There’s a reason why the Mediterranean diet ranks as one of the most popular—and effective—foods. A simple, evidence-based diet plan packed with delicious whole foods has many health benefits.
In fact, year after year, the Mediterranean diet is in first place US News and World Report List of best diet foodsAnd again, it slips into first place for 2024.
This accessible, healthy eating approach focuses on nutrient-dense plant foods (vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes) and heart-healthy fats. The Mediterranean diet has been shown to promote weight loss, cardiovascular health, brain power, and aging gracefully.
Many studies show that sticking to the Mediterranean diet can reduce a person’s risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, dementia, depression, and other serious health conditions.
If you’re looking for a diet that’s not only easy to stick to, but also budget-friendly and science-backed, the Mediterranean diet may be the perfect match for you. Need a home? Check out this 7-day meal plan to effortlessly whip up a week’s worth of delicious, nutritious meals.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean diet is less of a diet and more of a lifestyle for good health and well-being. Rather than restricting food groups or counting calories, it’s about enjoying the nutrient-dense foods you already love.
While there are no strict rules about what you can’t eat, the Mediterranean diet does
Emphasize moderate consumption of poultry, dairy, eggs, and wine… while keeping strict limits on red meat and sweets.
The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional foods and eating habits of the people of the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, namely Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Morocco and Croatia.
There are 16 countries that border the Mediterranean Sea and each one is different in terms of food, cuisine, spices and cooking methods. However, the general principles of nutrition remain the same:
- Eating focuses primarily on plant-based foods, including vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
- Butter is replaced with olive oil.
- Fish, eggs and poultry are animal proteins.
- Dairy products such as yogurt and cheese are limited to a few times a week.
- Red meat no more than a few times a month.
- Foods are seasoned with various herbs and spices.
- Food is shared and enjoyed with friends and family.
Joy’s 7-Day Mediterranean Diet Plan
This plan provides approximately 1,600 calories per day, which provides a reference point for portion sizes for individuals looking to lose weight. Note: The plan includes an option for a glass of wine, a small daily treat and unlimited vegetables; See below. Tailor it to your personal weight management and health goals – adjust the sections up or down as needed.
Click here to download the plan!
- Eat on schedule; Eat a meal or snack at least every four to five hours.
- Mix and match any meal and snack options. Repeat favorite foods/snacks whenever you want.
- Plan your menu the night beforeso you are armed with a game plan.
- Drink water throughout the day. Keep a reusable water bottle handy for constant drinking.
- Stay with a healthy snack while watching TV or a movie. Like simple popcorn or vegetables.
- Enjoy an unlimited amount of non-starchy vegetables (carrots, tomatoes, peppers, celery, cucumbers, etc.) at any time of the day.
- Be selective with medicine and alcohol. Try your best to stick to small desserts and moderate the alcohol.
- Greek Omelette; Mix 1 egg and 3 egg whites with spinach, dill and optional feta. Enjoy 1 slice of whole-grain toast on the side.
- PB and berry breakfast bowl. This easy breakfast has everything you need for a great day.
- Oatmeal with fruit and nuts. Mix ½ cup of dry oats with 1 cup of milk (almond milk, low-fat cow’s milk, etc.). Add 1/2 cup chopped fruit, 1 tablespoon nuts, and optional 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon.
- PB & banana English muffin. Toast 1 whole-grain English muffin. Top with 1 tablespoon peanut butter, ½ sliced banana, and a cinnamon stick.
- Avocado ‘n Egg Toast. Take classic avocado toast up a notch with a protein-rich twist. Enjoy with any vegetables or seasonings of your choice.
- Long life smooth. Make this delicious superfood smoothie. Add a scoop of vanilla or chocolate protein powder for a protein boost, or enjoy on the side with a hard-boiled egg or Greek yogurt served at once.
- Evening oats. Enjoy one of these delicious “make-ahead” variations. Banana Bread Overnight Oats, Blueberry Muffins with Overnight Oats Or Key lime overnight oats.
- Fried fish and vegetables. Enjoy 6 ounces of any preferred fish with 2 cups of vegetables, grilled, broiled or sautéed in olive oil.
- Mezze Plate with Hummus, Nuts and Fruit. Make a mezze plate with ¼ cup hummus (try mine Lentil Hummus Or Edamame hummus) and unlimited crudités or raw vegetables, 1 small whole-grain roll or ½ large pita, 1 cup of wine, and 10 almonds or walnuts (or 1 ounce of cheese).
- Mediterranean Quinoa Salad. This Mediterranean masterpiece includes all the wonderful and delicious aspects of a health-promoting diet.
- Lentil Veggie Superfood Stew. Enjoy this 2 cups Very good A delicious stew that nourishes your body from head to toe. Enjoy fresh fruit (1 cup grape or fruit, or 1 apple, pear, orange, grapefruit, or banana) on the side.
- Chicken Caesar Roll. Enjoy this Chicken Caesar Roll with Creamy Avocado Dressing. Bonus points for crunchy carrot sticks or bell peppers on the side.
- Wild salmon and chicken salad. Make this delicious Mediterranean-style salmon salad.
- Mediterranean harvest plate. Build a nutritious bowl where every bite brings sweet-savory, crunchy, crunchy goodness…and corn-nutrition.
- Mediterranean stuffed peppers with tahini drizzle. Make stuffed peppers and enjoy a side salad of mixed greens and non-starchy vegetables tossed with 2 teaspoons olive oil and unlimited amounts of balsamic vinegar or fresh lemon juice.
- Lemon Chicken Soup with Orso. Combine tender chicken, delicate orzo, and citrusy goodness for a big chunk of sunshine. Enjoy with a chopped salad dressed with 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil and unlimited vinegar or fresh lemon juice.
- with fried fish Super food minestrone. Enjoy 2 cups of any grilled, broiled or baked fish with this flavorful and vegetable-packed minestrone soup.
- Shrimp Broccoli Scampi. This easy and flavorful pasta dish is easy enough to bake on a busy weeknight, but perfect enough to serve up for a special get-together.
- Greek burger with feta and roasted red peppers. Make this Mediterranean-inspired turkey burger.Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil and a side salad dressed with unlimited vinegar, lemon juice, or lime juice.
- A sheet of Mediterranean shrimp with grilled vegetables. Make this one-and-done dish with shrimp, broccoli, and green beans. Enjoy this recipe with baked sweet potatoes or 1 cup of cooked rice, quinoa, or whole-grain pasta.
- Chicken bruschetta. Up your bruschetta game by making this chicken bruschetta. Enjoy with your choice of vegetables and roasted sweet potatoes or 1 cup of cooked rice, quinoa or pasta.
• Dried Apricots and Nuts: 8 dried apricots (or 3 dates) with 10 nuts.
• Light popcornEnjoy 4 cups of plain popcorn at any store or make these delicious variations Rosemary-Parmesan Popcorn Or Fiesta Lime Popcorn.
Vegetables and ¼ cup hummus Or Creamy Guacamole.
• Hummus deviled eggs (8 halves)
• Apples with 1 Tbsp peanut butter.
• Greek yogurt (1 cup) + fruits
• Zucchini Walnut Muffins