How to Transition to the Mediterranean Diet

If you would like to make a switch to the Mediterranean diet, then read on for some ideas to make it an easier transition for you.

Olive oil

Olive oil is a staple of the Mediterranean diet. Switch from margarine to olive oil by using olive oil on toasted bread or cooked vegetables. If you’re not used to the distinctive flavor of extra-virgin olive oil, you can blend it with another oil, such as canola oil, and then gradually increase the amount of olive oil over time. Another option is to use light olive oil. You can make your own vinaigrette with olive oil, vinegar, and seasonings, and drizzle it over salads. By doing this, you’ll skip the preservatives and chemicals found in many bottled dressings.

Fish

If you like fish, you can enjoy it often on the Mediterranean diet. Certain kinds of fish have more of the healthful omega-3 fatty acids than others, so shop for oily varieties such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, and anchovies. Fish cooks quickly and simply by grilling, baking, or broiling. Season your fish with olive oil, herbs, and lemon. You can get more fish in your diet by serving it in place of beef or pork at least one night each week. The less red meat you have each month, the further along you will advance in your switch to the Mediterranean diet.

Vegetables

Vegetables are one of the most important parts of the Mediterranean diet. An easy way to get more vegetables everyday is to have a salad with your lunch or dinner. The bagged salads in the grocery store are convenient and have interesting blends of lettuce and other ready-to-eat vegetables. You can turn the salad into a meal by topping it with canned tuna, grilled chicken, or beans. You may also enjoy planting a garden or growing vegetables in patio pots to ensure you have the freshest produce available.

If you eat a lot of meat, consider having a meatless dinner each week. Serve a flavorful vegetable and cheese dish such as ratatouille, and you probably won’t even miss the meat. Instead, you’ll enjoy the health benefits of vegetables such as eggplant, zucchini, tomato, and green peppers.

Eating the Mediterranean way is enjoyable, inexpensive, and very healthy. Stick to sensible portions of meats such as chicken and fish, and eat the freshest food you can find. Shop at farmer’s markets and cut back on processed and fast food as much as possible or eliminate them altogether if you can. Remember to drink water and get exercise daily. Little changes add up and go a long way as you gradually transition to the Mediterranean diet.

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