Snacks To Eat on the Mediterranean Diet

Adopting a Mediterranean style does not mean you must give up your favorite snacks.

Escape to the Mediterranean coast with one of the most popular—and good for you—diets. The Mediterranean diet will have you eating like a Greek, emphasizing fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains, and healthy fats. Also, many recipes may use olives and olive oils for their heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.

In contrast, the Mediterranean diet restricts processed foods, red meat, and added sugar. However, you do not need to give up your favorite snacks after adopting a Mediterranean eating style. Learn about the Mediterranean diet, its benefits, and recipes for snacks that adhere to it.

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What Is the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean diet resembles those of people who live in the Mediterranean region of Europe, such as Italy and Spain. Compared to the average American diet, the Mediterranean diet focuses less on meat and carbohydrates and more on plant-based foods.

Specifically, the Mediterranean diet includes foods such as:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts
  • Legumes
  • Lean meats and chicken
  • High-fiber foods
  • Fish and other seafood
  • Olive oil

In contrast, the Mediterranean diet advises eliminating or restricting red meats, added sugars, eggs, and butter.

Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean has many possible health benefits, which include:

  • Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels
  • Lowering total cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Protecting against chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease (CVD), type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers

Research has found the Mediterranean diet helps promote heart health by focusing on healthy fats. For example, olive oil is a healthy monounsaturated fat, containing omega-3 fatty acids. Likewise, fish and other seafood also pack omega fatty acids with cardioprotective qualities.

More research is needed to know how the Mediterranean diet benefits overall health. Although, some evidence suggests increasing plant-based foods lowers lipids, protects against oxidative stress, and reduces inflammation. Those factors might lower the risk of CVD and certain cancers.

The American Diabetes Association recommends the Mediterranean diet to help manage type 2 diabetes. For example, the Mediterranean diet may improve A1C and cholesterol levels.

Mediterranean Diet Snacks

You do not have to give up your favorite snacks on the Mediterranean diet. Here are some Mediterranean-inspired snack recipes.

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

This fresh salad satisfies midday cravings with its zesty flavors and only takes about 15 minutes to make.

To make the shallot dressing, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. minced shallots
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tbsp. kosher salt 
  • 1/4 tbsp. black pepper

Combine those ingredients in a small bowl, then whisk them together. Then, to make the chickpea salad, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 15 oz. chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 large English cucumber, chopped 
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 6 1/2 oz. marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/4 tbsp. kosher salt 
  • 1/4 tbsp. black pepper

Add chickpeas, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, and artichokes into a large bowl, then toss. Top your salad with salt, pepper, and your shallot dressing. To garnish, add fresh dill. You can also add the salad to pita bread. 

Loaded Mediterranean Hummus

The Mediterranean diet and hummus go together like two peas in a pod. Try this delicious recipe for creamy hummus that is easy and quick to make.

All you will need is the following ingredients:

  • 15 oz. chickpeas, rinsed and drained (keep 3 tbsp. of liquid from the can)
  • 2 tbsp. tahini
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1/3 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/3 cup English cucumbers, chopped
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, halved
  • 1/4 tbsp. kosher salt 

After gathering your ingredients, add chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic to a food processor. Then, pulse until the mix is smooth. Add kosher salt, then pulse to mix. Enjoy your hummus with chopped veggies, crumbled feta cheese, and olives. Or spread it on pita bread.

Trail Mix

Try this trail mix that abides by the Mediterranean diet rules for a sweet snack. All you need is five ingredients, which include:

  • 2 tbsp. unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 2 tbsp. dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp. dried cherries
  • 12 dried apricots

In a large bowl, mix the ingredients. You can divide portions into small plastic bags or jars for on-the-go snacks. 

Greek Yogurt Spinach Artichoke Dip

Enjoy a Mediterranean take on classic artichoke dip that uses Greek yogurt. A thicker creamy version of yogurt, Greek yogurt has nearly twice as much protein as low- or non-fat yogurt. Protein helps repair and create new cells. Also, Greek yogurt has less lactose than other yogurts. So, this recipe can be a suitable snack for people who are lactose intolerant.

The recipe is easy to make at home with just seven ingredients, which include:

  • 10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 14 oz. marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2/3 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, shredded

To make the artichoke dip, take note of the following steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Drain frozen spinach by cutting a hole in the bag. Then, add frozen spinach to a cheesecloth to get rid of the rest of the liquid. 
  3. Add frozen spinach, Greek yogurt, artichoke hearts, garlic, feta cheese, mozzarella, and parmesan to a large bowl. Using a spatula, fold in the ingredients.
  4. Add the mix to a greased baking pan, then top with extra cheese. 
  5. Place the baking pan in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese lightly browns. 

Enjoy the artichoke dip with pita bread or chopped veggies.

Greek Zucchini Fritters

Zucchinis pack vitamin C, an antioxidant that keeps your skin, bones, and connective tissues healthy. Also, vitamin C aids in the healing process when you have injuries and helps your body absorb iron.

These zucchini fritters make a light, crispy snack that will transport you to the Mediterranean. You will need the following ingredients:

  • 4 medium zucchinis
  • 4 scallions, sliced
  • 2 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1/4 tbsp. kosher salt 
  • 1/4 tbsp. black peppers

Then, take note of the following steps to make the zucchini fritters:

  1. Grate zucchinis. Line a colander with a cheesecloth, then add grated zucchini. 
  2. Season the grated zucchini with salt, then toss to mix. 
  3. After 20 minutes, squeeze all of the liquid from the cheesecloth. 
  4. Mix the grated zucchini, scallions, dill, parsley, and eggs in a large bowl.
  5. Add feta cheese, flour, baking powder, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper, then mix. Continue adding breadcrumbs if the mix is wet. 
  6. Shape fritters, using about 2 tbsp. for each one. 
  7. In a cast iron skillet, heat olive oil. Then, place the fritters into the skillet.
  8. Flatten the fritters. If you want them to be extra crispy, continue flattening the fritters.
  9. Cook for 3 minutes or until the fritters lightly brown. Then, flip them and repeat for two minutes.

Enjoy your zucchini fritters with lemon slices or Greek yogurt. 

Baked Phyllo Chips

This chips recipe is fair game on the Mediterranean diet. The recipe only calls for four defrosted phyllo sheets, olive oil, and grated cheese. Phyllo is a thin unleavened dough available in most grocery freezer sections. 

To make phyllo chips, take note of the following steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Brush olive oil onto a phyllo sheet, then top with grated cheese. 
  3. Place another phyllo sheet on top of the first, then repeat with olive oil and grated cheese.
  4. Continue that process with the remaining phyllo sheets.
  5. Using a pizza cutter, slice the phyllo sheets into chips.
  6. Place the phyllo chips onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper, then place them into the oven.
  7. Bake for 6 minutes or until the phyllo chips lightly brown.

You can also pair your phyllo chips with hummus on the side for extra flavor.

A Quick Review

The Mediterranean promotes heart health by emphasizing plant-based foods and healthy fats over processed foods and red meat. Adopting a Mediterranean style does not mean giving up your favorite snacks. Many recipes put a Mediterranean spin on popular snacks and come with many possible benefits for your overall health.

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  2. Tosti V, Bertozzi B, Fontana L. Health benefits of the mediterranean diet: Metabolic and molecular mechanismsJ Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2018;73(3):318-326. doi:10.1093/gerona/glx227

  3. Rishor-Olney CR, Hinson MR. Mediterranean diet. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing; 2022.

  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Healthy eating for people with diabetes.

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