The Mediterranean diet took the world by storm with its foundations of low-fat eating and principles of portion control. Its foods are known to be flavorful, without being too rich or heavy. Many people choose to follow the diet strictly to achieve their weight-loss goals, while others choose to incorporate Mediterranean offerings into their normal recipe repertoire.
Whether you're following the Mediterranean diet or not, Mediterranean recipes are some of the healthiest in the world. Getting an understanding of healthy Mediterranean food and how you can incorporate it into your diet is a great way to start eating healthy.
The Mediterranean Food Pyramid
Though there are many interpretations on the Mediterranean food pyramid, in general it has some core differences from the USDA food pyramid that are intriguing. First off, the Mediterranean diet is structured on daily/weekly/monthly basis, rather than just daily. This can help give a long-term perspective on healthy eating—for example, in the daily version red meat and sugary foods are eliminated, showing that these foods do not need to be eaten regularly. Another Mediterranean food pyramid difference is that it includes not only food, but also exercise, providing another big-picture outlook on achieving overall health.
Mediterranean Diet Ingredients
While a free Mediterranean diet recipe collection will be included in diet packages, you can find great Mediterranean diet recipes on the Internet as well as in numerous recipe books full of great meal ideas. Common ingredients in recipes for the Mediterranean diet and for Mediterranean eating in general include:
- Healthy oils. Olive oil is a staple in the Mediterranean diet, for its high level of monounsaturated (healthy) fats. Vinegar (including red wine vinegar) is often mixed with olive oil to create flavorful, healthy dressings.
- Herbs and spices. Rather than heavy sauces, Mediterranean food incorporates fresh herbs and spices such as saffron, fennel, black pepper and thyme, as well as other strong flavors such as garlic and onion.
- Seafood. Scallops, shrimp and fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids are found in many Mediterranean food recipe options.