10 Things to Know About the Mediterranean Diet

Your guide to the feel-great meal plan.

Eating this diet, which is rich in fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains, can lower your risk for certain health problems. Here are a few ways you can improve your health by eating the Mediterranean Diet.

Pile on fruit and vegetables

Fresh, non-starchy produce is the star of this diet. Eat 5 to 10 servings a day (a half-cup cooked or 1 cup raw equals one serving).

Choose healthy fats

Olives and their oil are cornerstones; go for four to six servings per day (a serving could be 1 tsp. of olive oil, 5 olives or 1/8 of an avocado). Olive oil delivers healthy monounsaturated fats and plant compounds called polyphenols.

Pick seeds, nuts, and legumes

The star of the bowl, acai, is a superfood that’s bursting with antioxidants, and may also have weight loss and anti-aging benefits.

Focus on fish and eggs

Make these individual veggie frittatas on Sunday night for an easy, low-calorie breakfast you can eat during the week. Super simple to make, you can also change up the vegetables to suit the season (or what you have in the fridge).

Do have (some) dairy

Here’s a healthy treat you can serve at your next BBQ and the preparation is easier than (peach) pie. Simply grill peach halves, top with honey and Greek yogurt, and serve. Watch the video for a step-by-step demonstration.

Get grain-wise

Refined carbs lack nutrients and can wreak havoc on your blood sugar. Whole grains are best; have four small daily portions of whole-wheat bread, or try a pasta made from quinoa. And always eat grains with healthy fats and protein. Incorporate sprouted or fermented grains (hello, sourdough!) for easier digestion and better nutrient absorption. Or look for creative ways to swap out grains, such as using spaghetti squash in place of noodles.

Add herbs and spices

When the weather is chilly or when you just don’t feel like whipping up dinner after a long day of work, this slow-cooker chicken recipe is a lifesaver.

Rethink what you drink

Are you drinking enough water each day? With these tips from Holley Grainger, RD, filling up on the recommended 13 to 16 cups is easier than you think. Watch this Cooking Light video to learn more.

Eat locally

One of the best strategies for healthy, sustainable eating is choosing fresh, local ingredients. But as we all know, it can be challenging to locate in-season produce from nearby growers without putting in some major effort. That’s why Natalie Chanin, founder of the sustainable lifestyle and clothing company Alabama Chanin took it upon herself to provide local foods to her community.

Make it social

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Relaxed meals with family and friends are a core part of life in this region. This positive attitude toward eating helps improve digestion and lower stress, too.

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