Eat and Drink
Your Mediterranean Diet Shopping List
Why the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean Diet keeps coming up as one of the most healthy diets in the world. You probably already know that it's based primarily on the everyday food of Greeks and other Mediterranean people as recently as a few decades ago.
It consists mainly of plant-based and minimally processed foods. It features local and in-season vegetables, lots of beans, olive oil, fruit, fish and chicken on occasion, meat rarely, and wine. Bread and pastas are part of the traditional as well, but not the ooey-gooey Olive Garden-type pastas - simple, healthful and olive oil-based.
Cheese and yogurt are also a part of the diet. Just make sure it's full-fat Greek yogurt (nothing with crazy flavorings or aspartame), and mostly goat cheeses like feta and other types.
Get used to using lots of extra virgin olive oil; Greek if you can get it. Whole Foods has one that's not expensive. There's a whole range of Greek dishes called lathera (λαδερά) - literally "with oil" - that are various vegetables cooked with olive oil, and occasionally with the addition of tomatoes.
Beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains are eaten almost daily. Enjoy your beans, pasta and rice with vegetables and lots of olive oil!
Small amounts of meat and chicken (grass-fed and organic, if possible) are eaten in smaller quantities and less frequently than in a standard Western diet. Think of adding meat to a casserole or chicken to a salad. Have it be the supporting actor rather than the star of the meal.
Omega 3 fatty acids are a big part of the Mediterranean diet - they're anti-inflammatory and heart-healthy. Find them in fish like sardines, mackerel, salmon, seabass and anchovies. Flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts are other excellent ways to get Omega 3s, if you don't eat fish.
Eggs are also a big part of the Mediterranean diet. And they don't just have to be for breakfast - add chopped hard boiled egg to a salad for lunch or have a veggie omelette for dinner.
And of course, wine in moderation is very Mediterranean!
Here's a basic list of some things you may want to have on hand for your Mediterranean meal planning. It's by no means exhaustive, but it will get you started.
Grains and Beans
beans of any kind
bread (preferably whole grain)
red meat very rarely
Vegetables (you can use frozen if available - it makes it easy to have on-hand)
tomatoes (including canned tomatoes)
greens of all kinds - chard, dandelion, kale, etc.
cheese, especially goat and sheep's cheese
Herbs & Spices
all fruit, especially citrus
wine, especially red
nuts, especially walnuts, almonds and pistachios
seeds - pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, etc.
herbal teas - Greek mountain tea, chamomile, etc.
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