As a new year begins, many people vow to change their eating habits in a quest to get healthier. Between all the fad diets, the fasting plans, and the herbal supplements, the best plan for long-term health and fitness is to adopt a healthy eating plan, preferably one that you can stick to for life.
According to Healthline, there are five diets that have been proven by science to be effective:
One of the best and tastiest of all diet plans has to be the Mediterranean diet. Easy to follow, tasty, and good for you, the Mediterranean diet is an eating plan you can live with — and love — for the rest of your life. Curious? Let’s explore…
Based on the typical eating habits in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, the “Mediterranean diet” typically includes:
- An abundance of fruits, vegetables, bread and other grains, potatoes, beans, nuts, and seeds
- Olive oil as the primary fat source
- Dairy products, eggs, fish, and poultry in low-to-moderate amounts
Wine is permitted in moderation (commonly with meals), and fruits are the typical dessert option, rather than sweets.
How good is the Mediterranean-style diet? So good that the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends it. Sticking with a Mediterranean eating plan can play a big role in helping to prevent heart disease and stroke, and reducing other risk factors including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity. There is even evidence that the virgin olive oil that’s a common ingredient in Mediterranean diets may help the body remove excess cholesterol from arteries.
Trying the Mediterranean diet? These healthy recipes will keep you on track.
Every day starts out with breakfast, and your Mediterranean diet eating plan is no different. For a quick breakfast, you’ll love this simple toast with hummus and fresh veggies.
This recipe starts with making hummus from scratch — a process that takes about 20 minutes and is well worth the effort — but, if you’re in a pinch, you can always resort to store-bought hummus (we won’t tell). For this savory hummus toast, simply spread your hummus on a piece of crusty Italian bread toast and top with sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, arugula, Kalamata olives, and a sprinkling of feta cheese. Who ever said that breakfast is boring?
These healthy egg muffins are loaded with veggies, fresh herbs, and Mediterranean flavor. Low carb and gluten-free, they can be prepared ahead for a quick ’n’ easy on-the-go breakfast option for any day of the week.
Moving on from breakfast, we think you’ll love these recipes for a Mediterranean diet for lunch, dinner, or dessert!
This tasty vegetarian stew uses cannellini, a type of white bean that’s a common ingredient for soups and stews in Tuscany, and homemade croutons that elevate the recipe to a whole new level. Served as a main course, for lunch or dinner, this stew goes well with a simple mixed green salad for the perfect meal.
All the key ingredients of a typical caprese salad — tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil — are piled into portobello mushroom caps to create a delicious, satisfying vegetarian main dish. At just 186 calories, it proves you don’t have to give up taste to eat healthily.
This recipe swaps out the pancetta found in traditional carbonara recipes with peas and spinach for a fresh ’n’ healthy twist on a classic Italian favorite. Fresh pasta cooks up faster than dried, making it a handy (and delicious) go-to for quick weeknight dinners. Since eggs are the base of the creamy sauce, and they won’t be fully cooked, opt for pasteurized-in-the-shell eggs.
This recipe comes together in under 30 minutes — including prep work — making it a great weeknight option for busy households. Add a salad and a side dish of quinoa, and you’ve just made the perfect Mediterranean diet-approved meal that’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids (thanks to the salmon and walnuts). Dress the salmon in a combination of mustard, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, rosemary, honey, salt, and crushed red pepper before coating it in panko and walnuts. So tasty, and just 222 calories per serving.
If you love the ease of a one-pan meal as much as we do, be sure to give this pasta recipe a try. It combines lean chicken breast with sautéed spinach for a one-bowl meal that delivers a bounty of garlic and lemon goodness, and it’s even better with a little parmesan on top.
This warm and comforting dessert is proof positive that you don’t need to skip dessert when you’re eating the Mediterranean way. It adds a sweet finish to your meal and clocks in at just 85 calories! Pears simmer slowly in a liquid mixture of orange juice and apple juice sprinkled with ground cinnamon and nutmeg. With no added sugar, this recipe relies on the sweetness of the pears to make the dish dessert-worthy.
We’ve pulled together eight delicious and easy recipe ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert to help get you started on your path to better eating. By adopting a Mediterranean diet you’ll never be short on tasty, filling meals you can make a part of your healthier lifestyle.