The Mediterranean diet has ranked #1 in the best diets overall by U.S. News. It consists of healthy fats, whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables which lowers obesity and the chances of stroke, and heart disease. Moderate amounts of dairy, poultry and eggs are also central to the diet.
The truth is that there is not a “single” Mediterranean diet. Greeks eat differently from Italians, who eat differently from the French and the Spanish. However, they share common ingredients in their diets. Keep these staples on-hand to stay on track with a balanced diet and regular exercise.
- Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes – Tomato paste, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato sauce, marinated tomatoes, jarred or canned whole and chopped tomatoes. Let’s face it, fresh tomatoes are not always in season and for many Mediterranean dishes this is a must.
- Olives – We love to snack on them or to add to salads and pasta.
- Olive Oil – This is an obvious one. Olive oil is a must. Make sure you buy extra and make sure it’s extra virgin olive oil. Also check the harvest or pressed date before you purchase; it should be less than 6 months ago.
- Beans – Dry beans are preferred, but if you must, canned beans will do. Sometimes we just don’t have time to soak the beans overnight.
- Herbs and spices, oh my. Yes, there is an abundance of flavor in this region – including but not limited to: basil, bay leaf, black pepper, cloves, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, garlic, lavender, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, paprika, rosemary, saﬀron, tarragon, and thyme. Many of these ingredients are in our pantries already.
- Honey – It’s the natural sweetener replacing sugar that is much healthier and rich with antioxidants. Honey is great with yogurt, on toast, in tea, and marinades and dressings.
- Red Wine Vinegar – Again, this is perfect in dressings and straight over salad.
- Walnuts – Another great source of omega-3’s for a snack, in salads, and desserts.
- Greek Yogurt – Creamy and delicious! Greek yogurt provides protein, calcium, potassium and healthy bacteria for the digestive tract. It helps you feel full for only a few calories!
- Feta Cheese – Compared to other cheeses, it’s low in calories and fat and contains a high amount of B vitamins, phosphorus and calcium. It contains beneficial bacteria and fatty acids. Feta cheese is nutrient-rich and full of flavor without the guilt. So crumble this cheese over salads, meats or any meal to add some savory flavor to your palate!
As with any diet, always consult your physician for any questions. At SouvlakiBar, we serve the highest quality ingredients listed above including fresh, locally sourced produce. Each meal is prepared on the spot for you, our customer, so that you can enjoy a flavorful and healthy meal!