Mediterranean Diet

What is the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating that is similar to the cuisine of countries along the Mediterranean Sea. There is no single definition of the diet, but it is based on eating mostly plant based foods. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has shown the Mediterranean diet to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death related to heart problems by 30%. The diet can be used as a long term diet pattern to promote health, control blood sugar and prevent chronic disease.

Plant-based foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices, are the foundation of the diet. Olive oil is the main source of added fat. Fish, seafood, dairy and poultry are included in moderation. Red meat and sweets are eaten only occasionally.

Healthy fats instead of unhealthy ones

Olive oil is the primary source of added fat in the Mediterranean diet. Olive oil provides monounsaturated fat, which lowers total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (or “bad”) cholesterol levels. Nuts and seeds also contain monounsaturated fat.

Fatty fish, such as mackerel, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These polyunsaturated fats help fight inflammation in the body.

Omega-3 fatty acids also help decrease triglycerides, reduce blood clotting, and lower the risk of stroke and heart failure.

What about wine?

Wine is often associated with the Mediterranean diet. It can be included but only in moderation. While alcohol may reduce the risk of heart disease, it has other health risks.

The Mediterranean way

Interested in trying the Mediterranean diet? Get started with these tips:

  • Build meals around vegetables, beans and whole grains.
  • Eat fish at least twice a week.
  • Use olive oil instead of butter in preparing food.
  • Serve fresh fruit for dessert.

Living the Mediterranean way also means being physically active and sharing meals with loved ones. Savor the benefits!

What are the key components of the Mediterranean Diet?

Fresh fruits & vegetables

Daily Serving Goal

FoodServings / Day
Fruit3 servings
(1 serving = 1/2 cup to 1 cup)
Vegetables3+ servings (1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw)
tomatoes Mediterranean diet

Ways to incorporate in your day: Have at least 1 serving at each meal or choose as a snack.

How do I add more fruits and vegetables to my diet?

If you are looking to add more fruits and vegetables, consider trying one of these recipes and let me know what you think! Persian Salad, Fresh Fruit Salad with Citrus Dressing, or Chinese Chicken Salad

Legumes (beans and lentils)

Weekly Serving Goal

FoodServings / Week
Legumes3 servings
(1 serving = 1/2 cup)
Mediterranean diet
Legumes (beans and lentils)

Ways to incorporate in your day: Add to salad, soups and pasta dishes; try hummus or bean dip for veggies or a veggie or bean burger.

Extra virgin olive oil

Daily Serving Goal

FoodServings / Day
Olive OilAt least 1 Tbsp per day
(no more than 4 Tbsp per day)
Mediterranean diet
Olive Oil

Ways to incorporate in your day: Use instead of vegetable oil and animal fats (butter, sour cream, mayonnaise). Drizzle on salads, cooked vegetables, pasta or as a dip for bread.

Fish (especially fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids)

Weekly Serving Goal

FoodServings / Week
Fish3 servings
(1 serving = 3 to 4 ounces)
Mediterranean diet
Fish with lemons and tomatoes

Ways to incorporate in your day: Fish rich in omega-3s include salmon, sardines, herring, tuna and mackerel.

Nuts: Ideally, walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts

Weekly Serving Goal

FoodServings / Week
NutsAt least 3 servings per week
(1 serving = 1 ounce or 1/4 cup
or 2 Tbsp nut butter)
Olive Oil

Ways to incorporate in your day: Add to hot or cold cereal, salads, and yogurt. Choose raw, unsalted and dry roasted varieties alone or with dried fruit as a snack.

Whole grains and starchy vegetables (potatoes, peas and corn)

Daily Serving Goal

FoodServings / Day
Whole Grains3 to 6 servings
(1 serving = 1/2 cup cooked; 1 slice of bread; or 1 ounce of dry cereal)
brown wooden bowl with brown powder
Fish with lemons and tomatoes

Ways to incorporate in your day: Choose oats, barley, quinoa, brown rice, or a baked or roasted red skin or sweet potato. Choose whole grain bread, cereal, couscous and pasta.

Poultry (white meat)

Serving Goal

PoultryChoose white meat instead of dark meat
mediteranean diet roasted chicken
Roasted Chicken

Ways to incorporate in your day: Choose skinless white meat poultry that is baked, broiled or grilled.


Serving Goal: Choose fat-free or low-fat dairy products.

mediterranean diet cheese board
Cheese board

Ways to incorporate in your day: Choose fat-free or 1% milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese. Choose natural, light, or part-skim cheese. Avoid whole-milk dairy, cream, and cream-based sauces and dressings.


Serving Goal

EggsLimit egg yolks; have up to 1 yolk per day.

Ways to incorporate in your day: No limit on egg whites. If you have high cholesterol, consult an MD or RD for specific recommendations on egg yolks, or limit to no more than 4 yolks per week.

Wine (optional)

Serving Goal

Wine1 to 2 glasses per day (1 glass = 3.5 ounces)
Limit to one serving per day for women and two servings per day for men.
person pouring red wine on wine glass

Ways to incorporate in your day: If you do not drink, the American Heart Association cautions people NOT to start drinking. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of consuming alcohol in moderation.

Baked goods and desserts

Serving Goal: Avoid commercial baked goods/sweets and desserts. Limit homemade goods to less than 3 times/week. Instead, choose fruit and nonfat yogurt.

selective focus photography of thee purple ice pops near pine cones
Berry Popsicles

Ways to incorporate in your day: Bake using liquid oil instead of solid fats; whole grain flour instead of bleached or enriched flour; and egg whites instead of whole eggs.

