Best Mediterranean Diet Recipes for Weight Loss
Mediterranean cuisine is one of the healthiest ways of eating in the world. It is based on whole, unprocessed foods that are low in sugar and calories, but high in healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants.
The Mediterranean diet has been shown to be effective for weight management and preventing and/or reversing chronic conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
In this blog post, we will discuss the Mediterranean diet in detail and provide a sample meal plan, as well as a few easy Mediterranean diet recipes that you can follow! Let's dive in.
What is the Mediterranean diet and why is it good for weight loss?
The Mediterranean diet is full of healthy recipes and has been the darling of diets for years. In fact, its been named the #1 best overall diet by US News & World Report for five consecutive years. It's associated with weight management, increased energy levels, and life longevity unlike other popular diets that are focused solely on losing weight as fast as possible.
Where do Traditional Mediterranean Foods and Recipes Come From?
This age-old culinary diet was created by people living along coastal regions such as Greece, Spain, Italy, France, and Northern Africa. The traditional food of this area is rich in plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables as well as healthy fats from olive oil.
You can find whole grains here too alongside some wine! This age-old lifestyle has been touted by medical professionals everywhere because of the amazing health benefits, lower chronic conditions, and life longevity experienced by the people who live in this part of the world.
Versions of the Mediterranean Diet
There's no single Mediterranean diet since the cooking styles originate from many different countries in the Mediterranean; however, each version of the Mediterranean diet has similar foundational principles including healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants.
Across the Mediterranean, there are many different popular dishes. The original and most popular version of the Mediterranean Diet is made up mostly of fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and lean protein cooked in olive oil.
What Do Mediterranean diet recipes consist of?
A Mediterranean diet meal plan consists of a similar ratio of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein.
This type of eating has been around for thousands of years! People living in this geographic region share many similar features and typically live long, healthy lifes due to their balanced diet.
Why Are Easy Mediterranean Diet Recipes Good for Weight Loss?
Most food in the modernized world has become highly processed and filled with chemicals, simple sugars, and high amounts of sodium, which has led to many Americans and others living in the Western Hemisphere suffering from chronic conditions.
The Mediterranean diet has been shown to be an effective way of losing weight because it is based on whole, unprocessed foods. These low-sugar and calorie-rich meals contain plenty of nutrients, minerals, and healthy fats paired with low impact exercise which helps burn off those extra calories while promoting your body's own natural fat-burning capabilities!
Perfect Mediterranean diet recipes are not about calorie counting or cutting out carbs. The main objective of the diet is to focus on eating whole, all-natural foods focused on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats from olive oil.
A Balanced Diet is at the Heart of Most Mediterranean Recipes
The Mediterranean Diet begins with your plate: Nutritionally balanced and balanced in color. It's not necessarily a restrictive diet, but more of a diet with parameters. You should never completely restrict yourself, but also you don’t want to rely on processed foods that contribute to weight gain. It’s all about having a healthy balance!
The Mediterranean diet is not about focusing on consuming low amounts of fats and sugars. Only healthy fats are encouraged, such as those from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated sources (specifically omega-3) found in fish and olive oil.
Fish and other lean protein can make up part of your daily intake if you choose but whole grains, fruits, and vegetables will always take priority in the diet.
Unhealthy fats and processed sugars should be avoided. The diet is based consuming only whole, all-natural ingredients instead of the processed foods you find on grocery shelves today.
Mediterranean Lifestyle Factors
The delicious and healthy Mediterranean diet recipe is also about enjoying yourself. It's crucial to enjoy the social aspect of eating, which can be done by sharing meals with family members or friends on any given day–whether it happens to be during your lunch break at work!
Moderation should always be the rule, as with any diet, but the Mediterranean lifestyle is all about having a health balance so don't be afraid to enjoy a glass (or two) of wine with your meal. Eating foods high in antioxidants is another important factor of the Mediterranean Diet as well.
The key to the diet is to have fun while eating delicious dishes paired properly with different kinds of wines and healthy drinks and loving your body by controlling what you put into it.
That last piece of the puzzle is to make exercise a part of your daily life. Make sure to stay hydrated and incorporate daily exercise with the a Mediterranean Diet meal plan. You don't have to be as intense as the ancient greek gladiators, but a walk or a swim twice a day can do wonders.
How Can it Help You Lose Weight?
