The Mediterranean Diet is considered by quite a few experts to be the best option for many of us. It focuses on the food practices of the Mediterranean region with an emphasis on heart-health. Usually this includes dishes that feature vegetables, whole grains, seafood, beans, nuts and seeds, and especially olive oil, while avoiding foods like red meats, processed sugars, and refined grains. Lowering cholesterol and blood pressure are great goals, but the its the unique flavors and vivid energy boost you get from healthy ingredients will keep you coming back for more.
If you’re not sure how to start incorporating the Mediterranean diet into your lifestyle, here are 9 recipes that provide the essential ingredients that’ll become your new best friend.
Salmon is one of the top protein choices in a Mediterranean diet and it’s easy to see why. It’s packed with omega-3 fatty acids that help promote heart health through reducing cholesterol and blood pressure. Try it combined with the just as healthy and helpful pomegranate in this Marinated Salmon meal for a lovely blend of tastes and benefits.
There’s nothing quite like a hearty stew that’ll have your stomach full of fresh, flourishing ingredients. This Mediterranean Stew makes substantial use of farm-grown vegetables, homemade marinara sauce, and plenty of seasonings. Lose yourself in the comforting flavors of cannellini beans, carrots, tomatoes, onion, and kale, all key elements of the diet.
You’ll be quite pleased with how easy it is to prepare this Halibut & Asparagus recipe. Don’t let the papillote scare you: that’s just French for “parchment paper.” Fold a serving of fresh halibut, spears of asparagus, garlic, and lemon into a packet of parchment paper and bake. Big nutrition bonus: Halibut is a key protein in the Mediterranean diet, olives are rich in antioxidants, and asparagus delivers a lovely dose of potassium.
Beans are a satisfying part of a healthy meal. They’re rich in iron, protein, and dietary fiber. These White Bean Tuna Salad Wraps are not only delicious but are loaded with nutrients perfect for midday pick-me-ups. The tuna is also soaked in olive oil rather than water to increase vitamin D and selenium intake.
Inspired by Persian dishes like Jeweled Rice, this healthy vegetarian dish fuses the warm, savory appeal of lentils with fresh nuts, raisins, and pomegranate seeds. The addition of nuts and seeds bring in the proteins you miss from meat while also helping lower the risks of heart disease.
Couscous, made from whole wheat flour, contains plenty of protein and fiber. That’s why it’s part of the Mediterranean diet. It’s also a lovely platform upon which to build a meal like this Simple Chimichurri Shrimp with Couscous. Everything you need can be found at your local grocery store…and you can even pick up some store-bought chimichurri in case you don’t have time to make your own.
Bring a platter of this Salmon Poke with Yuzu to the table when you want to impress guests with a dinner that just happens to be part of your Mediterranean Diet plan. The ingredients–from the wafer-thin slices of lotus root and Fresno chile, to green pops of color from avocado purée–create a dazzling display of contrasting yet complementary flavors and textures.
Whole grain brown rice make an excellent and heart-healthy substitute for white rice. Combine it with low-calorie, protein packed blue crab and top with savory Smoked Tomato Vinaigrette and Fennel Purée for a bowl filled with not just flavor but all the nutrients you need in a meal.
Lentils are high in both fiber and protein, plus they offer up substantial amounts of iron, manganese, folate and phosphorus – all essentials to healthy human bodies. You’ll get your daily helping of lentils along with plenty of veggies in our Italian Lentil Soup. It’s not just great for your body but great for your taste buds too.
Story by Kylie Thomas
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