How to follow the Mediterranean Diet

May is Mediterranean Diet month at Jenpenockmd.com.  Last week, I reviewed the health benefits of the meal plan including weight loss.  This week, I’ll give you the details about how to follow the Mediterranean Diet. I’m personally following this meal plan in the month of May, and I’m enjoying this very much!  Later this month, I’ll share a daily eating plan for the Mediterranean Diet along with recipes.

Here is a detailed plan of what to eat and how much when you follow the Mediterranean Diet

This meal plan is great if you like fruits and vegetables

You can eat as much fruit and vegetables as you want.   If you are not used to eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, you want to aim to reach the minimum amounts.

Aim to eat at least 3 servings of fruit a day.  Examples of one serving:

  • One piece of fruit (apple, orange banana, pear, plum)
  • ½ cup of fruit chopped pineapple, grapes, cherries
  • 1 cup of high water content fruit like melon or berries
  • 2-4 tablespoons of dried fruit like raisins, dates, or figs

Aim to get at least 4 servings of vegetables a day.

  • A serving of vegetable is usually about ½ cup cooked vegetable or 1 cup raw vegetable
  • 3 cups of lettuce or raw greens are a serving

Proteins are mostly plant-based along with some low fat dairy

Plant based proteins – up to 2 servings a day

  • 1/2 cup of legumes (beans, chickpeas, lentils)
  • 3-4 oz of tofu, tempeh or seitan

Animal proteins – the main source of animal protein is fish (including seafood)

  • Aim for 4 ounces of fish or seafood on most days.
  • Can substitute 1 serving of eggs daily, 2 eggs (can use just egg whites)

Optional to add 1-2 servings of lean meat weekly, a serving is:

  • 3-4 ounces of lean meat – chicken, pork, lean red meats

Low fat dairy – up to 2 servings a day, a serving is:

  • 1 cup skim milk (you can substitute a plant based milk like almond milk or soy milk)
  • ½ cup fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1 oz low-fat cheese

Grains seeds and nuts

Nuts and seeds – up to 1 ounce per day

  • Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds (about 3 tablespoons)
  • Almonds, walnuts, pistachio nuts, pine nuts, pecans (about ¼ cup)

Whole grains

If you are trying to lose weight, you can aim for around 3 to 4 servings per day, and if you are looking for just the health benefits of the meal plan, then you can aim for up to 8 servings a day.  A serving is:

  • One slice of bread (whole grain)
  • ½ cup cooked grain such as brown rice, whole wheat pasta, oatmeal (steel cut or old-fashioned) polenta barley, farro, bulgar, bran, barley, quinoa
  • 2 brown rice cakes or whole grain wasa crackers

Oil, herbs and spices

Adding healthy fats is part of the Mediterranean Diet.  You will want to add olive oil 2-4 tablespoons a day.  If you want to use oil without the taste of olive oil, substitute canola oil

Also, herbs and spices are good to add also.

Beverages

You can have as much water coffee and tea as you’d like.  You can add a little low fat dairy to your coffee or tea if you want.  Sugar is not on the meal plan, so if you need something to sweeten your coffee or tea, you can add a non-caloric sweetener, or a little bit of honey.  In addition, if you enjoy alcohol, you can have 1 glass of red wine per day.

What should you avoid? 

Here is a list of some of the foods to avoid:

  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Bacon
  • Processed meat
  • Margarine
  • Butter
  • Any sweetened nuts (sugar coated, trail mixes with sugar, nut butters)
  • Frozen waffles
  • Pancakes
  • Sugar sweetened cereals
  • Snack foods (pretzels, crackers, chips)
  • Ice cream
  • Sweetened yogurt
  • Processed cheese
  • Sugar
  • Barbeque sauce
  • Katsup
  • Teriyaki sauce

Later this month I’ll give you a 14 day meal plan to follow as well as some recipes.  If you’d like to be receive updates, please sign up for the newsletter in the banner at the top of the page.

3 thoughts on “How to follow the Mediterranean Diet”

  1. Good morning
    Thank you for this information!
    Let’s go back to Greece together
    We can eat a Mediterranean diet!
    😋 yum

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