You probably have heard of the much-revered Mediterranean diet, the diet that year after year is rated #1 “best overall diet” by the U.S. News annual review. How can you be sure that you are following this diet correctly? One way is to have a checklist of food that registered dietitians and nutritionists specializing in the Mediterranean diet often suggest. Here are 10 foods that comprise the Mediterranean diet:
#1: Extra virgin olive oil (minimum three tablespoons per day)—calories: 119/tablespoon
#2: Plant Omega-3 fat (short chain plant version, “ALA”—flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts—minimum once per day) —calories: 37 /tablespoon.
#3: Legumes (beans, peas or lentils)—calories: ~330 in a ½ cup serving.
#4: Vegetables (green, orange or purple in color)—calories: 11 calories in a cup of salad greens.
#5: Whole grains (oatmeal, 100% whole grain bread, popcorn, brown rice)—158 calories in a cup of plain cooked oatmeal
#6: Fresh fruit (minimum three servings per day)—60 calories in an apple
#7: Nuts (minimum: handful/day)—185 calories in an ounce of walnuts
#8: Red wine (maximum one glass per day for women, 2 glasses for men)—125 calories in 5 fluid ounces.
#9: Fish Omega-3 fat (long-chain animal version, “EPA/DHA”)- omega-3-rich (EPA/DHA) fish such as salmon, halibut, albacore tuna, mackerel, sardines”——minimum three times/week)—240 calories in 4-ounce broiled salmon filet
#10: Fat-free yogurt. Weekly consumption of a small amount of low-fat or fat-free dairy (such as flavorful cheeses and yogurt), several servings per week; calories in 1 cup of fat-free plain yogurt: 137 plus 488 mg calcium.
Bonus: Don’t forget to be active every day, a key component of the healthful Mediterranean lifestyle!