Mediterranean food: options, dietary rules and sample menu

In the 50s of the last century, the world spread the news that the Mediterranean population lived longer, tended to suffer from diabetes, cardiovascular disease and overweight. Scientists came to this conclusion after years of research. The secret lies in a special diet, called the "Mediterranean diet".

vegetable salads are part of the Mediterranean diet

Features of the Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet refers to a style of eating rather than a traditional diet. Mediterranean people eat a lot, rarely limit fats and carbohydrates, and drink wine almost daily. At the same time, experts regard the Mediterranean diet as the “golden standard of nutrition”. Unlike most methods, the Mediterranean weight loss system has no medical contraindications. And its "legitimacy" does not make it possible to escape in the process of weight loss.

The Mediterranean Diet has been recognized by UNESCO as the cultural heritage of mankind.

The specialty of the Mediterranean diet is a balanced combination of protein, fat and carbohydrates (BJU). Thanks to this, normalization of metabolism takes place. The Mediterranean diet is quickly gaining popularity, as such a food system has minimum and optimal restrictions for people leading a modern lifestyle.

Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

This eating style brings maximum benefits not only for weight loss, but also for health in general. This is proven not only through surveys, but also by many medical studies.

Mediterranean Diet:

  • reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, Alzheimer's disease and cancer, especially of the colon and breast;
  • prevents you from gaining extra pounds;
  • is rich in minerals, vitamins and antioxidants;
  • improves quality and longevity;
  • slows down the aging process;
  • lowers cholesterol levels;
  • has a good effect on the skin.

Food rules

The main condition is that no semi -finished products and fast foods are mentioned (shawarma, hamburgers). The menu must consist of fresh and natural products. Among the must-haves on the table are herbs, vegetables, olive oil, fish.

The BJU ratio in the Mediterranean diet is in contrast to many popular diets. So, the daily menu should consist of:

  • 10% of protein - seafood, eggs, cheese, meat;
  • 30% of fat - fish, olive oil;
  • 60% of carbohydrates-fruits, vegetables, breads, pasta, cereals.

It is important not to violate the BJU ratio. For breakfast, it is recommended to choose carbohydrate foods, but dinner must be protein, and also include large amounts of vegetables, fresh or boiled. Bread can be eaten during the day, but it is best in the morning and only in moderation.

Food must be fractional: it is important to eat regularly (5-6 times) and in small portions. This will speed up the metabolism and the body will process the food into energy, and not store it.

dry wine is allowed by the Mediterranean diet

Drink at least 6 glasses of water daily, it is better to be silent. Tea and coffee are allowed, but only without sugar. Consumption of dry red wine is allowed, no more than two glasses a day.

What You Can Eat On The Mediterranean Diet

Fresh vegetables form the basis of the Mediterranean diet. They must be present in the daily diet. Nutritionists recommend including eggplant, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes in the menu. Beets and potatoes should be minimized as these root vegetables have a high glycemic index. Diabetics are recommended to exclude it altogether.

Complex carbohydrates - pasta, bread, rice and other grains - are central to the Mediterranean diet. The latter is recommended to be soaked for a day before cooking.

Red meat is rare in Mediterranean cuisine, mostly lamb.

The Mediterranean diet requires fish and seafood to be included in the diet. It is best to use it fresh. Both red and white fish are allowed. Preference is given to trout, salmon, mackerel, herring. This variety of fat is rich in omega-3s.

The Mediterranean diet involves the inclusion of dairy products in the diet, especially cheese and yogurt. The container contains a lot of protein. Yogurt should be just natural, without coloring.

olive oil is part of the Mediterranean diet

Most Mediterranean cuisine is prepared using olive oil. It acts as a major source of fat in the diet. The menu also allows olives in various combinations and variants - as a separate meal and as a garnish for salads, pastas, snacks.

Olives and oils are rich in healthy unsaturated fats that protect against heart and vascular disease. They also contain antioxidants to help maintain youthfulness and beauty.

Herbs and spices are very special in Mediterranean cuisine. They are added to almost every dish. Oregano, oregano, basil, rosemary, cumin - the choice is quite large. In some cases, spices can replace salt.

Sample menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner

To make it easier to compile a menu for each day, nutritionists have compiled a Mediterranean -style food pyramid, which guides you to choose products easily for a week or even a month. To follow this healthy diet, you need to live somewhere in the Mediterranean region. For this, there are options tailored to the Mediterranean diet, where some products are replaced with more affordable counterparts. Therefore, olives can be safely replaced with walnuts, sunflower seeds and pumpkin, and red fish types - with flax seeds or mackerel and cheaper herring.


In the morning, it is recommended to lean on carbohydrates, so cereals, which can be supplemented with fruits, berries or honey, as well as pasta with sauce, boiled rice, and omelets, are good choices for breakfast. Snacks can be accepted between breakfast and lunch. For this, fruit or nuts are suitable.


For lunch, you can buy soups - vegetables, fish or meat, pasta, salads safely. The latter must be seasoned with butter or sour cream; mayonnaise should be excluded.


Dinner must consist of protein foods. For dinner, you can grill or boil fish, boil green beans, make chicken pieces. Easier options are cottage cheese and kefir.

Product choices vary quite a bit, but you need to know when to stop, otherwise the Mediterranean diet won’t work. So, the average caloric content of a daily diet must be about 1100 calories. If you don’t want to count calories or prepare meals, you can buy special food sets based on the Mediterranean diet.