If you want to lose weight or simply improve your overall health and well-being, you should consider changing your diet to the Mediterranean diet. This is a modern diet plan inspired by the kinds of food that people in Greece, Spain and Southern Italy eat. Nutritional experts created the Mediterranean diet plan by adopting the positive principles of the original diet used by the people who live in these areas.
When you hear the phrase ‘Mediterranean diet’, what automatically come to mind are certain types of foods such as olive oil, feta cheese, hummus and cucumber salad. These are the dishes that you can usually order when you eat at a Mediterranean-themed restaurant. You need to understand that there is a lot more to this diet plan than olive oil and hummus.
The Basics of A Mediterranean Diet Plan
Before trying this diet plan, you first need to know its basic principles that will serve as your guide when preparing meals and cooking dishes. It will be like your very own diet commandments that you need to follow to maximize the benefits of the Mediterranean diet.
- Use of Olive Oil
The use of olive oil in cooking originated in the Mediterranean because the olive tree grows in this area. One main principle of this diet plan is the use of olive oil in place of lard or butter and other types of cooking oil. Olive oil is also commonly used as an ingredient in salad dressings or as salad dressing itself.
- Eat Several Servings of Fruits and Vegetable in a Day
The diet plan is also known for its high number of fruits and vegetables servings, about five to nine servings in a day. Your every meal should have fruits and vegetables. You can include 100g tomatoes, 100g leafy greens and 200g other vegetables in your meals every day.
- Incorporate Beans and Lentils in Your Diet
Any type of beans and lentils should also be added in your diet every week. You need to have at least two meals with legumes or lentils or around 250g per serving every week.
- Eat More Fish
Eating fish such as blue mackerel, salmon, blue-eye trevalla and sardines is highly encouraged in the Mediterranean diet. You need at least two servings of fish in a week or about 150-200g per serving. You can also use canned fish such as canned salmon and sardines. Canned tuna can also be used but they have less omega-3 which is usually obtained from fish oil.
- Eat Less Meat
You are allowed to eat meat such as beef, lamb and poultry such as chicken but not more than once or twice a week. Some even say that beef should only be eaten twice a month.
- Snack on Nuts and Dried Fruits
You can eat snacks in between meals but be sure that you are eating nutritious snacks such as nuts and dried fruits.