This week’s menu was inspired by the Mediterranean Diet, which is based on the food staples of the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, such as Greece and Italy.

The Mediterranean diet has a foundation of plant-based foods; it also includes fish, poultry, eggs, cheese, and healthy fats that come from nuts, avocado and oils. The idea is to move away from processed foods and ones that are high in sugar and towards wholesome ones. Portion size and balance are key. As for meat, it should be reduced significantly, especially red meat. This is largely due to the fact that “bad” fats called omega-6 fatty acids are commonly found in red meat.

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The idea is to move away from processed foods and ones that are high in sugar and towards wholesome ones. Portion size and balance are key.

It’s called a ‘diet’ but, more accurately, it is a lifestyle that encompasses healthy eating patterns. This way of eating has been shown to significantly decrease the chances of many cancers, depression, diabetes and heart disease. What’s more, its ethos is grounded in increasing the good stuff (heart-healthy foods) rather than eliminating the bad, and emphasizes moderation above all else. This marks an important shift in the way we think about eating. There should be no reason to eliminate entire food groups or completely give up your favorite foods. 

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There should be no reason to eliminate entire food groups or completely give up your favorite foods.

Olive Oil is the principal source of fat in the Meditteranean Diet and one of the healthiest fats for our bodies. A great way to incorporate more olive oil into your diet is to use it as the base for salad dressings. You’ll find a great one in this week’s menu for quinoa salad. 

After oil and fish, the Mediterranean diet relies heavily on fruits and vegetables. Buying produce when it’s in season will guarantee that you get the best flavor, and cooking with fresh herbs will go a long way. Rounding out this meal plan are whole grains and other sources of healthy fats. Packed with protein and fiber, plain nuts and seeds that are either raw or roasted are best, since they are low in sodium. We’ve included pesto in two of your recipes, which is a sauce from northern Italy that consists of pine nuts, blended with garlic, basil, oil and cheese. 

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Buying produce when it’s in season will guarantee that you get the best flavor, and cooking with fresh herbs will go a long way.

Now that you’ve been given an overview of the ‘Mediterranean Model,’ as we like to call it, you may consider adopting this way of eating. As with any major lifestyle change, it is important that one does their own research and, in this case, speaks to a medical professional before adopting a new meal plan. That said, by simply incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet, while decreasing your meat and processed food intake, you’re likely to feel healthier in no time.