may stimulate metabolism, improve satiety and reduce cravings and binge eating.
- A study conducted by researchers at Oregon State University found that obese women who took fish oil while dieting lost fat around their waist more than twice as fast as women taking a placebo.
- Fish oil stimulates the thyroid gland, which helps regulate metabolism. It may also increase body temperature, increasing your body's ability to burn calories.
- Essentially, fish oil aids in weight loss by regulating the hormone that is responsible for telling our bodies to store fat, and by increasing the calorie-burning process.
- Fish oil is incredibly efficient at reducing inflammation throughout the body which helps prevent a wide range of health problems from various sources, both external and internal.
Mediterranean Diet Is Eating Healthy
Eating healthy is very important, but it can be hard to stick to.
The Mediterranean diet provides a variety of food that's delicious and nutritious.
I always say that nothing is more important than your health. When you feel good, everything else is easier to manage.
That's why it's important to choose an eating plan that makes you feel great and allows for a healthy lifestyle.
I like to think of my diet as one where I have a variety of meats, seafood, and produce.
And although eating healthy is important to me, I don't want to cut out foods that are delicious just because they're not on the “approved” list.
What's the point of eating healthy if you're not enjoying what you're eating?
I want to find that balance between feeling good and treating myself.
So when I heard about the Mediterranean diet, it sounded like a plan that would make me feel great while still allowing me to enjoy flavorful, wholesome food (like the stuffed pepper recipe above).
I plan on enjoying my life and the journey, so I'm going to find a way to make healthy eating work.
I want to eat food that tastes good and feels good!
A study that was conducted in 2003 on 10 different countries showed that there were 11 times more people who died of heart attacks living in North America than in Crete.
This is because most people use butter and cream in North America and food tends to be processed.
Those who live on Crete eat very few sweets and rely on olive oil to cook their vegetables, soups, and meat dishes.
The Mediterranean Diet To Lose Weight
The Mediterranean Diet has been proven to be an effective way of losing weight. It’s not only good for your waistline but it is very healthy too.
The behavioral key to weight loss is actually pretty simple: eat less and move more.
Creating A Calorie Deficit
Weight loss comes down to creating a calorie deficit.
That is, you need to burn more calories than you consume.
Sure, that sounds simple enough in theory.
But what’s the best way to do it?
It’s all about making small lifestyle changes over time so they become automatic!
One of the benefits of the Mediterranean diet is that it can help you eat fewer calories without feeling hungry.
It encourages you to choose smaller portions of food that are more filling.
What Foods Can I Eat On The Mediterranean Diet?
You can eat meats like chicken, lean beef, lamb. You can also eat fish and seafood.
And, you'll eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains daily.
The Mediterranean diet is not a low-carb, fat-free, or protein-rich diet.
Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans, whole grains, olive oil, and seafood.
Opt for foods that are prepared by using healthy oils like extra virgin olive oil. It's best to use this type of oil instead of butter or margarine to prepare your food.
What About Dessert?
There are plenty of desserts you can eat with the Mediterranean diet.
If you love chocolate, choose dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate since it is low in sugar and high in antioxidants.
Be sure to limit your portions though. You can also eat fruit as a sweet treat!
If you want to enjoy bread, choose whole-grain bread and cereals instead of foods made with refined grains.
Also, limit the amount of sugar you eat to 5 or fewer teaspoons a day.
What Is A Good Mediterranean Diet Breakfast?
You can start your day by having a healthy breakfast that's rich in fruits and veggies.
Try recipes like Mediterranean yogurt parfait, spinach omelet, or oatmeal.
What Is A Good Mediterranean Diet Snack?
You can have veggies and dip, fruits and nuts, hummus with pita bread, or even fruit smoothies as a healthy snack.
Snacks should be around 300 calories.
Eating Out At Restaurants
If you must eat out, choose restaurants that serve freshly-prepared foods. It is best to avoid fast food joints since the Mediterranean diet does not include eating fried or processed foods.
Rapid Fire Q&A
What Kind Of Dressing Is Allowed On The Mediterranean Diet?
- Vinegars like balsamic, raspberry, apple cider vinegar (not malt vinegar)
- Olive oil (and other plant oils; avocado oil is great for cooking)
- Juice or lemon juice only. No mayonnaise!
What Fruits Are Not Allowed On The Mediterranean Diet?
- High glycemic fruits that grow on trees such as bananas, and oranges
- Processed fruits like fruit juice from concentrate or those with added sugars
- Canned fruit packed in syrup or sugary water
What Kind Of Oils Are Not Allowed On The Mediterranean Diet?
Oils that you should not use on the diet are hydrogenated oils, vegetable shortening, corn oil, peanut oil, soybean oil, sunflower seed oil, cottonseed oil.
What Kind Of Meat Is Not Allowed On The Mediterranean Diet?
- Processed meats like ham or hot dogs
- High-fat cuts of beef like prime rib or sirloin steaks
- Fried or breaded meats
- Lard or suet (fat that is made from beef or mutton)
What Kind Of Grains Are Not Allowed On The Mediterranean Diet?
Foods that are high in refined grains are white rice, white flour, and all the items listed below.
- Muffins & sweet rolls
- Pizza dough, stromboli dough, and other crusts made with butter or lard. No fried pizzas!
- White spaghetti noodles- use whole wheat pasta instead
What Kind Of Sweets Are Not Allowed On The Mediterranean Diet?
- Any kind of candy that contains milk, honey, or sugar as the first ingredient
- Pies and pastries with high-fat meats like duck, goose, or pork
- Cake pops and other sweet treats made with processed refined sugars
What About Coffee, Tea, And Alcohol On The Mediterranean Diet?
