Mediterranean Meal Planning
The mediterranean diet has been extensively researched and has been one of the dietary patterns suggested to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Research has suggested that the mediterranean pattern of eating may help reduce blood pressure, improve blood lipid levels and reduce markers of blood vessel inflammation. The mediterranean dietary pattern varies slightly depending on the region of the mediterranean but the foundation of the dietary pattern is similar. The best part? The meditteranean dietary pattern is one that you can incorporate because many of the food items are readily available and delicious.
Tips for Creating a Mediterranean Meal Plan:
#1. Add plenty of healthy fat: The mediterranean meal pattern focuses on incorporating healthy fats. Olive oil is plentiful and one study suggested incorporating 2-4 Tbsp daily as part of the mediterranean eating pattern.
#2. Focus on fruits & vegetables: Produce is the all-star of the mediterranean eating pattern. Try incorporating a minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. A serving of vegetables would be 1 cup raw or ½ cup cooked and a serving of fruit would be 1 small piece of fruit.
#3. Crunch on nuts weekly: Regular nut consumption at least three times per week is suggested, just make sure to keep portions reasonable at about ¼ of a cup. Nuts provide fiber, healthy fat, protein and a variety of vitamins and minerals.
#4. Incorporate seafood two to three times per week: 3-4oz of seafood at least two to three times per week is part of mediterranean eating. Keep seafood consumption cost-effective by utilizing canned sources like tuna, salmon and sardines along with fresh and frozen options.
#5. Make beans & lentils part of the regular routine: Regular consumption of beans and lentils are lacking in most traditional American eating patterns. In the mediterranean meal pattern beans and lentil consumption is typically high at three servings per week. Add lentils and beans to salads, stews, and soups to make them a regular part of your eating routine.
#6. Switch to white meat instead of red meat: Poultry including chicken and turkey along with seafood should be the primary sources of animal protein. Both beef and pork are limited.
#7: Limit sugary beverages, sweets and refined carbohydrates: The Mediterranean eating pattern is very low in added sugars, try to avoid sugary beverages and limit desserts and sweets in your eating pattern.