Mediterranean Diet: Top Meal Ideas To Get You Started

Packing up and moving to a country along the Mediterranean Sea may not be an easy task, but there is one simple way to get closer to that beautiful area of ​​the world. We are talking about the Mediterranean diet, which was named the best diet of 2024 by US News and World Report and is also one of the best weight loss diets, according to experts. The Mediterranean diet can bring the Mediterranean into your home with added heart health benefits.

It is a nutrient rich and unrestricted diet that works for many people. If that sounds appealing, here’s everything you need to get started on the Mediterranean diet. But before you jump into any new diet plan, make sure to consult your doctor first.

What is the Mediterranean diet?

The Mediterranean diet is inspired by the traditional diets of people living along the Mediterranean coast. Although each country’s diet may vary, the Mediterranean diet consists primarily of plant-based foods, seafood, poultry, whole grains, nuts, beans, olive oil, herbs and spices. The key is to eat as much fresh food as possible since highly processed foods are limited in the diet.

Mediterranean green diet

A recently popular variation on the Mediterranean diet is the green Mediterranean diet. Instead of having red and processed meat occasionally with the regular Mediterranean diet, the green Mediterranean diet cuts out all meat and focuses more on plant-based foods.

There is a set amount of calories and protein to hit every day, as well as three recommendations. Every day, an individual must receive 100 grams of it Ducks (an aquatic plant, usually added to a shake), 3 to 4 cups of green tea and 1 ounce of walnuts. A 2021 study found that the green variation of the Mediterranean diet may be healthier for the human heart than the original diet. It may be even more effective in preventing and managing chronic diseases. A 2022 study found that the diet could help with age-related brain health.

Read more: The Atlantic Diet: Eating Local, Whole Foods Can Improve Your Health

Mediterranean diet benefits

The Mediterranean diet has many health benefits and is great for kosher, vegetarian or budget conscious people.

Heart health

The most famous benefit of this diet is its ability to boost heart health. A 2019 study found that the Mediterranean diet could reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease. Also, due to the lower saturated fat content in the diet, a 2021 study found that it could slow down the process of plaque build-up in the arteries.

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Brain health

The Mediterranean diet can promote brain health as we age. A 2021 study on Alzheimer’s disease found that the Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of dementia and other risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. It can also improve memory and cognitive function.

weight loss is possible

This diet can help you lose weight and maintain long-term weight loss. A 2020 study found that participants who lost at least 10% of their body weight on the Mediterranean diet were twice as likely to keep the weight off.

Note that no diet is complete without additional exercise. If you are serious about weight loss, add daily exercise to your routine along with a new diet. Be sure to consult your doctor to get the right diet and exercise plan for you.

Read more: Does Your Blood Type Affect Your Heart Health? Yes, but Here’s the Full Story

How does the Mediterranean diet work?

Olives, tomatoes, broccoli, olive oil Olives, tomatoes, broccoli, olive oil

Getty Images/Claudia Totir/Min

The Mediterranean diet is one of the easiest to follow, and there is no need to count calories. Although there are no hard and fast rules, there are some recommendations. These include eating fish or seafood at least twice a week, drinking a lot of water, eating a wide variety of foods and fill your plate with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and olive oil, daily. In addition to these recommendations, your meals and snacks are up to you. This is what you are encouraged to eat.

foods to eat on the Mediterranean diet

On the Mediterranean diet, try to eat plant-based and whole foods. These may include:

  • Fish (salmon, tuna, herring, etc.)
  • Seafood
  • Poultry, in moderation
  • Vegetables
  • Results
  • Dairy products
  • Eggs, in moderation
  • Olive oil
  • chickens
  • Lentils
  • when
  • pasta
  • Yogurt, in moderation
  • Nuts
  • 100% whole wheat bread
  • Herbs
  • Spices
  • Glass of red wine with meals (no more than one glass for women, two glasses for men)
  • A little dark chocolate

limiting foods on the Mediterranean diet

Although no foods are “off limits,” try to eat the following rarely:

  • Red meat
  • Sugary foods and drinks
  • Processed foods
  • Butter

Meal ideas

Fill your grocery list with these meal ideas for the week.


  • Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and a cup of tea
  • Whole wheat toast with natural peanut butter and a cup of coffee (extra cream and sugar in moderation)


  • Chicken orzo soup with vegetables
  • Greek salad with olives, avocado and feta cheese


  • Salmon cooked in olive oil, brown rice and roasted vegetables
  • Tuna over quinoa and arugula with an olive oil vinaigrette dressing


  • Various nuts and seeds with natural cheese
  • Pita bread and vegetables with hummus

Is the Mediterranean diet for you?

A bowl of spaghetti with prawns, asparagus, tomatoes and pesto A bowl of spaghetti with prawns, asparagus, tomatoes and pesto

Getty Images/Westend61/Westend61

Although named the best diet of 2024, the Mediterranean diet is not for everyone. Talk to your doctor before making any major dietary changes. If you are thinking of trying this diet for yourself, here are some points to keep in mind.

You should try the Mediterranean diet if:

  • You do well with unrestricted diets
  • You already eat a lot of seafood, plant-based foods and whole grains
  • You are looking for a budget-friendly diet low in unhealthy fats and high in healthy fats

Try a different diet or see a dietician if so:

  • You need more structure or you want certain foods to be off limits
  • You have severe food restrictions or allergies
  • You need tailored diet, weight loss and exercise plans

Mediterranean diet FAQs

What is not allowed on the Mediterranean diet?

Technically, no foods are strictly “off limits” to the Mediterranean diet. You should try to cut back on or avoid processed foods (especially processed meat), red meat, white bread and pastas, butter, processed oils and excess alcohol (except red wine).

Can you eat eggs on the Mediterranean diet?

Yes, you can eat eggs in moderation on the Mediterranean diet. If you have high cholesterol, try not to have more than four egg yolks in a week.

Can you eat bananas on the Mediterranean diet?

Yes, you can eat bananas on the Mediterranean diet. It is recommended to eat a lot of fruit and vegetables on this diet.

Which cheese is right to eat on the Mediterranean diet?

Natural cheeses are best eaten on the Mediterranean diet. Although there are no restrictions, the diet recommends limiting processed cheese. Stay away from highly processed cheeses such as American cheese or cheese-in-a-can. Instead, lean towards natural cheeses like mozzarella, feta, cheddar, Swiss, Parmesan or Muenster.

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