Coffee and tea are fine in moderation, but drink it without milk or sugar.
No creamers or syrups.
Alcohol is okay but must be in moderation.
Some studies have shown that a glass of red wine a day can have beneficial effects.
What Kind Of Cooking Oil Is Allowed On The Mediterranean Diet?
Fat Quality Counts!
Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats are the best types of fat to use for cooking.
- Use olive oil (extra virgin) or avocado oil for low-medium heat sauteing and stir-frying, but do not fry food in these oils.
- You may also use coconut oil (organic virgin).
- Do not heat olive oil (extra virgin) to high temperatures for extended periods. Save it for salad dressings and drizzling on foods after cooking.
Exceptions: extra-virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil, and grape seed oil are great for flavoring but should not be used for cooking or baking.
They have low smoke points (the temperature at which the fats in oils start to break down).
What Kind Of Milk Is Allowed On The Mediterranean Diet?
Milk from goats and sheep is allowed on the diet. Milk from cows is not allowed due to its high-fat content.
Using skim milk as a replacement is okay, but remember that it contains less protein than whole milk so you should use twice as much in recipes that call for the full-fat version.
Flavored or sweetened milk like chocolate milk or buttermilk is not allowed on the diet. Use unflavored soy milk, almond milk, cashew milk instead!
Buttermilk should also be avoided because it has lactose (milk sugar).
What Kind Of Bread Is Allowed On The Mediterranean Diet?
Bread should be 100% whole-wheat, multi-grain, or whole rye. No white bread!
Use sprouted grain bread that do not contain eggs. (Eggs aren't bad for you, but aren't included on this type of diet). There are many great brands out there like Ezekiel 4:9.
What Kind Of Water Is Allowed On The Mediterranean Diet?
Drink only filtered, distilled, or mineral water. No tap water!
Bottled water is fine as long as it has not been enhanced or altered with flavors or sugars.
How Often Is Red Meat Allowed On The Mediterranean Diet?
Red meat should be limited to once a week. If you eat red meat, choose leaner cuts like sirloin or tenderloin instead of prime rib, ribeye steak, or lamb chops.
Include more fish and poultry as protein sources instead of red meat. Tofu and beans are also good protein options.
What Kind Of Fish Is Permitted On The Mediterranean Diet?
- Fish with high levels of mercury like tuna, swordfish, marlin, and shark should be limited to once a week or less.
- Fish with low but still some mercury content like shrimp, pollock, tilapia, and clams can be eaten 2-3 times a week.
- Fish with little to no mercury content like flounder, sole, haddock, and scrod may be eaten up to 4 times a week.
- Eat at least two servings of fatty fish each week such as salmon (preferably wild-caught), sardines, trout, and herring.
What Cereal Can You Eat On The Mediterranean Diet?
The only cereal allowed on the Mediterranean diet plan is oatmeal. Try adding dried fruit, nuts, and a little bit of honey or brown sugar to spruce it up!
No cold cereals, pancakes, waffles, or sugary breakfast bars. These are not allowed on the diet because they're full of refined carbs and sugar!
What Should My Macros Be On The Mediterranean Diet?
Ideal ratios are 15-30% protein, 25-35% fat, and 35-50% carbs.
Calories should be roughly around 1600 calories per day for women or 2200 calories per day for men on a normal exercise schedule.
You may have to adjust these numbers down if you're trying to lose weight or up if you're trying to bulk up or exercise more.
Which Is A Better- The Keto Diet Or Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean Diet is great for heart health and potentially deterring diabetes.
A lot of people also report feeling less hungry and more satisfied with the food they eat on this type of diet plan.
You can eat a lot, but it's all healthy food so there isn't much room for variety or fun, unlike the Keto Diet where you get to eat yummy fatty foods!
One disadvantage is that the Mediterranean diet does not emphasize weight loss as heavily as some other diets.
Its focus is more on preventing chronic health issues.
However, if you're looking for something that you can eat lots of delicious foods on and still lose weight or at least maintain your current weight, then keto may be a better choice!
What If I Need More Protein On The Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean Diet is great, but you may need to eat more protein than what it allows.
Just be mindful that the food you choose has healthy fats and low carbs!
Some good sources of animal-based proteins include:
- lean beef (occasionally)
- skinless chicken or turkey
- pork tenderloin or chops that have been trimmed of most visible fat (occasionally)
- fish, shellfish, and other seafood like lobster, crab, shrimp, scallops
Check out: 101 High Protein Foods
What Is The Difference Between The Paleo Diet And Mediterranean Diet?
The Paleo diet is a dietary plan based on foods similar to what our hunter–gatherer ancestors would have eaten.
It does not allow for grains, refined sugars, legumes, or dairy products because these food groups were introduced only after the agricultural revolution and the dawn of civilization.
The Mediterranean Diet is an eating plan that follows typical patterns of traditional Mediterranean cuisine, reflecting the food practices of cultures such as Italy and Greece.
It emphasizes eating primarily plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, fish and poultry, olive oil instead of other fats; and limits red meat to once a week.
Both diets emphasize that you should eat what is locally grown or sourced and fresh.
They also both advise that you limit the intake of sugary foods and saturated fat.
The Mediterranean Diet is the traditional eating pattern of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.
It’s a way of life that emphasizes plant-based foods, healthy fats, and oils, whole grains, legumes, fish, and seafood in place of meats for protein.
This article has outlined just some of what you should know about this popular dietary lifestyle before jumping on board.
What other questions do you have? We hope this list helps to answer any lingering thoughts or concerns you may have had prior to reading it!
Please share with your friends if they are looking to make changes in their lives too!