The Mediterranean Diet isn’t one single diet. But those who live along the Mediterranean Sea share a general way of eating that research shows is healthiest for your heart. Buon appetito – or however you choose to say it!
FRUITS + VEGETABLES.
Goal: 3 servings of fruit a day
(1 serving = ½ to 1 cup) and
3+ servings of vegetables a day
(1 serving = ½ cup cooked or 1 cup raw)
Tip: Have at least 1 serving at each meal or choose for a snack.
LEGUMES. (BEANS + LENTILS)
Goal: 3 servings per week
(1 serving = ½ cup)
Tip: Add to salads, soups and pasta dishes. Try hummus or bean dip for veggies. Or a bean burger.
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL. (EVOO)
Goal: At least 1 Tbsp per day
(no more than 4 Tbsp per day)
Tip: Use instead of vegetable oil and animal fats (butter, sour cream, mayo). Drizzle on salads, cooked veggies, pasta or as a dip for bread.
FISH. (ESPECIALLY THOSE RICH IN OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS)
Goal: 3 servings per week
(1 serving = 3-4 ounces)
Tip: Salmon, sardines, herring, tuna and mackerel are all rich in omega-3s.
NUTS. (WALNUTS, ALMONDS + HAZELNUTS ARE BEST!)
Goal: At least 3 servings per week
(1 serving = 1 ounce (1/4 cup)
or 2 Tbsp nut butter)
Tip: Add to hot or cold cereal, salad and yogurt. Choose raw, unsalted and dry roasted varieties alone or with dried fruit as a snack.
WHOLE GRAINS + STARCHY VEGETABLES. (POTATOES, PEAS + CORN)
Goal: 3-6 servings per day
(1 serving = 1/2 cup cooked,
1 slice of bread or 1 ounce
Tip: Choose oats, barley, quinoa, brown rice, or a baked or roasted red skin or sweet potato. Eat whole-grain bread, cereal, couscous and pasta.
POULTRY. (WHITE MEAT)
Goal: Choose white meat instead of dark meat.
Tip: Choose skinless white meat poultry that’s baked, broiled or grilled.
DAIRY + EGGS.
Goal: Limit cheese to 3 servings
per week. No limit on egg whites, but eat egg yolks in moderation.
Tip: Choose fat-free or 1% milk, yogurt and cottage cheese. Eat natural, light or part-skim cheese. Avoid whole-milk dairy, cream and cream-based sauces and dressings.
RED MEAT. (BEEF, PORK, VEAL + LAMB)
Goal: None ― no more
than 1 serving per week.
(1 serving = 3 ounces)
Tip: Limit to lean cuts, like tenderloin, sirloin and
Goal: Men: Two 3½-ounce glasses per day | Women: One 3½-ounce glass per day
Tip: If you don’t 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 + DESSERTS.
Goal: Avoid commercial baked goods, sweets and desserts. Limit homemade goods to less than 3 times per week. Instead, choose fruit and nonfat yogurt.
Tip: Bake using liquid oil instead of solid fats. Use whole-grain flour instead of bleached or enriched flour and egg whites instead of whole eggs.
© 2019 Cleveland Clinic