Lean proteins, healthy fats and plenty of fruits and vegetables are the basis of Mediterranean diet recipes. It is easy to make a few changes in your daily routine to incorporate more heart-healthy food into dinnertime.
Mediterranean lunch recipes will help you to stay on track during the work week. Focusing on a variety of colors from different vegetables will make mealtime a feast for the eyes as well as your palate.
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What is a Mediterranean Diet?
According to the Mayo clinic, the Mediterranean diet consists of eating mostly plant-based foods, with plenty of fruit, vegetables (like this Israeli Salad), whole grains, legumes (beans, lentils, etc) and nuts. They suggest replacing butter with olive oil and limiting red meat to a few times per month.
Red wine is allowed in moderation, exercise is encouraged, but the thing that really caught my attention was this: “enjoying meals with family and friends“. Sharing a meal with people you genuinely care about can have a positive affect on your health. How great is that?
The Foods of the Mediterranean Region
Let’s clear something up, ok? Here is where I think this can get a bit sticky. The Mediterranean Sea borders 21 countries. I won’t bore you with the list, but let me just say this: the food in France is not the same as the food in Egypt. So, how can “the mediterranean diet” be the food of the entire region? Short answer: it isn’t.
The cuisine of the entire Mediterranean region can fill multiple books, a single blog post won’t even scratch the surface. I’m not going to go too in depth here, but we will be coming back to the subject in the future.
Lamb is one of the main proteins in certain Mediterranean countries, but it isn’t on the list of foods you should eat on the Mediterranean diet. So, the actual cuisine of the Mediterranean doesn’t necessarily reflect the recommended food on this diet.
Here are a few cookbooks that are highly recommended. Jerusalem is a step above beginner level, but so worth it. The book is stunning and the recipes are solid. I own a few of his cookbooks and they are all very thoughtful and beautifully written.
Mediterranean Diet Meals
Chicken and fish, especially fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna are recommended. With a little planning ahead, you can make small changes that have a big effect on your health. If you don’t eat fish very often because you aren’t a fan of “fishy-tasting” fish like salmon, try a mild white fish like this seared halibut recipe.
Focusing on prepping meals in advance can be a game changer, especially for those with busy lives. Meal prepping has saved my sanity on crazy weeknights when I’m working late and come home hungry or don’t have time to think about what I want for lunch the following day. The Moroccan Chicken Meal Prep Bowls pictured above are full of flavor and have a bit of sweet, a bit of crunch, a little salty and lots of delicious.
Easy Mediterranean Diet Recipes
A simple dish like this pasta with oven roasted vegetables fits the Mediterranean diet beautifully, just make sure it is packed with veggies. A sprinkle of grated Parmesan on top gives it great flavor with overdoing it.
Making heart-healthy meals doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. As long as you are eating plenty of vegetables and lean proteins, you’re on the right path. If you can incorporate vegetables with different colors, even better.
More Easy Mediterranean Diet Recipes:
Mediterranean Diet Recipes for Beginners
Gather up a hefty amount of vegetables and toss them with a little bit of olive oil. Sprinkle in a tablespoon of dried herbs, like oregano or thyme, and give it a good toss. Lay them out on a sheet pan and roast in a hot oven until they are soft and slightly caramelized. Oven roasted veggies are perhaps one of the easiest things you can make and they go with everything.
These along with a piece of fish or chicken make an excellent dinner option that is right in line with this diet, plus it is super tasty.
If you are new to grains, it can be a challenge to figure out how to get these into your meals. Once you get a feel for how the different whole grains taste, how to cook them, etc, it will become second nature to incorporate them into dinner.
If you are unfamiliar with some of these ingredients, or your market doesn’t carry some of these items, you can find them on Amazon. These are the brands that I actually use. Especially the tahini, it is my favorite. I go through quite a bit of it. It makes a great swap for peanut butter when you’re craving that flavor.
Mediterranean diet recipes for weight loss
Low calorie Mediterranean diet recipes are easy to make with a few fresh ingredients. Lentil Soup probably doesn’t come to mind when you think of Mediterranean food, but it fits the Mediterranean diet perfectly – it has legumes and tons of fresh vegetables. This soup clocks in at 360 calories per serving and it will leave you feeling satisfied.
Honestly, most of the recipes here are good for those trying to shed a few pounds. They focus on vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. Eating fish, chicken, lots of vegetables, salads and fresh fruit instead of packaged foods and sugary snacks is the way to go.
A dessert to fit the diet (sort of)
• Dark Chocolate Cake with Red Wine Ganache – dark chocolate is practically a health food in my book and red wine in moderation is allowed on this diet, therefore, this dessert is approved (by me!).
If you’ve been around here for more than 5 minutes, you know I have a sweet tooth. I’m not giving up cake. It’s just not happening. So, I will indulge every now and then and when I do, it better be worth it. This cake is totally worth the extra calories.
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Have a delicious day!