After building a strong foundation — staying active and sharing meals — the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid moves up to the meal itself. And here the advice is clear: Base every meal on fruits, vegetables, grains, olive oil, beans, and nuts.
After so many years of hearing about the evils of carbs and fats, you may be surprised to find a healthy diet that prescribes these foods... and not just as side dishes, but at the heart of the plate. Like so many other healthy ideas, it comes down to making smart choices.
First, choose whole grain options, like brown rice and whole wheat pastas, instead of white bread and sugary carbs. Next, choose meatless foods for a large part of your protein needs: think lentils, chickpeas, shelling beans, and so forth. And opt for heart-healthy fats like avocados and olive oil rather than highly processed margarine or shortening, and use butter sparingly. At every supper, fill a big bowl with salad greens, or serve up sautéed spinach with garlic. When you feel the urge to snack, reach for a ripe piece of seasonal fruit, a handful of raw nuts, or other natural foods.
Here are some of our favorite recipes to help you base every meal on vegetables and grains:
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