SALT LAKE CITY — May is international Mediterranean diet month. And while many diet crazes come and go, the Mediterranean diet is one that most nutrition and health experts can get behind.
Studies have shown the Mediterranean diet may reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers, as well as help with weight loss, managing high blood pressure and more. Just because you don't live near the Mediterranean doesn't mean you can't reap the benefits of this way of eating. Many foods promoted within the Mediterranean diet can be found in your local grocery store.
The Mediterranean diet is more of a lifestyle approach to healthy eating rather than a restrictive fad diet. It's patterned after a way of eating traditional to the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Depending on which country you visit, you'll find a slightly different dietary pattern in each. However, there are some common themes among them that come to embody a Mediterranean style of eating:
Foods eaten daily
- Plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes and seeds
- Olive oil as a main source of fat
- Dairy, such as cheese and yogurt, in low to moderate amounts
- Fresh fruit for dessert
Foods eaten a few times a week
- Seafood and poultry
- Sweets containing added sugars or honey
Foods rarely eaten
- Red meat
To help you get started eating the Mediterranean way, here are 15 healthy and delicious Mediterranean-inspired recipes from registered dietitians:
1. Crunchy Mediterranean Couscous Salad via Cozy Peach Kitchen
With just 15 minutes of prep, you can enjoy this colorful bowl of nutrient-packed veggies full of Mediterranean flavor. This vegan dish is perfect as a meal prep option or to serve as a side dish for dinner.
2. Egg and Veggie Topped Hummus Toast with Radish and Dill via Amy Gorin Nutrition
Forget avocado toast, hummus toast has moved to town! This yummy hummus-topped toast also features a soft-boiled egg, veggies, dill, and everything bagel seasoning.
3. Mediterranean Chicken Burger via Tasty Balance Nutrition
These chicken burger patties are a great alternative to traditional American hamburgers, which are rarely eaten in the Mediterranean diet. Serve over a bed of lettuce in a salad or on a whole wheat bun with extra veggies and condiments of your choice.
4. Mediterranean Sheet Pan Salmon with Zucchini, Corn, and Tomatoes via Jessica Levinson
Not only is this a one-pan meal with easy clean-up, but this salmon sheet pan dinner is full of flavor, nutrition and fits perfectly in any Mediterranean diet.
5. Mediterranean Quinoa and Tuna Balanced Bowl via Jessica Ivey
This is a simple yet delicious bowl meal full of fresh veggies, whole grains, protein and topped with a light zesty dressing. This dish is great for meal prep lunches and can be customized to use up leftover ingredients from other recipes.
6. Mediterranean Chicken & Pasta Skillet via Your Choice Nutrition
This dish is filled with Mediterranean-inspired ingredients such as olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh herbs. This one-pan pasta dinner is sure to be a family favorite.
7. Farro Salad with Lemon, Cucumbers and Herbs via Salubrious RD
This salad features the ancient grain farro and is crunchy, light and refreshing.
8. Cold Cucumber Yogurt Soup via Food & Nutrition Solutions by Jill
This cold soup is perfect for those hot summer days. It's simple to make, low in calories and full of fresh cucumber flavor. It works great as an appetizer, side dish or a satisfying snack.
9. One-Pot Mediterranean Pasta via Holly Grainger
If you have one pot and 30 minutes, you can have this Mediterranean-inspired meal ready and on the table for your family. With whole grains, plant-based protein, veggies and full of flavor, this is a fun twist on traditional spaghetti.
10. Roasted Chickpea Cauliflower Pitas via Bucket List Tummy
Instead of a sandwich, try a pita. Filled with crispy chickpeas, fresh veggies, herbs and spices — this is a delicious vegetarian lunch option.
11. Salmon and Quinoa Mason Jar Salad via Desi-licious RD
A simple and fun make-ahead lunch idea is this Mediterranian-inspired salad in a jar. It's a healthy option and a tasty on-the-go meal.
12. Honey Cherry Walnut Brownies via Emily Kyle Nutrition
Yes, desserts can be included in the Mediterranean diet occasionally, especially if they're filled with nutritious ingredients like cherries, walnuts, olive oil, Greek yogurt and whole wheat flour. These honey cherry walnut brownies are nourishing and delicious!
13. Easy Healthy Pasta with Crispy Rosemary Chickpeas via Spicy RD Nutrition
A delicious plant-based protein dish, this Mediterranean healthy pasta dish includes crispy chickpeas, roasted tomatoes and fresh spinach lightly sprinkled with spices and parmesan cheese.
14. Italian Lupini Bean Salad with Crushed Pistachios via Amy Gorin Nutrition
This easy plant-based appetizer works double-time as a delicious snack or as a topping for a salad.
15. Black Sesame Seed Encrusted Salmon via Triad to Wellness
Add some crunch to your salmon with a sesame seed crust. Serve alongside some whole grains and veggies for a complete and balanced Mediterranean meal.
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