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What Is The Mediterranean Diet? A Meal Plan For Your Health Goals

Thomas Wright Published: January 08, 2019 Updated: January 08, 2019

Mediterranean food

It’s often said that everything old is new again. This phrase is often applied to things like fashion or cultural norms, but it seems it is also applicable to the Mediterranean diet.

The Mediterranean diet has quickly become one of the most popular weight loss and nutritional boosting meal plans to emerge in recent years, and for good reason. The diet offers high nutrition and balanced eating that promote weight loss while letting you eat delicious and filling meals that you will absolutely fall in love with!

Real World Results For Hundreds Of Years

Before we start getting into all of the Mediterranean diet benefits, let’s take a quick look at what makes up this meal plan. The entire premise of this lifestyle is based on the type of eating that people in Greece, Italy, Turkey, and other Mediterranean cultures were doing in the mid 20th century.

In 1960, researchers overwhelmingly found that people who had been residing in the Mediterranean region for an extended period of time, despite their origins, were decisively healthier and happier than the rest of the western world. Upon further evaluation, it was determined that it was the foods that they were eating, and how they were eating them was the key difference maker.

With that in mind, the researchers started to form a new diet plan that would afford everyone to take advantage of these Mediterranean diet benefits all over the world.

The Mediterranean Diet And Its Benefits

Just a few of the benefits that have been proven with the type of nutritional choices that are part of the Mediterranean diet are a reduction in heart attacks, strokes, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and premature death. It has also been shown that younger people who incorporate these particular food choices into their everyday life are more likely to make healthy eating choices throughout the remainder of their lives.

The best thing about this diet plan is that it not only helps a person to lose weight but helps them get healthy, resulting in a longer and happier life. The Mediterranean diet is built on the idea that eating real food that is rich in plant sources, lower in animal sources, and heavy on fish and seafood is the most natural way for humans to fuel themselves.

The Perfect Pyramid

The core of the plan is the Mediterranean diet pyramid, which is similar to the food guide pyramid that we all are familiar with, but specifically tweaked to show the balance of the specific food types that are fundamental to the meal plan. The pyramid is comprised of four layers. The base layer is the foods that should make up the vast majority of your eating. These food include:

  • Veggies
  • Fruits
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Whole Grains Seeds
  • Herbs
  • Fish
  • Olives & Olive Oil
  • Seafood
  • Potatoes
  • Bread

The second layer is the foods that you should add to the base layer to have rich, filling, satisfying, and delicious meals. These foods should be eaten occasionally as part of a complete and balanced meal comprised mainly of the base layer foods:

  • Poultry
  • Cheese & Other Dairy
  • Yogurt
  • Eggs

The third layer is items that should rarely be eaten. This isn’t to say that you cannot enjoy these foods, but they should be eaten sparingly as an addendum to the foods from the base and middle layers:

  • Pork
  • Red Meat

The top layer should not be eaten very often, or at all. These foods, if eaten, should be consumed as treats, or as special occasion items:

  • Highly Processed Foods (junk food, fast food, anything that claims to be diet, low fat, or healthy that is mass produced in a factory)
  • Processed Meats (sausages unless you grind it yourself, hotdogs, ground beef unless you grind it yourself)
  • Refined Grains & Refined Oils (soybean oil, canola oil, white bread, pasta made with process wheat)
  • Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (soda pop, sweetened teas, etc.)
  • Sweet Pastries (candies, ice cream, table sugar)

Healthy Meals That Actually Taste Good

All of the items on the Mediterranean diet food list are in line with the Mediterranean diet pyramid. The Mediterranean diet list of foods includes delicious choices that are easy to prepare, and are comprised of the healthy, tasty, and wholesome ingredients that have been a part of Mediterranean cuisine for centuries. Dishes on the Mediterranean diet food list include items such as:

  • Greek yogurt with strawberries & oatmeal
  • Tuna salad made with pumpkin seeds, carrots, and celery - served with feta cheese and whole grain crackers
  • Omelets with veggies and spinach & cheddar cheese
  • Mediterranean lasagna with a tossed salad
  • Broiled salmon dressed with olive oil and dill - served with brown rice and roasted veggies
  • Grilled lamb with Mediterranean salad and baked sweet potato

See And Feel Powerful Results

The best thing about the Mediterranean diet is that there is no one right way to follow it, which also means that there is no real way you could go wrong. This is simply a way of eating and a way of choosing foods that are in line with the nutritional culture of the Mediterranean region in the mid 20th century. With the Mediterranean diet, you get to enjoy a wide range of nutritious and healthy foods that will satisfy you while providing the fuel that you need to get through your day.

Breakfasts Are About Fueling Your Day

Breakfast is all about getting the day started right. On the Mediterranean diet breakfast, you take in carbs, proteins, and calories to get your system working and provide you with the fuel you need to tackle the day. Unlike the breakfast that you are more than likely used to, the Mediterranean diet breakfast isn’t about loading up to feel full, it’s about loading in to create fuel. This means high-quality foods that provide the nutritional boost you need to get your day going without the needless sugars and fats that provide no real substance to your nutritional needs.

Lunches Are Flavorful and Energizing

At lunch, the Mediterranean diet provides you the chance to take in fresh fuel supply to get through the rest of your day. This means light lunches that are filled with grains, fruits, and veggies that help keep you going without slowing you’re down like most western culture lunches do. On the Mediterranean diet, the post-lunch afternoon lull is a thing of the past. This means you will have more energy, and be more productive in everything you do.

Dinners Offer Filling Meals To Replenish Your Body

Dinner is where the Mediterranean diet really shines. It is here that you get to have full, rich, satisfying meals that reward you for all you have done throughout your day. The meals that you have at dinner are not only there to provide satisfaction and enjoyment, but also to provide for the things that your body will need to repair and rebuild so that it is ready for the challenges and obligations of the next day.

This means that dinners are heavy in protein, low in carbs, and packed with nutrients. They are also larger and more filling so that you will have less late night cravings to worry about.

Mediterranean Diet Snacks Bust Craving with Powerful Nutrition

When you do have cravings, you will not be disappointed in the choices you have for snacks. You can enjoy a wide range of healthy and flavorful snack items that satisfy your cravings without wrecking your nutritional balance. Here are just a few of the items you can snack on while eating the Mediterranean way:

  • Berries & Grapes
  • Baby Carrots & Cauliflower
  • Apple Slices with Almond Butter
  • Nuts & Seeds
  • Most Fruits
  • Tomatoes
  • Celery and Broccoli with Greek Yogurt

So Many Benefits, So Little Effort

With the simple to follow a plan that the Mediterranean diet offers you can lose weight, get healthy, and live a more enjoyable and fulfilling life without having to worry about keeping up with some complicated regiment or convoluted diet scheme. The abundance of Mediterranean diet benefits have been well documented, and you can enjoy them as well with a few simple changes to how to look at food and how you make smart food choices.