Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan for Beginners
Keeping yourself healthy is an important task. It allows you to stay productive and have fewer risks of exposure to illness or disease.
A report shows that 35% of adults in the USA wished to engage in exercise for fitness.
An effective way to stay healthy is to get a beginner Mediterranean diet meal plan printable along with regular exercise.
The doctors and dietitians recommend the Mediterranean diet to prevent diseases and keep you healthy and live longer.
The diet is rich in flavorful ingredients, consisting of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, nutritious and delicious.
It brings you various health benefits like helping support brain function, heart health, regulating blood sugar levels and much more to count.
There are no laws or rules for going on the Mediterranean diet, but of course, general guidelines to follow and incorporate the diet principles into your daily routine.
This article will provide you with details on the Mediterranean diet such as, what it is, how to follow it and how it benefits your health.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean diet is the traditional food combination used to consume by residents of countries bordering the Mediterranean sea like France, Spain, Greece, Italy, etc.
These food habits kept them exceptionally healthy with a low chronic conditions risk because they restricted processed foods, added sugar and refined grains.
The Mediterranean diet helps lose weight and prevent heart attacks, strokes, type 2 diabetes and premature death.
For that apparent reason, doctors recommend the Mediterranean diet for people to improve health and minimize the risk of chronic diseases.
- The Mediterranean diet consists of vegetables, fruits, lean meats and healthy fats.
- Consumption of sweets and red meat is limited in this diet.
- The Mediterranean diet meal plan restricts alcohol consumption but encourages red wine in moderation for you to indulge in.
- It is the healthiest to help lose weight and manage blood sugar.
Health Benefits of Mediterranean Diet
The beginner Mediterranean diet meal plan printable has a long list of beneficial health results and impacts.
Many extensive observations and studies have been carried out on the Mediterranean diet to promote heart health. It proved its effectiveness in lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke.
A study reported the Mediterranean diet slowed the plaque buildup progress in the arteries, the major risk factor for heart disease. Researchers also claimed that the Mediterranean diet helped lower diastolic and systolic blood pressure, which sufficiently supports heart health.
Stable Blood Sugar Levels
A variety of nutrient-dense foods are encouraged in the Mediterranean diet, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and heart-healthy fats to stabilize blood sugar levels that protect against type 2 diabetic conditions.
It also improves levels of hemoglobin A1C for long-term blood sugar control. It helps decrease insulin resistance that impairs the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels effectively.
Better Brain Function
The Mediterranean diet was beneficial for brain health and could even protect against cognitive decline with aging.
A study of 512 people found the Mediterranean diet effectively improved memory and reduced the risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
Another research proved that the Mediterranean diet helped lower the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia.
Another review showed the Mediterranean diet improved cognitive function, memory, attention, and processing speed in healthy older adults.
5 Tips For Creating Your Beginner Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan Printable
The Mediterranean diet is a style of eating versus some rigid rules, but you can fully customize it to suit your preferences. There’s nothing you should worry about failing to follow the diet and last a lifetime. Below are five essential tips for getting started:
You can follow the below-mentioned tips for making your Mediterranean diet perfect.
1. Add More Legumes To Your Platter
Legumes that one may not be consuming enough are low-budget nutrition-packed foods, rich in fiber and protein, low in fat include lentils, dried peas, beans, and chickpeas. You can replace your ketchup with a Hummus dip.
2. Control On Alcohol
It’s not true that you must drink a lot of red wine following the Mediterranean diet.
Moderate consumption of alcohol, if you drink, in terms of red wine, is allowed while enjoying a meal. A glass of wine is claimed to be good for health, even outside the Mediterranean diet.
3. Cut The Meat
The Mediterranean does not ban red meat but restricts or limits its consumption. Re-live the tradition of eating meat for special occasions, festivals, or weekends but only in small proportions.
Stick to more greens and vegetable-based main course beans, tofu, or seitan. If you like meat, you cannot stop consuming it all of a sudden.
So the best way is to go vegetarian a day a week, and continue with two days a week, and then reach your goal of becoming carnivorous a day a week.
Meanwhile, you can continue eating skinless chicken and leave the red meat for weekends or fortnights.
