Many of us have heard the news about the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet. A Mediterranean diet is heart healthy and rich in flavor. Plenty of fruits and vegetables, healthy and low fat fish, good quality fats from olive oil and nuts and limited red meat create a diet that promotes long life and a high personal energy level. With just a few changes, you can improve your diet and enjoy flavorful and healthy Mediterranean meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Add an occasional glass of red wine, plenty of water and an active lifestyle to keep your energy up, your cholesterol down and your heart pumping.
Low fat Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and honey is an ideal light and healthy breakfast. If you cannot find Greek yogurt locally, purchase a good quality low fat yogurt at your local grocery store. Bring it home and pour into a strainer lined with cheesecloth or a coffee filter and place this into a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit in the refrigerator overnight. The resulting yogurt will be thick and creamy. Eat your Mediterranean breakfast with fresh berries, other fruits or simply a drizzle of honey. Feta, olives and whole grain bread are another traditional Mediterranean breakfast and one that is easily eaten on the go.
Eat a large salad for lunch on a Mediterranean diet. Use a variety of vegetables, a small amount of low fat, high quality cheese, and a good homemade olive oil based dressing for your salad. Add a few chopped walnuts to your salad if you would like. Try bean or grain based salads as well, like panzanella or tabbouleh for a change of pace. For a lunch on the go, consider hummus, a spread made using garbanzo beans, tahini paste, lemon juice and garlic alongside fresh whole grain bread.
Try a bowl of split pea or minestrone soup accompanied by a salad and whole grain bread for an easy, budget friendly and casual dinner on the Mediterranean diet. Saute fresh seasonal vegetables in olive oil and serve alongside a fish or chicken for another easy dinner option. Take advantage of good quality fruit juices and vinegars to marinate and dress fish or poultry to add flavor. Experiment with pesto, tapenade, and other Mediterranean condiments to add color, flavor and variety to your meals. Feel free to enjoy a small glass of red wine with your Mediterranean meals to reap the heart-healthly benefits.
Indulge in seasonal fresh fruits for dessert on the Mediterranean diet. Serve on their own or with Greek yogurt and a bit of honey. Limit high fat sweets and baked goods.