Few diets have been studied as much, or associated with as many positive health outcomes as the Mediterranean Diet. Not only that, but the food is simple and delicious, making it practical and sustainable for people to follow. It’s no surprise that the Mediterranean Diet is a favourite among nutrition professionals everywhere.
The Mediterranean Diet is based on the traditional eating patterns of countries like Italy, Greece, and Spain. When combined with other healthy lifestyle factors, like regular exercise and meaningful social connection, it’s been associated with lower risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and even mental health issues like depression.
Today we are sharing the foods you must include on a Mediterranean Diet meal plan. All of these foods have been incorporated into the Mediterranean Diet available exclusively to That Clean Life members.
Mediterranean Diet Staple Foods
The foundation of the Mediterranean food pyramid is fresh vegetables and fruit. Unlike the Standard American Diet which includes mostly starchy vegetables like corn and potatoes, the Mediterranean Diet emphasizes non-starchy vegetables like tomatoes and leafy greens.
Vegetables and fruits offer high amounts of fibre and antioxidants, both of which are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 dibetes and cancer.
Produce to include: lettuce, kale, tomatoes, artichokes, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, herbs, arugula, spinach, celery, eggplant, fresh berries, apples, pears etc.
Whole Grains & Legumes
Complex carbohydrates from whole grains and legumes are not associated with the negative health outcomes of simple carbohydrates, like refined grains and sugars. Thanks to their fibre and antioxidant content, these carbohydrate sources can prevent and even reverse many chronic illnesses.
The Mediterranean Diet is high in plant proteins even though meat consumption is lower. This is thanks to the inclusion of whole grains and legumes which are naturally high in protein.
Grains and legumes to include: oats, lentils, bean-based pasta, lentils, quinoa, barley, rye, whole grain pasta, whole grain bread and pasta, chickpeas, hummus, etc.
Lean Animal Proteins
Red meat is consumed once per week or less on a Mediterranean Diet. Instead, poultry, eggs, yogurt, cheeses, and wild-caught fish make up the bulk the of the animal protein consumed.
Serving sizes are small to moderate, and served with plenty of fresh produce, whole grains and legumes.
Proteins to include: chicken, salmon, sardines, mackerel, eggs, fresh yogurt, feta cheese, tuna, etc.
The Mediterranean Diet is not a low-fat diet at all. In fact, olive oil is the most famous component of Mediterranean cuisine and is typically included at each meal.
Wild fish provides heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, along with nuts, seeds, and other foods high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Fats to include: olives and olive oil, almonds, tahini, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, oily fish, etc.
The Mediterranean Diet's staple foods offer more than just health benefits. They also offer up plenty of flavour, making it easy and fun for clients to stick to, without ever feeling deprived.
Save time by using That Clean Life's Mediterranean Diet with your clients.
This done-for-you meal plan is available exclusively That Clean Life members. It's ready to go for use in your practice or it can be customized to meet the needs of individual clients (higher/lower energy needs, vegetarian, dairy-free, etc).
Our done-for-you plans include:
- 7-days of fun, simple, and delicious meals
- An itemized grocery list to save time and money at the grocery store
- A step-by-step prep guide to keep clients on-track
- Simple snacks if they get hungry between meals