4. Fewer Sweets
Not everybody eats cake or confectioneries every day and at every meal. You can consume a spoon of sugar in your tea or coffee. But while following the Mediterranean diet, make sure to keep aside the deserts for weekends.
5. Olive Oil Focussed Cooking
The extra-virgin olive oil, rich in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat, is the best oil for the heart, brain, and body.
So, use this oil to prepare your food in moderation because over-using can lead to weight gain.
You can apply the oil on small cubes of chicken, Broccoli, etc., and grill it alternatively, use it as a salad dressing, Hummus coating, etc.
The Process To Follow:
Preferred Foods: Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, herbs, spices, fish, seafood, and extra virgin olive oil
Limited Foods: Poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt
Restricted Foods: Red meat, sweetened beverages, added sugars, processed meat, refined grains, refined oils.
Food To Have in Mediterranean Diet:
The variation of Mediterranean countries creates confusion about foods belonging to the Mediterranean. The diet commonly focuses on healthy plant products with limited or restricted dairy products and meat.
Also, seafood of your choices, such as fish, crabs, or lobster, is recommended twice a week.
The Mediterranean lifestyle patterned group meals, including physical activities to decrease stress. It is advised to eat fresh or dried vegetables and nuts etc.
However, if you use canned fruits and vegetables, check the added sugar and sodium packaging.
Below are the foods you must include in your Mediterranean diet:
Vegetables: tomatoes, Broccoli, kale, onions, cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts, spinach cucumbers, potatoes, turnips, sweet potatoes
Fruits: apples, bananas, figs, oranges, pears, strawberries, grapes, dates, melons, peaches
Nuts: seeds, nut butter: almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cashews, peanut butter, and almond butter
Legumes: beans, peas, lentils, peanuts, pulses, chickpeas
Whole grains: oats, barley, brown rice, rye, corn, buckwheat, pasta, and whole wheat bread
Fish and seafood: salmon, sardines, clams, trout, tuna, mackerel, shrimp, oysters, mussels; crab
Poultry: chicken, turkey, and duck
Eggs: chicken, duck, and quail eggs
Dairy: cheese, milk, yogurt
Herbs and spices: garlic, basil, cinnamon, mint, rosemary, sage, pepper, and nutmeg
Healthy fats: avocados, avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil, olives,
Food to Limit or Avoid in Mediterranean Diet
Processed foods along with some others are meant to be limited or avoided in the Mediterranean diet, including:
Added sugar: Added sugar is the ingredient in many foods but is very high in soda, table sugar, syrup, baked goods, candies, and ice cream
Refined grains: white bread, crackers, pasta, tortillas, chips,
Trans fats: processed foods, margarine, and fried food
Refined oils: soybean oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, grapeseed oil
Processed meat: Processed sausages, hot dogs, deli meats, beef jerky
Highly processed foods: fast food, convenience meals, microwave popcorn, granola bars
Beverages in the Mediterranean diet:
You can drink water as much as you want because this is the only beverage with a green signal on a Mediterranean diet.
You can moderately consume red wine; a glass per day is the allowed amount, which is optional but restricted in some conditions such as pregnancy, ongoing medications.
You can consume coffee and tea following the Mediterranean diet, but with less sugar or cream. Sweetened beverages, like soda or canned tea, contain alarming amounts of added sugar and are restricted for consumption.
You can consume fruit juice, but again, in moderation. However, whole fruits are recommended as they are rich in fiber.
Restaurant foods are majorly considered unhealthy, but to your surprise, some restaurants offer meals complying with the Mediterranean diet.
While dining out, go for whole grains, vegetables, legumes, seafood, and healthy fat and enjoy your meal with good company.
Always choose seafood as your main dish cooked or grilled in extra virgin olive oil accompanied by whole-grain bread and stir-fried or raw vegetable salad with olive oil dressing.
In A Nutshell
The Mediterranean diet focuses on being rich in healthy plant foods, fish, seafood and limits dairy products.
The pattern results in various health benefits like stabilizing blood sugar levels, promoting heart health, enhancing brain function, and many more.
We will take your leave on the note that you can follow the Mediterranean diet customized in your way.
Don’t eat what you don’t like, but be strict with the restrictions. Enjoy being a Mediterranean chef.
Add some fruits and vegetables to your food to make your Mediterranean diet and see if it works for you. Happy Mediterranean Dieting!