The Mediterranean diet meal plan is a part of the local foods belonging to the people living in the Mediterranean region. Due to the varied climatic conditions, there’s a wide array of foods that are a part of their regular diet. While the Mediterranean diet stands out as a wholesome diet meal plan, the diet isn’t restricted, nor does it lay too much emphasis on a specific category of foods. Mostly, the Mediterranean menu emphasizes consuming organic, locally produced fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, fish, and other lean proteins. So, the Mediterranean meal plan isn’t that difficult and is free to incorporate into our lifestyle and follow for a long term gain like weight loss. It is flexible enough to make it as expensive or nominal as we want it to be and is recognized as the world’s healthiest diet.
General Guidelines For Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan
Firstly, there aren’t many dos and don’ts as this diet is all about eating the local Mediterranean foods.
However, there are specific criteria that you would need to follow while coming up with your meal plan.
Secondly, and most importantly, your diet should be fresh with healthy and unprocessed Mediterranean foods.
Thirdly, the Mediterranean diet meal plan consists of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, herbs and spices, and monounsaturated fats.
Healthy Foods To Consume In Mediterranean Diet Menu
- Vegetables: Tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli/cauliflower, yams, sweet potatoes, carrots, cucumbers, spinach, onions, peppers.
- Fruits: Apples, peaches, grapes, bananas, oranges, olives, avocados, different varieties of berries like strawberry, raspberry, types of melons.
- Whole grains: Whole wheat, millets, brown rice, rye, barley, corn, buckwheat, oats, whole-grain bread, and pasta.
- Healthy fat sources: Cashews, almonds, walnuts, macadamia, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds; extra virgin olive oil.
- Legumes: Lentils, pulses, peanuts, beans (pinto, kidney), peas (green peas, cowpeas, black-eyed peas).
- Herbs and spices: parsley, basil, mint, rosemary, sage, garlic, cinnamon, pepper.
- Moderate: Diary, fish/seafood, eggs, red wine.
- Dairy: Milk, butter, cheese, yogurt.
- Fish and seafood: Salmon, anchovies, sardines, tuna, trout, mackerel, shrimp, crab, oysters, clams.
- Poultry and eggs: Chicken, turkey, quail, goose, duck.
While consuming beverages, keep the following points in mind.
- Water (most recommended) can make it flavourful by infusing different ingredients like mint leaves, cucumber, and lime slices.
- Moderate consumption of coffee, tea, or red wine.
- Avoid sugary drinks like soda, energy drinks, or sweetened fruit juices.
Besides, different combinations of the foods mentioned above are suitable for weight loss recipes, chicken recipes for a high protein diet, or in most vegetarian recipes.
Unhealthy Foods To Avoid In Mediterranean Menu
Similarly, avoid unhealthy foods and ingredients like over-processed, over sugary foods. For instance, below are some unhealthy foods to avoid in Mediterranean meal recipes.
- Refined grains and flours: Polished grains, cakes, white bread, or pasta made from refined flours like all-purpose flour.
- Refined oils: Palm oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, or even refined olive oil.
- Trans fat-rich foods: Margarine or factory-made cakes, cookies.
- Sugary foods: Candies, ice cream, energy drinks, soda, packaged fruit juices.
- Processed meats: Most cold cuts like sausages, salami.
Check out the best cooking oils for healthy living.
Here are some top benefits of the famous Mediterranean menu that are backed by science.
1. Promotes Heart Health
Since the Mediterranean meal plan consists of fresh and organic food items, it is incredible for heart health.
In fact, studies have shown that people who followed the Mediterranean menu are at 30 percent lower risks of cardiovascular diseases.
2. Improves Brain Health
Did you know that consuming all those healthy nuts boosts your brain health and prevent you from the disease like Alzheimer?
Your brain health depends on heart health because your heart needs to function correctly to supply blood, which is imperative to promote your brain’s nutrition and oxygen.
Therefore, people who have cardiovascular disease are at higher risk of developing brain dysfunctionality.
3. Helps With Depression
According to a Molecular Psychiatry study, those who consume Mediterranean foods regularly are less likely to show symptoms of depression.
That’s why even experts prescribe a Mediterranean diet plan that is rich in nutritional value. One primary reason for doing that is healthy fats promote better mental health. Even consuming kale, spinach, and eggs are believed to form good bacteria in the gut, further enhancing your mood.
4. Manage Blood Sugar
There’s a reason why the Mediterranean diet is termed as the healthiest in the world. Since the Mediterranean diet mainly focuses on consuming whole grains and other healthy carbs instead of refined carbohydrates, it helps stabilize your blood sugar levels.
5. Good For Post-Menopausal Woman
Women lose muscle mass and bone health when they reach menopause. However, the Mediterranean diet is associated with improving bone health and muscle mass in postmenopausal women.
Mediterranean Diet 7 Days Sample Meal Plan
We have listed a sample menu for one week, including chicken recipes, vegetarian recipes, and some Mediterranean diet recipes for weight loss. Obviously, you may adjust the portions and ingredients based on your food preferences and dietary requirements.
For instance, vegetarians can replace meat with high protein foods, pulses, or beans for Mediterranean diet vegetarian recipes, whereas Vegans can replace dairy with other vegan alternatives.
Likewise, people who follow a low-fat diet can reduce the fat-rich foods like butter with olive oil options and create their Mediterranean diet recipes for weight loss.
