Healthy Living Blog

Mediterranean Diet Month

Tina Miller, MS RDN Meijer Healthy Living Advisor, www.Meijer.com/ahealthieryou

 

Eight steps to go Mediterranean

Adapted From Oldways Preservation Trust, https://oldwayspt.org/traditional-diets/mediterranean-diet

More than 50 years of research support the Mediterranean Diet as the “gold standard” of healthy eating.  Studies consistently demonstrate that people who ate a diet where fruits and vegetables, grains, beans, olive oil, and fish were the basis of daily meals were healthiest. Studies have linked the Mediterranean Diet to many health benefits, including:

  • Lengthen your life (and have a better quality of life)
  • Improve Brain Function, reducing risk for cognitive decline (dementia, Alzheimer’s disease)
  • Decrease risks for many types of cancers
  • Support a healthy heart, reduces risk for heart disease such as high blood pressure and elevated “bad” cholesterol levels
  • Protect you from diabetes; helps those with diabetes better manage blood sugars
  • Aid your weight loss and management efforts
  • Reduces depression
  • May reduce risk for Parkinson’s disease and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Healthy vision, including reducing risk for macular degeneration
  • Protects your smile — reduces risk of dental disease
  • Supports lung health
  • Provides essential nutrients for pregnancy that may help improve fertility and lead to healthier babies

Embracing the Med Diet is all about making some simple but profound changes in the way you eat today, tomorrow, and for the rest of your life.

  1. Eat lots of vegetables. Packed with nutrients and flavor, vegetables are vitally important to the fresh tastes and delicious flavors of the Med Diet.
  2. Change the way you think about meat. If you eat meat, have smaller amounts – small strips of sirloin in a vegetable sauté, or a dish of pasta garnished with diced prosciutto.
  3. Enjoy some dairy products. Eat Greek or plain yogurt, and try smaller amounts of a variety of cheeses.
  4. Eat seafood twice a week. Fish such as tuna, herring, salmon, and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and shellfish including mussels, oysters, and clams have similar benefits for brain and heart health.
  5. Cook a vegetarian meal one night (or more) a week. Build meals around beans, whole grains, and vegetables, and flavor with fragrant herbs and spices.
  6. Use good fats. Include sources of healthy fats in daily meals, especially extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, olives, and avocados.
  7. Switch to whole grains. Whole grains are naturally rich nutrients and the extra fiber keeps you fuller longer, so you’ll eat fewer calories. Experiment and try and try a different traditional Mediterranean grain like bulgur, barley, farro and brown, black or red rice, and products made with whole grain flour.
  8. For dessert, eat fresh fruit. Choose from a wide range of delicious fresh fruits — from fresh figs and oranges to pomegranates, grapes and apples.

 

Mediterranean Inspired Recipes

Rosemary Sea Salt Walnuts

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 Tbsp. True Goodness by Meijer Organic Olive oil

2 Tbsp. Fresh rosemary, finely chopped (or 2 teaspoons dried)

1 tsp. Smoked black pepper

3/4 tsp. Sea salt (salt can be reduced to 1/2 tsp.)

2 cups California walnuts

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. In a large bowl mix oil, rosemary, pepper and salt. Add walnuts and stir well with a rubber scraper until mixture evenly coats walnuts.
  2. Transfer to a baking sheet (line with parchment paper) and cook for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Nutrition Information per Serving: 192 calories, 18g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 218mg sodium, 4g carbohydrate, 1g total sugars, 2g dietary fiber, 5g protein.

Recipe Adapted from: The California Walnut Board, www.walnuts.org

Mediterranean Eggplant, Artichoke and Feta Rice Salad

Serves 6

1 eggplant, cut lengthwise into ½-inch slices

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cups brown rice, cooked

6 ounces marinated artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped, liquid reserve

½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

¼ cup basil leaves, sliced

3/4 cup True Goodness by Meijer crumbled feta cheese

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat broiler (or grill). Brush eggplant slices with oil. Broil 4 inches from heat source, cooking 12 to 15 minutes, turning once, until tender and lightly browned; cool.
  2. Cut cooked eggplant into 1-inch pieces and place in large bowl.
  3. Add rice, artichoke, olives and basil. Combine reserved liquid from artichoke hearts and feta cheese. Drizzle over salad and gently toss to coat.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Nutrition Information per serving: Calories: 265, Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 9 mg, Sodium: 364mg, Carbohydrate: 33g, Fiber: 6g, Protein: 9g