The 7 Foods You Eat Most on the Mediterranean Diet

If you’re thinking about giving the Mediterranean diet a try, you may be wondering what you’ll have to give up. Good news: There really isn’t anything that’s “off-limits.”

Instead, Mediterranean dieters focus on eating more of a handful of extra-wholesome ingredients, while still enjoying other foods — a glass of wine or a slice of chocolate cake, for instance — in moderation. It’s a smart way to stay healthy without feeling deprived. If you’re ready to go Med, here are the seven healthy foods to start loading onto your plate.

1. Heart-Heathy Fish

Keeping your intake predominately to fish is a great way to get lean protein that’s rich in omega-3 fats, which keep both your heart and brain healthy. Salmon is an easy one to start with, but also try tuna, sardines, and mackerel.

3 Recipes to Try

  • Summer Salmon Nicoise
  • Saucy Skillet Salmon
  • Broiled Salmon with Lemon, Mustard, and Herbs

2. Vegetables

Fill your plate with vegetables — the more, the better. They’re nutritious and filling! Opt for a mix of colors and enjoy them raw, roasted, grilled, steamed, or sautéed.

3 Recipes to Try

  • Easy Skillet Kale with Lemon & Garlic
  • Caramelized Eggplant & Onion Orzo
  • The Ultimate Grilled Zucchini Salad

3. Fruit

Got a sweet tooth? Let fruit satisfy it. The natural sugar in berries and other fruit is countered by natural fiber, so you absorb it slower and digest it better. Sprinkle berries on your morning oatmeal, snack on an apple midday, or dig into some watermelon for dessert.

3 Recipes to Try

  • Berry Pineapple Fruit Salad
  • Spinach & Strawberry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
  • Brûléed Fruit with Mascarpone Yogurt Sauce

4. Whole Grains

Whole grains also deliver lots of good-for-you fiber in addition to vitamins and minerals, and can be quite filling. Beyond the usual brown rice and quinoa, give farro, barley, polenta, and bulgur a try.

3 Recipes to Try

  • Sweet Potato Quinoa Bowls with Crispy Chickpeas and Chopped Pesto
  • Garlic Basil Shrimp Farrotto
  • Slow Cooker Italian Chicken and Broccoli Bowls

5. Olive Oil

There would be no Mediterranean diet without olive oil. This heart-heathy oil is the best one to reach for when cooking, but don’t stop at just drizzling it in a skillet — it’s also a great oil to bake with.

3 Recipes to Try

  • One-Bowl Yogurt and Honey Olive Oil Cake
  • Zucchini Logs Stewed in Olive Oil with Onions and Chard
  • Olive Oil Carrot Muffins

6. Nuts & Seeds

Nuts and seeds are highly nutritious sources of protein, fiber, and good fats. Snack on them or incorporate them into some of your favorite recipes for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

3 Recipes to Try

  • Almond-Crusted Chicken Tenders with Honey Mustard
  • How to Make Easy Muesli
  • Fusilli with Tahini-Yogurt Sauce and Nigella Seeds

7. Beans & Lentils

Beans and lentils are another good choice for bulking up a plate with fiber and nutrition. Whether you prefer cooking dried beans, or like the convenience of a can, nutritionally you can’t go wrong with them.

3 Recipes to Try

  • Brown Rice Bowl with Lentils, Caramelized Onions & Fried Egg
  • Feta and Tomato Braised Chickpeas
  • Marinated White Beans

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