A Mediterranean diet mostly consists of having more vegetables, and other plant-based food like whole grains, fruits, legumes, olive oil and a little amount of protein. The diet incorporates lean sources of protein like poultry and fish. It also uses spices and herbs to flavor food, rather than using salt. So, here is a step-by-step guide on how to start this type of diet. 

A Simple 7 Step-by-step Guide on Starting a Mediterranean Diet: 

1. Ditch the butter and margarine and replace with healthy fats like olive oil.

Olive oil is a good source of mono-unsaturated fats and beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. You can spice things up with a quality extra virgin olive oil by mixing it with balsamic vinegar. The mixture is great for dipping bread. By adding a sweetener like honey, this mixture can be transformed from a dip to a salad dressing. Olive oil is great for cooking and baking too.

2. Go for healthier protein substitutes

Switch the red meat and try leaner versions of protein like skinless chicken and turkey. You can also get your protein needs from legumes, beans, nuts and other plants. The reason for eliminating red meat in the diet is to lower the consumption of food rich in saturated fats. The change does not have to be sudden, so try to incorporate small changes one meal at a time. If you feel like you are missing your steaks and other red meats, you can have them occasionally. 

3. Eat vegetables

The goal is to eat at least three to eight servings of vegetables daily. Try to consume a variety of vegetables to get the necessary vitamins and minerals that may be lacking in one. They are also rich in antioxidants, that protects against free-radicals. Green salads are usually the best recipes to get the most out of your veggies.

4. Opt for whole-grain pasta, bread and rice

Grains in their natural forms are very rich in fiber and make you feel fuller for a longer period of time. This is a great staple for would-be weight watchers because of this reason alone.

5. Eat more nuts

Nuts are rich in vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that are beneficial to your health. They are mostly unsaturated fats that are beneficial in preventing cardiovascular diseases. A handful of nuts is the recommended amount per day. Try to eat them in their most natural form and avoid chocolate-coated, or sugar-coated ones. 

6. Snack on fruits

Eating fruits instead of unhealthy processed snacks are a much better option. Fruits, like the pineapple, are rich in bromelain, which is an enzyme that helps reduce inflammation, especially on the nose and sinuses and even after surgery. Fruits also have natural sugars and are abundant in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants too.

7. Use fresh herbs and spices

Limit the use of salt in flavoring your dishes, instead make use of fresh plant herbs and spices that will make your dishes burst with unique aromas and exciting flavors. Just a little sprinkle goes a long way and overall, a healthier way to make food tasty.

Here is an easy 3-step recipe for the Mediterranean diet-convert like you. 

Mediterranean Halibut with Couscous 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds of halibut steaks

1/4 cups all purpose flour

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 chopped shallots

1 cup chicken broth

2 teaspoons dried oregano, crushed

2 cups diced tomatoes

1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, sliced

1 package of couscous prepared according to package instructions 

Procedure:

  1. Coat the fish with flour and cook in a hot skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil for about 5 minutes until well browned on both sides. Remove the fish and keep warm.
  1. Reduce heat to medium and then add the shallots until transparent. Pour in the chicken broth, oregano, tomatoes and olives and the mixture boils. Cook for five minutes until the sauce thickens.
  1. Pour the sauce over the fish and a plate of couscous. 

A Mediterranean diet is not so hard to follow at all. It is one of the easiest diet plans that does not deprive you of food. It simply introduces substitutes or healthier versions of what you are presently consuming. It focuses on choosing fresh and wholesome foods as better choices. They are also quick and so easy to prepare.

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