Day 1: Meal For Monday
Yogurt with fresh fruits and nuts.
Baked salmon served with mashed potatoes and vegetables sautéd in olive oil and seasoned with Italian herbs.
Freshly cut fruits with honey drizzled on top.
Shrimp salad with lettuce, tomatoes, and some olives.
Day 2: Meal Plan For Tuesday
Oatmeal with raisins and nuts.
Tuna salad with vegetables and drizzled with olive oil or vinaigrette.
Garlic bread is made with whole grain and salad with tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese. An excellent example of the Mediterranean diet vegetarian recipe
Day 3: Meal Plan For Wednesday
Greek yogurt with strawberries and oats.
A variety of quinoa salad with feta cheese and grilled vegetables is a good option for lunch. This is another classic Mediterranean diet vegetarian recipe.
Fruits like apples, oranges, and peaches.
Tuna salad with some dressing of olive oil. With that, have a piece of fruit for dessert.
Day 4: Meal Plan For Thursday
Eggs and vegetables sautéed in olive oil seasoned with Italian herbs and garlic.
Baked or boiled beans seasoned with herbs and garlic with a small part of whole-grain bread.
A small serving of assorted nuts like cashews, almonds, etc.
Grilled steak (lamb, chicken, or fish) with salad and baked potato.
Day 5: Meal Plan For Friday
Overnight oats with yogurt and fruit.
A grilled cheese sandwich and fresh vegetables.
Carrot sticks with hummus.
Mediterranean chicken salad because it’s a filling Mediterranean diet chicken recipe with the goodness of vegetables
Day 6: Meal Plan For Saturday
Omelet with cheese and vegetables.
Mediterranean pizza made with whole wheat, topped with cheese, vegetables, and olives.
A small bowl of assorted berries.
Shrimp salad with vegetables.
Day 7: Meal Plan For Sunday
Scrambled eggs with bell peppers and olives.
Half a cup of whole-grain pasta with tomato sauce, olive oil with a side of grilled vegetables.
A small part of boiled sweet potato.
A grilled chicken salad prepared with vegetables and potato. Have fruits for dessert.
Along with the 7-day meal plan, we have also got some of the Mediterranean diet recipes that can help you in your weight loss journey.
Meanwhile, you should know that only following the diet will not yield any results because along with it, there should be a structured workout plan to reap the maximum benefit out of it.
Mediterranean Diet Menu for Weight Loss
Below are some suggestions for Mediterranean diet recipes for weight loss.
- Baked salmon served with mashed potatoes and vegetables.
- Tuna salad with vegetables and drizzled with olive oil or vinaigrette.
- A grilled chicken salad prepared with vegetables and potato.
- Grilled steak (lamb, chicken, or fish) with salad and baked potato.
- Mediterranean chicken salad.
- Shrimp salad with lettuce, tomatoes, olives.
Mediterranean Diet Chicken Recipes
Below are some suggestions for Mediterranean diet chicken recipes.
- A grilled chicken salad prepared with vegetables and potato.
- Grilled chicken steak with a baked potato.
- Mediterranean chicken salad with a side of garlic bread.
- Creamy chicken casserole topped with cheese.
- Chicken pot roast with vegetables.
Mediterranean Diet Vegetarian Recipes
Below are some suggestions for Mediterranean diet vegetarian recipes.
- Whole-grain pasta with tomato sauce, olive oil with a side of grilled vegetables.
- Vegetable casserole with tomato sauce topped with parmesan cheese.
- Vegetable stir fry with sprinkled herbs and a slice of garlic bread.
- Hummus with toasted whole-grain pita bread with a side of steamed vegetables.
- Oatmeal with assorted fruits.
In the light of leading a healthy life, switching to a Mediterranean diet undoubtedly results in a long-term and sustainable, more nutritional lifestyle. Not only food, but the Mediterranean diet also encourages increased physical activity resulting in better health and nutrition for the entire family.
Have you tried the Mediterranean diet before? If yes, then please share your experience with us in the comment section.
FAQ On Meditarerranean Meal Plan
Can you lose weight on the Mediterranean diet plan?
The Meditteranean diet recipes consist of some of the healthiest food items found in the world. Moreover, studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet plan is as beneficial as other popular diets like low carbs for weight loss.
Is following the Mediterranean diet plan enough for weight loss?
Only following the Mediterranean diet menu isn’t enough for weight loss. In addition to the Mediterranean diet meal plan, you should also indulge in physical activity seven days a week.
How can I follow the Mediterranean diet plan?
Since a Mediterranean diet plan is more like a habit and building habits are the most challenging, we suggest you begin with a weekly menu plan. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
- Replace your regular oil with extra virgin olive oil.
- Incorporate every meal with fresh fruits, veggies, whole grains, herbs, and nuts.
- Choose lean proteins like fish and chicken instead of red meat.
- Consume yogurt and cheese in moderate amounts every day.
Can I eat at restaurants while following the Mediterranean diet?
Well, eating out often can hamper your weight loss journey even if you follow the Mediterranean diet plan. However, there are a few things you can keep in mind while dining out.
- Request them to prepare your food using olive oil.
- Pick lean protein foods like fish or chicken as your main dish.
- Drink enough water before a meal.
- Stash on healthy snacks beforehand.
Disclaimer: This content is shared for informational purposes only. It is advised to seek professional medical advice before making major lifestyle decisions.