All-Time Favorite Mediterranean Diet Recipes:

Breakfast Recipes

By improving the intestinal transit time of food and waste, fiber helps your body eliminate carcinogens. Unfortunately, an estimated 95% of American adults and children don’t consume enough fiber, according to a 2017 analysis published in U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Make-ahead oatmeal provides a balanced portion of carbohydrates and plant protein, along with good doses of iron and B vitamins.

In a study last year, researchers found that higher intakes of fiber resulted in decreased mortality from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. The American Heart Association Eating Plan suggests that total dietary fiber intake should be between 25 to 30 grams a day (from food, not supplements).

No ratings yet

Overnight Oats

Overnight oats are a healthy, make-ahead breakfast option and are easily customizable for your most picky eaters.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 serving
Author StaceyRD


Overnight Oats – Base

  • ½ cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 tbsp sliced almonds optional
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • ½ c Greek yogurt optional
  • ½ cup milk of choice for a very thick consistency or up to ⅔ cup milk for a thinner consistency
  • drizzle maple syrup or honey optional


  • In a mason jar or container, combine the old-fashioned or rolled oats, cinnamon, chia seeds and yogurt. Slowly add the milk and mix into the oats to combine.
  • Place the lid on the container and refrigerate overnight, or up to 5 days. When you are ready to serve, add a drizzle of maple syrup or honey if you’d like, and enjoy chilled or warm.


If you have any questions about this recipe, please leave a comment and we will respond as soon as possible. If you have other questions, please contact me here Contact Us
Tried this recipe?Rate it and please leave a comment below. If you loved it, share a photo on Instagram. Tag @berriesandoats1 and hashtag it #berriesandoats

You can find more Mediterranean Diet breakfast recipes

Mediterranean Diet Breakfast

Lunch Recipes

Mediterranean lunch bowls ingredients

Quinoa is usually considered a whole grain but it’s actually a seed! It is a complete protein as it contains all of the essential amino acids. It is naturally gluten-free and it contains many vitamins, mineral and flavonoids. I have included both the stovetop and the Instant Pot cooking methods in the recipe notes.

You can use store bought or homemade hummus. There are many flavors to chose from. A roasted red pepper hummus or a spicy hummus would be delicious in these bowls. The hummus when combined with the lemon and olive oil serves as the “dressing” for these bowls.

The fresh ingredients include cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, lemon and arugula. The pantry items include Great Northern beans, Kalamata olives, olive oil, and black pepper. Any other mild white bean will work such as cannelloni or chickpeas.

how to customize these bowls

This Mediterranean bowls lunch prep makes four bowls but you can easily make an additional bowl to have five for each day of the week. You can serve this with some avocado, a piece of crusty sourdough, a healthy treat, or just enjoy as is.

This is a super fresh, light lunch. The recipe makes bowls that are approximately 540 calories each. This is an estimate that can vary based on the type of hummus you buy or whether you are using the exact quantities. If you require less or more calories, adjust the ingredients as needed. You will end up with extra beans and quinoa so those are two ingredients that you can easily adjust the quantity of, if needed.

No ratings yet

Mediterranean Lunch Bowls

Mediterranean lunch bowls that are ready in 20 minutes!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes



  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1-2 cups chicken or vegetable broth varies based on cooking method
  • 1 15.5 ounce cans Great Northern beans (or other white beans), drained and rinsed (2 cups)
  • 12 ea kalamata olives
  • 8 ounces hummus store bought or homemade
  • 4 ounces arugula
  • 1 pint cherry tomotoes
  • 1 medium cucumber partially peeled and diced
  • ½ medium to large red onion diced
  • 1 lemon quartered
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste


  • Prepare quinoa per package instructions with chicken or vegetable broth. Let quinoa cool before adding it to bowls.
  • Assemble ingredients evenly into four 4 cup containers. Per bowl add: 1/2 cup cooked quinoa, 1/2 cup beans, 1/3 cup cherry tomatoes, handful of arugula, 2 tablespoons red onion, 1/2 cup diced cucumber, 1/4 cup hummus, one slice of lemon, drizzle 1 tsp olive oil on top, and add freshly ground pepper.
  • Cover and store in fridge for up to 5 days.
Tried this recipe?Rate it and please leave a comment below. If you loved it, share a photo on Instagram. Tag @berriesandoats1 and hashtag it #berriesandoats

You can find more Mediterranean Diet lunch recipes

Mediterranean diet salad
Mediterranean Diet – Salad

Dinner Recipes

No ratings yet

Salmon with Spicy Cilantro Parsley Marinade

This salmon recipe features a marinade similar to a Moroccan chermoula featuring cilantro, garlic and lemon
Prep Time 4 hours
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes


  • ½ c olive oil
  • ½ c fresh cilantro chopped
  • ½ c flat-leaf parsley chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp dried red chili pepper
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 4 salmon filets


  • Combine all the ingredients except the salmon in a saucepan
  • Heat over medium just until the mixture is hot, but do not let it boil. Then let cool to room temperature
  • Place salmon on a baking sheet, and rub the marinade over it.
  • Cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours
  • When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 450 degrees
  • Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked medium rare and is slightly firm to the touch
Tried this recipe?Rate it and please leave a comment below. If you loved it, share a photo on Instagram. Tag @berriesandoats1 and hashtag it #berriesandoats
roasted meat
Mediterranean Dinner Recipes

More Mediterranean Diet dinner recipes


Leave a Reply, pub-pub-1573315939620030, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0