It’s a diet based on traditional foods from countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea such as Italy, Greece, Spain, Turkey and Lebanon. Each offers fresh, distinctive and delicious flavours.
Research shows that eating the Mediterranean way can reduce your risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases. You don’t have to travel to get started. Your grocery store is waiting for you to discover all the Mediterranean it has to offer. Your taste buds and your heart, will thank you!
Eating together is an important part of the Mediterranean meal. It’s a great time to enjoy food and catch up on the events of the day with family and friends.
Focus on Plant-based Foods
Traditional Mediterranean meals are planned around plant foods
Foods eaten daily:
· Vegetables and fruit
· Whole grains
· Nuts and seeds
· Beans and lentils
· Herbs and spices
· Olive oil
Foods eaten daily to weekly:
· Fish and seafood (at least twice per week)
· Poultry and eggs
· Dairy products such as plain Greek yogurt and small amounts of flavourful cheese
Foods eaten less often:
· Meats and sweets, used to add flavour and variety to meals.
Tips for getting started
You can make Mediterranean inspired meals from the comfort of your kitchen!
· Fill half your plate with vegetables at lunch and dinner.
· Focus on fruit at breakfast and for desserts.
· Choose whole grains more often. Try something different like bulgur, wild rice or farro.
· Use olive oil instead of butter or shortening.
· Plan a vegetarian meal at least once a week or add beans, lentils, nuts and seeds to dishes you already make.
· Flavour food with garlic, herbs, spices and lemon zest instead of salt.
Mediterranean Made Easy
· New to using legumes? Start with lentils. They are small and have a mild flavour. Add dried lentils to soup. They cook quickly and don’t need to be soaked ahead of time. Add canned lentils (drained and rinsed) to salads or pasta sauces.
· Spread hummus on sandwiches, or use as a dip for raw vegetables and whole wheat pita bread.
· Add a new zip to your dip. Try tzatziki (yogurt and cucumber dip) instead of your old standby.
· Sprinkle nuts on yogurt, oatmeal, cereal or stir fry.
· Use pesto as a marinade for chicken or toss with hot pasta.
· Make pizza by spreading pesto or tomato sauce on a whole grain pizza crust. Add leftover chicken, feta cheese and your favorite veggies. Quicker than take out!
· Look for freeze dried herbs and herb pastes in the produce department. You will have the taste of fresh herbs without the chopping, and no waste!
Did you know? Sobeys Pharmacy Dietitians offer a variety of free nutrition classes and one-one counselling. Join Jayme’s Taste & Learn Class on Dates and how to use them as a sweetener, May 24, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at Sobeys Aberdeen. To register or for more information call 902-755-3645 or email email@example.com.
Jayme Saint is a Sobeys Pharmacy Dietitian
Jayme’s Recipe Corner
Mediterranean Veggie Wrap
¼ cup 60 ml Red onion, sliced
1 cup 250 ml Red pepper, sliced
1 cup 250 ml Chickpeas, canned, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp 15 ml Olive oil
2 large Tortillas, whole wheat
¼ cup 60 ml Hummus
2 hearts Artichokes, canned, sliced
1½ cups 375 ml Spring mix
1 tbsp 15 ml Salad dressing, balsamic vinaigrette
¼ cup 60 ml Feta cheese, crumbled
1. Preheat oven to 425° F.
2. Toss onion, red pepper and chickpeas in olive oil. Place on baking sheet and roast
in oven for 15 minutes.
3. Turn oven to broil for about seven minutes or until vegetables start to brown.
4. Grill tortilla in a frying pan for one minute, just until brown.
5. Assemble wraps by spreading hummus down the middle of each tortilla.
6. Divide the onion, red pepper, chickpeas and artichoke hearts between the two
7. Toss spring mix with balsamic vinaigrette and add to both wraps. Sprinkle with feta
8. Fold up ends of each tortilla and roll up. Slice in half.
Nutrition Information per Serving:
Fat 12 grams
Carbohydrate 37 grams
Fibre 7 grams
Protein 10 grams
Sodium 562 milligrams
Tip: Use flavoured hummus if available such as caramelized onion hummus.
Source: Sobeys Dietitians