Food For Thought: Bring The Mediterranean To Your Table

Food For Thought: Bring The Mediterranean To Your TableHave you heard the buzz about the Mediterranean way of eating? It’s a diet based on traditional foods from countries near the Mediterranean Sea, such as: Italy, Greece, Spain, Turkey and Lebanon. Each offers fresh, distinctive and delicious flavors. Research shows that eating the Mediterranean way can reduce your risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases. The best part is you don’t have to travel to get started. Your grocery store is waiting for you to discover all the Mediterranean has to offer. Your taste buds and your heart will thank you.

 Traditional Mediterranean meals are planned around plant foods. Vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, herbs, spices and olive oil are the foundation of the Mediterranean diet and are enjoyed every day. Include fish and seafood often, at least twice each week. Poultry, eggs and dairy products can be enjoyed daily to weekly. Limit meat and sweets. Try adding more plant-based protein to your meals by planning a vegetarian meal once a week or adding beans, lentils, nuts and seeds to dishes you already make. If plant-based proteins are new to you, start with lentils. They are small in size and have a mild flavour. Add lentils to soup, salads or pasta sauces. Enjoy nuts and seeds more often by sprinkling them on yogurt, oatmeal and stir fry.

 You can make Mediterranean inspired meals from the comfort of your own kitchen. Start by filling half of your plate with vegetables at lunch and dinner and focus on fruit for breakfast and dessert. Choose whole grains more often. Try bulgur, wild rice or farro for something different. Use olive oil instead of butter or shortening and flavour food with garlic, herbs, spices and lemon zest instead of salt. Look for freeze dried herbs and herb pastes in the produce department. You will have the taste of fresh herbs without the chopping, and no waste.  
 In addition to the types of food included, spending time eating together is an important part of the Mediterranean way of eating. Meals are a great time to enjoy food and catch up on the events of the day with family and friends. Even when schedules are busy, try setting aside time to share a meal around the table with the people you care about.  

Want to learn more about the Mediterranean way of eating? Contact Caroline at caroline.black@sobeys.com for information about nutrition classes and counselling.