The good news is that the Mediterranean diet is very flexible. You can fully customize this approach to suit your tastes and preferences. It’s a lifelong diet so make sure it’s easy and enjoyable. Here are five important tips to help you get started:
Eat more legumes
Not only are they a staple that you probably don’t eat enough of anyway, but they’re budget friendly and very nutritious. They are high in fiber and protein and low in fat. These include lentils, dried peas, beans and chickpeas (such as hummus).
Don’t overdo it with alcohol
A common misconception is that those who follow the Mediterranean diet drink a lot of red wine. Alcohol is part of the Mediterranean way of life. If you drink wine, consume it in moderation while eating and enjoying a meal with friends or family.
Set the meat aside
Traditionally, people ate meat only for special occasions, such as Sunday dinner, and even then in small quantities. Try to fit more vegetarian main dishes (think beans, tofu) into your day. A good starting point is to go vegetarian one day a week. When eating meat, focus on choices like skinless chicken and save red meat once a week or twice a month.
Eat less sugar
Just like with meat, make desserts a side dish. This does not mean that there is no more sugar, take a little in your coffee if you wish, but on a daily basis, we do not eat a lot of sugar”.
Cook with olive oil
Make extra virgin olive oil the oil you cook with. It’s high in heart-healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, so you can feel good about keeping a bottle handy in the kitchen. You can also use it cold to make a salad dressing or to drizzle over cooked vegetables or side dishes.
Complete list of foods in the Mediterranean diet
Here’s what to eat and skip when making your meals more Mediterranean:
Rarely or never
Red meat (beef and pork)
Processed meat products
Oil and grease
extra virgin olive oil
Avocado and avocado oil
Rarely or never
trans fatty acids