Recently touted by media outlets such as CNN, the Mediterranean diet differs from other widely publicized diets (for example, the keto movement), as it is backed by significant scientific research. In fact, even the Mayo Clinic has published information in support of this healthy, well-balanced approach to eating.
Interested in trying it out for yourself? Great! Here are Bellucci’s best tips for making the switch to the delicious, nutritious Mediterranean lifestyle:
- Limit your red meat. You needn’t cut it out of your diet entirely, but try to reduce your intake to just a few times per month. Instead, substitute chicken or fish for red meat whenever possible. Avoid high-fat meats like sausage and bacon - and limit your portions to 3-4 ozs (about the size of a deck of cards) when you decide to indulge.
- Load up on your fruits and veggies! Abundant portions of freshly grown foods define the Mediterranean diet - so if you love fruits and veggies, you’re in luck! The Mayo Clinic recommends consuming 7 to 10 servings of plant foods per day - which means the majority of your meals should include fresh or cooked produce.
- Enjoy more whole grains. We could never live without pasta - but switching to whole-grain versions of our favorite foods (pasta, bread, cereals, and rice) is an incredibly easy way to see an immediate boost in health, without sacrificing good taste! A good rule of thumb? The closer your grains are to their natural state of being, the better.
- Lose the butter. Fresh, authentic extra virgin olive oil is a staple of the region - and it’s a delicious, nutritious replacement for butter, margarine, and other unhealthy oils. Use it to cook, dip, or dress your favorite foods - and you’ll find it’s a tasty, heart-healthy alternative!
- Go nuts on snacks! We mean that literally. The Mediterranean diet includes copious quantities of nuts - which are both rich in nutrients and packed with healthy proteins. Reach for a handful of raw or roasted almonds, cashews, or sunflower seeds when you’re craving a snack, and you’ll find they’re a yummy way to satisfy your hunger between meals.
- Taste the flavor. Instead of salting your food, try using fresh herbs and spices to add interest and flavor to your favorite meals. Mix authentic extra virgin olive oil and balsamic to make a deliciously tangy, fresh dressing for salads, pasta, or poultry - or dip fresh bread in a pool of EVOO sprinkled with oregano for a classic Mediterranean treat.
- Toast your good health! We won’t say it’s the best part of this diet - but we sure don’t mind that a daily glass of red wine is seen as an essential part of the Mediterranean lifestyle. If you’re someone who enjoys the occasional vintage - bottoms up! Or, for an alcohol-free boost of antioxidants, sip a cold glass of fresh grape juice (the darker, the better).
While these tips are enough to get you started, it should be mentioned that no diet is a be-all end-all for good health. More so than any other dietary guidelines, the Mediterranean approach emphasizes the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle, rich in community and social connections.
Don’t just alter your intake of foods - invite friends and family to join you, and share your new dedication to exploring good health over a delicious dinner. Browse our favorite recipes for some mouth-watering ideas, or learn more about how Bellucci helps you and your family make healthy choices.