Article written by Brittney Newsome, Area Nutrition Agent.
When it comes to foods that are maximized with nutrients, all in one
meal, the Mediterranean style diet is the perfect choice. The
Mediterranean Diet encourages the enjoyment of a wide variety of whole
nourishing foods and living an active lifestyle. This lifestyle
approach places emphasis on consuming foods such as fruits, veggies,
whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, olive oil, fish, seafood, and
flavorful herbs and spices and is appropriate for all age groups.
Characteristics of the Mediterranean Diet include:
- Whole grains, which include all parts of the grain; the bran,
endosperm, and germ. Each of these parts has healthful nutrients, which
are lost or reduced when they are refined into products such as white
flour. Whole grains contain nutrients that are high in fiber, B
vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. Consistent consumption of
dietary fiber may help to lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and
- A wide variety of fruits and vegetables, often eaten
seasonally and locally have great health benefits associated with them
as well. Remember fruits and vegetables are nutrient dense and loaded
with fiber and many antioxidants that helps to protect the body against
unwanted toxins and even prevent some chronic diseases.
- Legumes, nuts, and seeds are the main plant-based source of protein in
the diet. Consumption of legumes may reduce the risk for coronary heart
disease, obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, and some cancers.
- Olive oil is the main source of fat, which replaces less-healthful fats such as butter.
- Seafood, poultry, and eggs are consumed more often than other meats.
- Moderate amounts of dairy, mostly as yogurt and cheese, consumed a few times a week.
- Red wine, consumed moderately with meals.
- Physical activity – at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the week.
- Plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Use fresh herbs and spices; added to dishes for flavor and color in instead of excess salt.
Enjoy this East Mediterranean Salad Recipe:
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup red onions, sliced
- 1/2 cup black olives, sliced
- 1 cucumber, diced
- 3 tablespoons feta, crumble
- 3 tablespoons sun dried tomatoes, julienne cut
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Salt and Fresh ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- In a large bowl, toss together cherry tomatoes, yellow bell pepper,
red onions, black olives, cucumber, feta, and sundried tomato.
- In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
- Pour dressing over salad mixture and toss.
- Top with fresh parsley