A Mediterranean diet is rooted in healthy plant-based foods with some meat, seafood, and poultry. If you’re not a vegetarian or a vegan, eating seafood a couple of times a week is recommended. The tastiest Mediterranean diet recipes for weight loss are not restrictive or high maintenance and work easily into your daily meals. Here’s how it all works:
What are the origins of a Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean diet embraces traditional foods and recipes from countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. Adopting an eating routine that emphasizes Mediterranean diet recipes can result in healthy weight loss and is compatible with many lifestyles and dietary restrictions. Research shows less likelihood of heart conditions, strokes, and diabetes when a diet of healthy Mediterranean diet recipes is followed properly.
Easy Mediterranean diet recipes
You should include lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, potatoes, whole grains, herbs, spices, seafood, and healthy oils in your diet. Eat poultry, eggs, cheese, and things like Greek yogurt in moderation. In general, you should only rarely eat red meat and completely exclude sweet drinks, foods with added sugars, processed meats, refined grains, refined oils, and other highly processed foods.
Read labels closely and filter out problem foods
Soda, candy, ice cream, and other foods with added sugar should be avoided. Avoid using table sugar in beverages like tea and coffee as well. You’ll also want to steer clear of refined grains like white bread and pasta made with refined grains. It becomes more intuitive to avoid these and other problematic ingredients when you eliminate margarine and processed foods of that sort. You’ll also want to drop refined oils (like soybean, canola, cottonseed oil), and processed meats from the deli aisle (such as lunch meats, hot dogs, and sausages).
Whole foods are best for your health and overall wellness
- Veggies: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, yams, leafy greens (kale, collards, spinach, etc.), onion, carrot, beets, brussels sprouts, and the list goes on.
- Fruits: tomato, cucumber, avocado, apples, bananas, oranges, pears, strawberries, grapes, dates, figs, melons, peaches, and any others you discover in the produce section.
- A variety of raw and roasted nuts and seeds.
- Legumes: beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas, and the like.
- Whole and cracked grains: oats, brown rice, barley, farro, quinoa, corn, buckwheat, whole wheat, and breads and pastas made from whole-grains.
- Seafood: trout, tuna, salmon, mackerel, oysters, shrimp, lobster, clams, crab, and mussels, to name a few.
- Poultry and eggs.
- Dairy: real butter, cheese, Greek yogurt, etc.
- Spices and herbs: garlic, basil, mint, rosemary, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, turmeric, oregano, etc.
- Healthy fats: extra virgin olive oil, walnut oil, and avocado oil.
What to drink
Filtered water will be your drink of choice when following a Mediterranean diet. Moderate amounts of red wine are optional. Additionally, coffee and tea are permitted but without the creamers and sweeteners.
Easy Mediterranean diet recipes for beginners
Below, we’ve put together a week-long sample meal plan to help you navigate healthy Mediterranean diet recipes and get an idea for what a healthy week of meal prep looks like at the start of your week. You can modify portions and food choices as desired, since calorie counting is not necessary when the Mediterranean diet is followed properly.
- Breakfast: Greek yogurt with blueberries and oats.
- Lunch: Whole-grain sandwich with mashed avocado, shredded carrot, sliced peppers, pinch of salt, and pepper.
- Dinner: Grilled salmon with a side of baked sweet potatoes. A piece of fresh fruit or a homemade fruit smoothie or smoothie bowl for dessert.
- Breakfast: Avocado toast with fresh basil and sliced tomato.
- Lunch: Tuna salad with or without whole grain bread.
- Dinner: Salad with tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese.
- Breakfast: Omelet with veggies, kale, shredded carrot, and tomato.
- Lunch: Whole-grain sandwich with hummus, cheese, and spinach.
- Dinner: Mediterranean Style Lasagna with whole wheat lasagna noodles.
- Breakfast: Greek yogurt with sliced peaches, blueberries, and sliced raw almonds.
- Lunch: Farro and Kale Salad with Goat Cheese
- Dinner: Broiled salmon, served with brown rice and steamed carrots and broccoli.
- Breakfast: Eggs and veggies, pan-fried in olive oil or avocado oil.
- Lunch: Greek yogurt with strawberries, blueberries, oats, and nuts.
- Dinner: Grilled chicken with salad and baked potato.
- Breakfast: Oatmeal with diced apple pieces, nuts, and raisins or dried cherries.
- Lunch: Caprese salad.
- Dinner: Pizza made with a simple homemade tomato sauce, homemade whole wheat crust from store-bought dough that has minimal ingredients, topped with mozzarella cheese, vegetables, and kalamata olives.
- Breakfast: Omelet with veggies, sprinkle of feta (or other cheese), and olives.
- Lunch: Avocado and tomato sandwich with greens and salt and pepper.
- Dinner: Grilled veggies drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil over seasoned farro. Fruit salad for dessert.
Healthy snack ideas
Grapes, handfuls of berries and nuts, carrot and celery sticks with hummus, Greek yogurt, or apple slices with various nut butters are all healthy snacks for when you need a holdover between meals. You’ll intuitively begin to incorporate more snacks based on your personal preferences as you adapt the Mediterranean diet lifestyle.
Do you have pasta, pizza, or anything leftover from last night’s dinner? These shouldn’t be huge parts of your diet, but they can make a good occasional snack.
What to know about the best Mediterranean diet recipes
The Mediterranean diet is simple to take up and maintain without a lot of personal sacrifice. As you’ll see, following a Mediterranean diet can be a successful weight loss tool because it doesn’t require complicated recipes and methods. Meals are enjoyable, satisfying, and easily shared between people with various tastes and preferences. Even if you don’t feel like you’re on a diet with this style of eating, you’ll still want to start out with some professional guidance. In order to enjoy maximum health benefits and get on a path toward lifelong success, you’ll need support. That’s why we created Noom. Our program is led by a group of top dietary, psychological, and technological experts that developed an approach ensuring you never have to diet again.