If you're looking to live a healthier lifestyle, the Mediterranean diet meal plan is the perfect place to start. The overall goal is to incorporate more nutritious food groups that people typically eat in the areas surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.
This includes loads of whole grains, vegetables, beans and lentils, as well as healthy fats like seafood, olive oil and nuts.
By prioritizing a heart-healthy, well-balanced way of eating, people will reap many health benefits from this type of diet.
What is a Mediterranean diet plan?
A Mediterranean diet plan is a well-balanced eating pattern that focuses on whole, natural foods native to the areas surrounding the Mediterranean. It's a plant-heavy plan that also incorporates healthy fats from seafood, legumes, and nuts. Rather than a "diet" it's more of a lifestyle where it's not intended to be restrictive but rather more customizable to your body.
It's about satiation, inclusion, and also enjoying some of your favorite treats in moderation. You won't have to count calories on this plan, which is a nice alternative to many restrictive diets out there.
Mediterranean Diet Foods List
What to eat:
- Olive Oil
- Beans and Lentils
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Whole Grains (Oatmeal, Whole-Wheat Pasta, Brown Rice)
- Fermented Dairy (Yogurt and Kefir)
- Red Wine (in moderation)
What not to eat:
- Processed Red Meats
- Heavily Processed Foods
- Refined Grains
- Sugary Desserts
- Processed Cheese or Dairy
- Alcohol (Other than red wine*)
- Refined, Processed, or Hydrogenated Oils
7 Day Mediterranean Sample Meal Plan
- Breakfast: Greek yogurt with blackberries and chia seeds
- Lunch: Tuna salad with greens and olive oil
- Dinner: A salad with veggies, farro and grilled chicken
- Breakfast: Sliced fruit and nuts
- Lunch: Quinoa salad with salmon
- Dinner: Roasted veggies, hummus, and chicken
- Breakfast: Egg white omelette with vegetables
- Lunch: Whole grain vegetable sandwich
- Dinner: Grilled chicken and vegetables
- Breakfast: Oatmeal with blueberries and nuts
- Lunch: Lettuce wraps with turkey sausage
- Dinner: Broiled salmon and brown rice with vegetables
- Breakfast: Eggs and fruit
- Lunch: Salad with feta and grilled chicken
- Dinner: Whole wheat vegetable pasta
- Breakfast: Whole wheat toast with a fried egg in olive oil
- Lunch: Hummus, whole wheat pita, grilled vegetables
- Dinner: Cucumber and tomato salad with salmon
- Breakfast: Green juice and nuts
- Lunch: Citrus avocado dip and chicken
- Dinner: Greek salad with turkey meatballs
Mediterranean Diet Health Benefits
Because the diet is plant forward and focuses on eating lots of nutrient-rich foods, there are many health benefits that come with consuming this type of meal plan.
Helps Reduce Risk for Heart Disease
Numerous studies suggest the Mediterranean diet may help reduce your risk for heart disease. (1) In a randomized clinical trial published in April 2013 in the New England Journal of Medicine, they found out that those who ate a calorie-unrestricted Mediterranean diet have a 30 precent lower risk of heart events.
Supports Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
Multiple studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet can reduce fasting blood sugar levels, stabilize blood sugar levels, and protect against type 2 diabetes. (2)
Protects Brain Function
The Mediterranean diet can also be beneficial for brain health and may even protect against cognitive decline. In a study with over 500 people, they found that greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet was related to improved memory and reductions in risk factors for Alzheimer's disease. (3)
Tips for Maintaining a Mediterranean Diet Plan
The most important thing when sticking to a Mediterranean diet is to truly adopt it as a lifestyle and not a temporary diet. Try to incorporate lots of whole vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats. Meal prepping in the beginning of the week helps to maintain this lifestyle and will keep you motivated throughout the week.
There are other plant-based diets out there that will also help promote many health benefits such as the Flexitarian diet meal plan.