Looking to spice up your family meals? Consider making a few Mediterranean-style swaps! You may have considered the Mediterranean diet in the past as it has been shown again and again to boost both short- and long-term health overall. In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic:
“An analysis of more than 1.5 million healthy adults demonstrated that following a Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of death from heart disease and cancer, as well as a reduced incidence of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.”
As part of the Together Counts™ program for healthy, active living, we know that changing up your regular family meals is a great idea, plus the health benefits and tasty dishes make this eating style a winner. In fact, the beauty of this style of eating and lifestyle is that it can be easy and enjoyable to follow. These 7 simple swaps will help bring a little more Mediterranean to the dinner table.
- Order whole grains –Mediterranean food is big on whole grains! Whole wheat pasta, quinoa, bulgur (used to make tabbouleh) and more can add fiber and a variety of vitamins and minerals to your meal.
- Opt for fish – It’s no surprise that eating Mediterranean includes lots of seafood, which is abundant in the region. This lean protein is a cornerstone of a healthy diet and may help with increased satiety and improved muscle maintenance.
- Opt for steamed or broiled – Mediterranean menu choices are often prepared using these more healthful methods that are generally lower in saturated fat and calories.
- Reach for fresh herbs and spices – The vibrant flavors of Mediterranean foods primarily come from fresh herbs and spices or a dash of lemon – perfect for the warmer climate. These ingredients bring out the beautiful flavors of fresh foods without adding sodium.
- Order the vegetarian choice – The Mediterranean diet is known for its focus on plants. This includes a wealth of fruits and vegetables as well as beans and legumes, which provide plant-based protein and fiber as well as health-boosting phytochemicals.
- Add nuts to your salad – Nuts are loaded with healthy fats associated with a host of health benefits. Remember, even healthy fats can be high in calories so include them in moderation.
- Request olive oil – If you like a good sautéed veggie, make sure you’re getting the most bang for your nutritional buck by requesting a small amount of olive oil. Like nuts, olive oil adds healthy fat to your diet. Also like nuts, it’s high in calories so more isn’t always better!
The Mediterranean diet is more than just a way of eating; it’s a way of living that can support a healthy weight. This lifestyle includes plenty of movement, time spent with friends and family and a belief in moderation. Be sure to find ways to walk more, play more, socialize more and laugh more!
These are just some of the easy choices you can make to help your family embrace the Mediterranean diet. How do you incorporate the healthful ingredients and lifestyle of the Mediterranean into your day?
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For more healthy ideas for the kitchen take a look at these other posts from Together Counts!