The Mediterranean Diet – The new year is fast approaching, and with it will come countless resolutions. One popular resolution is to eat healthier. It can be challenging to know where to start with so many options. However, a great way to get started on your healthy eating journey is following the Mediterranean diet.
By following a Mediterranean diet meal plan, you can achieve an optimal balance of nutrient intake, which can have a significant impact on your health. This article will explore seven ways to eat healthy in the new year while following this fantastic diet and way of life.
The Mediterranean Diet Explained
The number of overweight people and those who now suffer from gastrointestinal issues is snowballing, according to reports from the CDC and data from the NIH. Still, fortunately, there are easy ways to stay healthy. The Mediterranean diet is one way, and it’s based on eating typical foods found in countries like Greece, Spain, Morocco and Italy. These healthy diets also emphasize olive oil as the primary source of fat (in place of butter or other vegetable oils) and fresh fruits and vegetables. Studies show that the Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, obesity and type 2 diabetes while also lowering inflammation levels.
How the Mediterranean Diet Makes for Healthier Eating
Not all diets and meal plans are created equal, and a big issue is that most of the fads out there simply aren’t sustainable in the long run. One of the great things about the Mediterranean diet is that it’s based on traditional, real-world foods that people have been eating for centuries. This makes the diet sustainable and easier to follow in the long-term.
In addition, research has shown that following a Mediterranean diet can help with conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and gastrointestinal diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, to name a few. This is why we so strongly believe that you can improve your health and well-being in the new year by following a Mediterranean diet meal plan.
Seven Ways to Eat Healthy on the Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet is not just a fad or something you’ll do for a few weeks to fit into a new pair of pants or a dress by a specific date. Instead, it’s a way of eating and living that will teach you what’s healthy and what’s not, so you can continue to maintain a healthy lifestyle long after the new year has come and gone.
Eat Plenty of Vegetables and Fruits
One of the Mediterranean diet cornerstones is consuming plenty of vegetables and fruits. These foods are packed with antioxidants, nutrients and fiber, essential for optimal health. So aim to include various vegetables and fruits in your diet, as each one packs its own nutritional punch.
Choose Healthy Proteins
Healthy protein sources are a vital part of any healthy diet, and the Mediterranean diet is no exception. Fish, seafood, lean meats and legumes are all great options to include in your meals throughout the day. If you choose red meat or processed meats, make sure they’re lean and eat them sparingly.
Watch Your Portion Sizes
Speaking of lean meat, when you do include it in your meal plan, make sure to watch your portion sizes. Research shows that we tend to overindulge when eating larger portions, such as with platters rather than individual servings. Limit your red meat portions to the palm of your hand or a deck of cards.
Keep Olive Oil as Your Primary Source of Fat
As mentioned earlier, olive oil is an essential source of healthy fats in the Mediterranean diet meal plan because it’s high in antioxidants and other health-promoting properties. You can use olive oil for cooking, as a dressing or dipping sauce and even lightly drizzled over vegetables.
Drink Plenty of Water
Water is essential for good health and hydration, so make sure to drink plenty of it every day. The Mediterranean diet recommends drinking water with meals and in between them.
Don’t Skip Meals
Taking the time to eat every day is an integral part of your overall health plan. And, yes, it can be tricky! However, don’t skip meals, as this is an excellent way to derail your weight loss goals and raise your risk of chronic disease. Instead, aim to have three balanced meals and two healthy snacks each day.
Enjoy Your Food with Others
One of the best things about the Mediterranean diet is that you get to enjoy your food. There’s no counting calories or deprivation here. Simply focus on eating real, whole foods, and you’ll be good to go. It’s also a good idea to enjoy your food with others whenever possible. This positive social connection has been associated with better health, well-being and nourishment.
Getting Started with the Mediterranean Diet
Changing how you eat can be challenging, especially if it involves drastic alterations to how you shop and consume food. But don’t worry — getting started with the Mediterranean diet doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are a few tips to help you make the switch:
- Start by making small changes, such as swapping out unhealthy snacks for healthier ones or adding an extra serving of vegetables to your dinner.
- Identify your favorite healthy foods and recipes and make them a regular part of your diet.
- Involve your family and friends in what you’re doing and ask them to support you.
- Sign up for a Mediterranean meal delivery service to simplify things and take out the guesswork and stress.
Other Options for Eating Healthy in the New Year
Yes, the Mediterranean diet is fantastic. By following it, you will feel better and achieve a healthy level of well-being. But it’s not the only option for eating a more nutritious diet in the new year.
There are so many different diets — from Paleo to veganism to low-FODMAP meal plans — that choosing one can feel overwhelming. This is why it’s important to do your research before signing up for anything. Whatever you decide to go with, bring honesty, willingness and commitment to the table. You are bound to see results. Happy New Year, and best of luck making it the healthiest one yet!