The Mediterranean diet does not eliminate a single type of food or restrict calories. Instead, the Mediterranean diet emphasizes an abundance of plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains. Dairy products, fish, and poultry are consumed in moderation, and red meat and sweets are limited.
Keep in mind, the Mediterranean is a way of eating and overall lifestyle that involves regular physical activity and sharing meals with other people.
What to eat?
Eat in ABUNDANCE:
Extra virgin olive oil
Eat in MODERATION:
Eat in RARELY:
and other highly processed foods.
Examples of Foods the Mediterranean Diet Includes:
- Vegetables: tomatoes, broccoli, kale, spinach, onions, cauliflower, carrots, brussels sprouts, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, turnips
- Fruits: apples, bananas, oranges, pears, strawberries, grapes, dates, figs, melons, peaches
- Nuts, seeds, and nut butters: almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almond butter, peanut butter
- Legumes: beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas
- Whole grains: oats, brown rice, rye, barley, corn, buckwheat, whole wheat bread and pasta
- Fish and seafood: salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, mackerel, shrimp, oysters, clams, crab, mussels
- Poultry: chicken, duck, turkey
- Eggs: chicken and duck eggs
- Dairy: cheese, yogurt, milk
- Herbs and spices: garlic, basil, mint, rosemary, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper
- Healthy fats: extra virgin olive oil, olives, avocados, and avocado oil
Examples of Foods the Mediterranean Diet Limits:
- Added sugar: added sugar is found in many foods but especially high in soda, candies, ice cream, table sugar, syrup, and baked goods
- Refined grains: white bread, pasta, tortillas, chips, crackers
- Trans fats: found in margarine, fried foods, and other processed foods
- Refined oils: soybean oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, grapeseed oil
- Processed meat: processed sausages, hot dogs, deli meats, beef jerky
- Highly processed foods: fast foods, chips, crackers, granola bars
- Water should be your go-to beverage on a Mediterranean diet.
- This diet also includes moderate amounts of red wine — around one glass per day, but this is optional.
- Coffee and tea are also healthy beverage choices on the Mediterranean diet. Be mindful of adding lots of added sugar or cream.
- Limit sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soda or sweet tea, which are very high in added sugar.