According to the U.S. News & World Report annual ranking, the Mediterranean diet is recognized as the Best Overall Diet. This diet also tops the list in four other categories- Best Diets for Healthy Eating, Best Diets for Diabetes, Easiest Diets to follow, and Best Plant-based Diets. What makes the Mediterranean diet so special? In this article, we will discuss the reason behind its popularity as well as some of our handpicked best Mediterranean diet recipes.
Why would you choose the Mediterranean diet?
Diets like Whole 30 or Keto are restrictive. Unlike these diets, the Mediterranean diet is less prohibitive and more inclusive. It is more like adapting to a lifestyle instead of strict adherence to a regime.
The reason this diet reigns supreme now is that several pieces of research have attested to the fact that the health condition of people living in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea is generally better- the statistics of people suffering from chronic diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, or high cholesterol level are significantly lower compared to other countries. Among the numerous health benefits of following the Mediterranean diet is that it becomes easier to maintain healthy body weight, and the chances of getting heart diseases get lowered.
And you do not even have to compromise with the taste.
So, what is Mediterranean diet? The philosophy behind this diet is very simple. The aim is to consume more food containing essential nutrients so that you have an overall balanced diet. It might take some getting used to, but these basic guidelines might help you:
- Consume more fruits, green leafy vegetables, beans, whole grains, legumes, nuts. Include healthy fats, food that naturally contains sugar, poultry, and seafood. Red wine can be consumed in limitation regularly.
- Consume red meat in moderation. Avoid too much confectionaries, sodas, foods with added sugar.
Yes, it is this simple. The Mediterranean diet is known for its simplicity. The preparations are hassle-free.
A few Pros and Cons of the Mediterranean Diet.
Pros of consuming Mediterranean foods
- The ease with which you can prepare plenty of Mediterranean foods makes it very convenient to adopt this diet plan into your regular lifestyle.
- Most of the items from this extremely simple Mediterranean diet are easily available in almost every restaurant. Chicken breast, baked fish are very common food items. You do not have to worry about compromising with a lifestyle even while you are traveling.
- Your diet will contain a large number of fruits and vegetables. Your body will get a sufficient amount of fiber.
- This diet will contain plenty of healthy fats like olive oils, goat cheese which is extremely beneficial for your body.
A few cons of following a Mediterranean diet plan
- Initially figuring out the meals that you can include in your daily meal plan might be a bit difficult.
- The recommended two servings of dairy products are less than the amount prescribed by the Dietary Guidelines of America. But that can be easily taken care of. You can moderate your consumption according to your need.
Some of the Best Mediterranean Diet Recipes to start with
These are a few breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes inspired by the Mediterranean diet plan you can follow.
Yogurt Berry Parfait
- Berries such as blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries
- Around 250 ml plain yogurt
- Wash the berries in water. Cut small slices of strawberries.
- Layer the glass with yogurt.
- Add a layer of berries to it.
- Sprinkle Granola on top.
- Top it with more yogurt.
- Repeat these steps to add a few more layers.
Apple Pie with oats
- One-third of a cup of coconut yogurt
- One-third of a cup of rolled oats
- A third of a cup of almond milk
- A teaspoon of chia seeds
- Grind a teaspoon of cinnamon
- Quarter cup pure vanilla extract
- A teaspoon of maple syrup
- Half apple chopped into small pieces and chopped walnuts to be used for toppings
- Take a jar and fill it with yogurt, oats, almond milk, chia seeds, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and maple syrup.
- Stir well and cover the jar with a lid.
- Refrigerate it for five to six hours at night.
- Add chopped walnuts, apple, and maple syrup as toppings.
- 11/2 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil
- Half onion, chopped
- Thin slices of half red bell pepper
- A quarter of a bunch of cilantro. Separate the leaves and stem and chop them
- 2 Thinly sliced cloves of garlic
- Ground cumin around a three-fourth teaspoon
- Half teaspoon paprika
- Red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- Crush 1 15ounce peeled tomatoes by hand
- Four eggs
- Pita bread while serving
- Heat the olive oil in medium heat in a skillet.
- Add bell pepper and onion. Cook it for around 10 minutes.
- Add garlic, cilantro, paprika, cumin, and red pepper.
- Season it with pepper and salt. Cook for a minute.
- Preheat the oven to 375 F.
- Stir the tomatoes in the skillet for around 20 minutes until the sauce thickens.
- Add some salt and pepper.
- Make wells in the sauce using a spoon and crack the eggs in the wells.
- Put the skillet in the oven and bake it for around 15 minutes until the egg whites have set properly
- Season with cilantro leaves and serve with pita bread.
Minestrone Soup with Pasta
- Three cups of chicken or vegetable broth
- 28 ounces of diced tomatoes
- 15 ounces of white beans
- 2 carrots, 1 onion, 1 celery stalk chopped
- A teaspoon of dried thyme
- Half teaspoon of dried sage
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cups of ditalini pasta cooked
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 2 cups of fresh spinach
- Four tablespoons of grated Parmesan
- Basil sprigs for garnish (optional)
- Take the broth, thyme, beans, onion, sage, tomatoes, celery, bay leaves, carrots, and half teaspoon salt and black pepper each in a slow cooker and cook on high flame for three to four hours.
- Towards the end when the soup is almost ready add zucchini, ditalini, and spinach and cooks for thirty minutes.
- Sprinkle parmesan cheese and garnish with basil before serving.
Salmon and Kale (with Apple Salad)
- 4-5 ounces salmon fillets, center-cut
- Lime juice, three tablespoons
- Olive oil, three tablespoons
- Kosher salt
- 6 cups of kale sliced
- Quarter cup dates
- A Honeycrisp Apple
- Quarter cup grated pecorino
- Three tablespoons of toasted almonds
- Ground pepper
- Four wheat rolls
- Take some lime juice, olive oil, and a quarter teaspoon of salt and kale in a bowl and whisk them.
- Add sliced dates and apple to the kale. Add some cheese and almonds and season with pepper.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper on the salmon (should be brought to room temperature). Pour some olive oil on a skillet and cook the salmon until a brownish hue appears and the salmon becomes a bit firm to touch.
- Serve with salad and wheat rolls.
These are some of the best Mediterranean diet recipes that you would like to try out if you want to adapt to a Mediterranean-inspired lifestyle.