The idea is to:
- Consume meats and sweets on a less frequent basis than most of us are used to
- Consume moderate amounts of poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt
- Choose fish and seafood at least twice a week, if not more
- Include fruits, veggies, whole grains, olive oil, beans, nuts, legumes, seeds, herbs, and spices in as many of your meals as possible
Thanks to the geographical location of the Mediterranean Sea, the diet takes advantage of the healthy resources that are locally sourced from the region. So fresh fish, herbs, veggies, nuts, seeds, and the ubiquitous olives and olive oil are used as staples in the diet.
In addition to those staples, you’ll also find some of the following foods in the Mediterranean diet:
- Veggies such as broccoli rabe, tomatoes, cucumbers, chick peas, peppers, eggplant
- Protein sources: eggs, baked chicken, salmon, white fish, shrimp, tuna
- Whole grains such as couscous, bulgur, quinoa
- Beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds
- Fresh herbs like parsley, basil, mint, dill
- Olive oil
- Red wine in moderation (optional)
Here are some other general principles many people follow when adhering to a Mediterranean diet.
Here are five awesome Mediterranean meal plans.
Day 1 Meal Plan
- Breakfast: Greek yogurt parfait using a Greek yogurt base, add slivered almonds, pumpkin seeds, and a sprinkle of granola. Next, drizzle a tiny bit of honey over the top. It’s a healthier version of this Starbuck’s favorite.
- Morning Snack: Handful of walnuts with an apple
- Lunch: Toasted pita with hummus, cut up peppers, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, a few pitted kalamata olives, and a sprinkle of feta cheese.
- Afternoon snack: two hard boiled eggs
- Dinner: Two servings of roasted lemon and dill salmon (one for dinner and one to use for lunch tomorrow).
Day 2 Meal Plan
- Breakfast: Quinoa and banana ‘oatmeal’ with chopped walnuts, hazelnuts, and a dash of cinnamon.
- Morning Snack: One hard boiled egg
- Lunch: Greek style salad (red onions, black olives, cucumbers, tomatoes, feta, and pepperoncinis) topped with the salmon from last night.
- Afternoon snack: 2nd hard boiled egg
- Dinner: Mediterranean shrimp skillet with a side of homemade tabbouleh. I’ll make a big batch of the tabbouleh so I can use it for lunch the next day.
Day 3 Meal Plan
- Breakfast: Two pieces of whole wheat bread with slices of avocado, sprinkled with feta, and topped with a sunny side up egg.
- Morning Snack: Greek yogurt parfait like the one in Day 1’s plan.
- Lunch: Homemade tabbouleh from previous night with a toasted pita.
- Afternoon snack: Slices of tomato, fresh basil, some low-fat mozzarella, and some olives drizzled in olive oil.
- Dinner: Lamb meatballs with a Lemon-Cumin Greek Yogurt sauce. (Again, I’ll make a big batch of these so I have some for lunch the next day)
Day 4 Meal Plan
- Breakfast: Mediterranean frittata, which I’ll use for tomorrow’s breakfast too.
- Morning Snack: Handful of almonds and some mixed berries
- Lunch: Leftover meatballs from Day 3 with some pita
- Afternoon snack: Hummus with freshly sliced peppers and carrots
- Dinner: Fit Men Cook’s Mediterranean Inspired Quinoa, which I’ll use for lunch the next day too.
Day 5 Meal Plan
- Breakfast: The rest of the Mediterranean frittata
- Morning Snack: Greek yogurt with a side of fresh fruit
- Lunch: Leftover quinoa salad from the previous night
- Afternoon snack: Lemon parmesan chickpea salad
- Dinner: Tomato, olive, and thyme white fish fillets
As you can see from these easy meal plans, following the Mediterranean diet not only offers healthy and flavorful options, but it can also save you money since most of the ingredients are relatively inexpensive and can be used for multiple meals.