Ultimate Grocery Guide: Mediterranean Diet

by Danielle Omar, RD
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Ultimate Grocery Guide: Mediterranean Diet

The health benefits of the Mediterranean diet have been widely studied and are frequently praised as the “gold standard” in preventive medicine. The diet is largely known for its association with increased longevity, heart health and brain health, but the benefits don’t stop there! It also helps with weight loss, improves bone health, and reduces your risk of stroke, diabetes, and some cancers.

What I love about the Mediterranean diet is, despite its name, it’s more of a lifestyle than a rigid set of dietary rules. The main tenets include consuming a mostly plant-based diet, having strong social networks, eating together with family, decreasing stress, and staying physically active.

The Mediterranean diet relies heavily on plants, which are loaded with phytonutrients, fiber and antioxidants. It’s also naturally high in heart-healthy omega-3 fats, which help improve the body’s inflammatory response and benefit brain health.

The Mediterranean diet also focuses on how you eat as much as what you eat. With a strong emphasis on bringing joy back to preparing, cooking and eating food, the lifestyle encourages meals be eaten slowly and mindfully — and always with friends and family! This aspect of the diet is a meaningful contributor to its association with living a longer life.

Given the long list of proven benefits, the Mediterranean diet is worth considering as a sustainable, long-term option for improving your health and overall well-being.

WHAT FOODS ARE INCLUDED IN THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET?

The Mediterranean diet is modeled after diets common in Italy, Spain and Greece. It emphasizes eating lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, seeds, whole grains and fish. It also includes liberal use of olive oil, a moderate amount of dairy, and very little red meat.

Pick your favorites from the list below and experiment with different recipes from our blog, recipe discovery or your own combination of ingredients!

Looking for some specific ideas? Try sauteeing mushrooms, onion and spinach in olive oil, then folding them into scrambled eggs with fresh herbs for a Mediterranean take on a frittata or try this recipe. This red lentil and beet hummus would be great as a snack with chopped veggies. Whip up a pot of minestrone for lunch or dinner with this quick Instant Pot recipe.

VEGETABLES
Artichoke
Arugula
Asparagus
Beets and beet greens
Bell peppers
Broccoli
Cabbage
Carrots
Celery
Collard greens
Cucumber
Eggplant
Fresh herbs like basil, oregano, dill, thyme, parsley, rosemary, mint or cilantro
Garlic
Kale
Leeks
Lemon
Mushrooms
Mustard greens
Olives
Onions
Radishes
Scallions
Spinach
Tomatoes (canned and fresh)
Zucchini and squash

FRUITS
Apples
Apricots
Avocado
Berries
Citrus fruits
Dates
Figs
Grapes
Peaches
Pomegranates

NUTS/SEEDS
Almonds
Flaxseed (ground)
Pine nuts
Pistachios
Pumpkin seeds
Sesame seeds
Sunflower seeds
Walnuts

BEANS & LEGUMES
Black-eyed peas
Cannellini beans
Garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
Kidney beans
Lentils
Lima beans

FISH/SEAFOOD
Canned fish (sustainable tuna, salmon, anchovies, clams and sardines)
Fresh clams
Fresh tuna
Mackerel
Mussels
Shrimp
Wild-caught salmon

DAIRY
Feta cheese
Plain Greek yogurt
Manchego cheese
Mozzarella cheese
Parmigiano-Reggiano
Pecorino Romano
Ricotta cheese

OILS, SPICES & CONDIMENTS
Anchovy paste
Bay leaves
Capers
Dried basil
Dried oregano
Dried parsley
Dried thyme
Extra virgin olive oil

GRAINS
Barley
Bulgur
Whole-grain couscous
Farro
Whole-grain pasta
Polenta
Quinoa


CLICK TO TWEET THIS ARTICLE > A diet that lowers risk of heart disease, stroke and increases longevity? Yes, please! Via @myfitnesspal #MyFitnessPal


THE BOTTOM LINE

The Mediterranean diet is a lifestyle based on plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes and includes liberal use of olive oil. It has many health benefits including lower risk of many chronic diseases, improving overall health and well-being. It also recommends being active and enjoying meals together with friends and family, a major contributor to increased longevity.

Ready to take the next step? Unlock MyFitnessPal Premium to access custom goal settings, quick-log recipes, and guided plans from a registered dietitian. Premium users are 65% more likely to reach their weight loss goals!

About the Author

Danielle Omar, RD

Danielle is an integrative dietitian, culinary nutritionist, author and consultant, frequently lending her love of creating to high-profile food and nutrition media outlets. She’s a regularly featured blogger and founder of foodconfidence.comwhere she inspires men and women on their journey to become their healthiest self. Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.

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