Diets

Mediterranean diet: A guide and 7-day meal plan

Many doctors and dietitians recommend a Mediterranean-style diet to prevent disease and keep people healthier for longer.

The Mediterranean diet emphasizes whole grains and fruits, while a Western diet may include more processed foods and meat.

We explain the Mediterranean diet and offer a 7-day meal plan.

The Mediterranean diet basically means eating the same way that people in the Mediterranean have eaten for centuries.

A Mediterranean-style eating patternPrioritize the following foods:

  • There are many fruits and vegetables to choose from
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes
  • Healthy fats such as olive oil and nuts
  • Moderate amounts of seafood
  • Red meat and dairy products are limited in quantity.
  • Moderation in red wine

The Mediterranean dietary pattern is intended to be a loose guide for healthy eating habits that are based on plant-based foods.

The Mediterranean diet prioritizes healthy sources of fatOlive oil, nuts, seeds and fatty fish.

The Mediterranean diet places a greater emphasis on plant foods than other diets. Main ingredients in meals and snacks are fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

These people cook the foods with healthy fats such as olive oil and lots of flavorful spices.

You may find small amounts of fish, meat, eggs, or both in your meals.

Moderate amounts red wine can be eaten on a Mediterranean diet. However, water and other unsweetened zero-calorie beverages, such as sparkling water, should be consumed throughout the day to keep you hydrated.

When following any healthy dietary pattern, including the Mediterranean diet, it’s best to reduce your consumption of the following foods:

  • White bread, white pasta and white pizza dough are all examples of refined grains.
  • Trans fats can be found in margarine, and other processed foods.
  • Foods with added sugars such as pastries and sodas, as well candies, are not recommended.
  • Hot dogs, deli meats, and other processed meats
  • Fast food and ultra-processed foods are a good example of this.

Here’s an example of a Mediterranean diet meal plan for 7 days:

Day 1

Breakfast

  • Vegetable and egg frittata with sliced avocado served on whole grain toast.

Add an additional egg to your toast for more calories

Lunch

  • A large green salad topped by a baked salmon fillet and red onion, feta cheese and fresh tomatoes
  • Whole-grain pita bread
  • 2 oz (oz) of hummus

Dinner

Day 2

Breakfast

  • Greek yogurt parfait with walnuts, fresh fruits, and chia seeds

For additional calories, add 1–2 oz of almonds.

Lunch

Hummus or avocado can be added to increase the calorie count.

Dinner

  • Baked cod served with garlic roasted potatoes, asparagus and broccoli

Day 3

Breakfast

  • Steel cut or Rolled Oats with fresh fruit, sliced almonds, or almond butter, and drizzled honey.

Lunch

Dinner

Day 4

Breakfast

  • Shakshuka: A dish consisting of poached eggs in a sauce made with tomatoes, olive oil and peppers, onions, garlic, and commonly spiced up with cumin, paprika, and cayenne pepper

Lunch

  • A large green salad with fresh vegetables, lentils and sunflower seeds.

Dinner

  • Roasted chicken served with roasted root veggies and Brussels sprouts

For a hearty, filling dish, add an artichoke.

Day 5

Breakfast

  • Sweet potato breakfast hash, topped with a poached Egg

Lunch

Dinner

Day 6

Breakfast

  • Chia pudding topped fresh berries with almond butter

Lunch

Dinner

  • Baked fish, garlic and basil with a capresequinoa salad

Day 7

Breakfast

  • Overnight oats with nut butter, berries and honey

Lunch

Dinner

  • Balsamic roasted chicken breasts and vegetables

As part of the Mediterranean diet, there are many snack options.

Try to eat healthy snacks when following a Mediterranean diet. Here are a few choices:

  • Fresh fruit with a handful nuts
  • Unsweetened Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and sunflower seed topping
  • Hummus and fresh vegetables
  • Mixture of nuts and unsweetened dried fruit for a trail mix
  • Roasted chickpeas with herbs
  • Cottage cheese and berries
  • A hard-boiled egg topped with a little cheese or fresh fruit

The medical community is very interested in the Mediterranean diet because of numerous studies that confirm its benefits.

A Mediterranean diet has many benefits:

Reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease

Evidence suggests that a Mediterranean-style diet may reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease. An article that was featured in The New England Journal of MedicineTwo Mediterranean diets were compared with a control for almost five years.

The diet was found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems such as stroke, heart attack, death, and other related issues by around 30% compared to the control group.

More research is needed in order to determine if lifestyle factors like more physical activity or extended social support systems may be responsible for the lower rate of heart disease in Mediterranean countries as opposed to the United States.

Improving your sleep quality

In a 2018 studyResearchers looked into the effects of the Mediterranean diet on sleep.

According to their research, a Mediterranean diet may improve the quality of sleep in older adults. In younger people, the diet did not appear to affect sleep quality.

Weight loss

For those who want to lose weight, the Mediterranean diet might be a good option.

A 2020 studyThe Mediterranean diet was twice as likely to maintain weight loss than the control group.

Following a Mediterranean diet involves making long-term, sustainable dietary changes.

A healthy diet should include lots of whole grains and natural foods.

A dietitian should be consulted if the diet is not satisfying. They may recommend alternative foods or additional foods to increase your satiety.

Source: Medical News Today

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