This fabulous food tradition has been credited with achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
What does this mean for you? It means healthy living through the consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes/beans, lean protein, and olive oil paired with consistent exercise will lead to a healty lifestyle and natural weight loss.
The Mediterranean diet uses mostly olive oil as the primary source of fat, unlike other diets that rely on animal products and loads of butter. Olive oils are rich in monosaturated fats which is a good fat that is beneficial for your heart health.
Many people think you shouldn't eat fats when you are on a diet but your body needs fats. The healthy fats help your body function throughout the day, keep your hormones balanced, and your heart healthy.
It's common knowledge that foods rich in saturated fat give you long-lasting energy and help increase the calories you burn. Did you know that just being awake burns calories? How many? You can generally burn around 2000 calories a day just from being awake. Saturated fats like olive oil help you burn more calories while unsaturated fats actually add calories.
Studies have shown that even just the odor of olive oil can help you burn calories and feel better. Isn’t that crazy?
Though probiotics are increasingly popular, there's no better way to get your daily dose than Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt contains more protein than virtually any other ready-to eat food. It has been shown in studies that probiotics limit hunger and cravings for sugar, which is a big first step to changing your eating habits.
Balanced Diet Focused On Whole Foods
The Mediterranean Diet also can lead to natural, healthy weight loss because it focuses on eating only whole, all-natural ingredients. Many people in the Mediterranean cook with locally sourced ingredients and don’t divulge in processed foods very often unlike a typical American diet.
That is why many people who live in the Mediterranean are healthy, happy, and live for a very long time. Their balanced diet of all-natural, whole foods and daily exercise allow them to maintain a healthy weight and avoid chronic conditions.
Mediterranean diet meal plans for Weight Loss
The 7 Day Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan 1 Week:
- A good option for breakfast is raw oatmeal. Muesli is one popular option and one of the best, easy Mediterranean diet recipes for breakfast. You can even soak the muesli in almond milk or soy milk overnight and enjoy it in the morning. It usually goes well with fruits like raisins, dried pineapples, and even nuts.
- For a snack, try a banana and a third cup of yogurt.
- For lunch, Herbed chickpea and quinoa salad.
- For dinner, Harissa chicken with leeks, potatoes, cauliflower, and lemon mint yogurt sauce.
- In the morning, have some whole wheat toast with fresh avocado and a banana.
- For a snack, eat a grapefruit with a handful of raw walnuts, almonds, or cashews.
- For lunch, green beans with purple sweet potatoes and tofu.
- At dinner time, Ikarian stew with carrots, artichokes, and leeks.
- For breakfast, low fat or no-fat Greek yogurt with raw oatmeal and cacao nibs.
- For a snack try a fruit salad with pineapples, bananas, blueberries, papayas, or strawberries.
- For lunch, layered vegetarian enchiladas with black beans and sweet potatoes. Don’t be afraid to add your favorite hot sauce to this dish.
- For dinner, Lemon thyme chicken with tahini cauliflower and quinoa.
- Breakfast is scrambled eggs with peppers and spinach.
- For a snack, eat some fresh fruit with Greek yogurt.
- For lunch, have some longevity stew with black eyes peas and kale.
- For dinner, have baked chicken thighs with Mediterranean salad using baby greens like arugula and mustard greens.
- For breakfast, have a poached egg, with whole grain bread with fresh avocado.
- For a snack, you can have trail mix filled with nuts and dried fruits.
- For lunch, you can have Shrimp primavera with rice.
- For dinner, Rosemary chicken with broccoli and quinoa.
- For breakfast, you could have overnight oats mixed with greek yogurt and fruits.
- For lunch, you can have Sedona stew with kale and quinoa.
- For dinner, roasted pistachio salmon with white beans and kale.
- For Sunday breakfast you can go wild with some scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, and whole grain pancakes topped with fresh fruit.
- For lunch, Mushroom bolognese with potatoes, mushrooms, and cauliflower.
- At dinner, Herbed white fish with roasted corn and red pepper paired with a glass of red wine.
If any of these lunch or dinners are making your mouth water then check out our menu of fully prepared Mediterranean meals here:
Easy Mediterranean diet recipes Example
As you can see, you can practice the Mediterranean diet for every single meal of the day. There are no restrictions on meals and snack. The only focus is to eat a balanced diet of whole foods with a focus on fruits, vegetables, healthy grains, and healthy fats from avocado oil or fish.
Snacking is not frowned upon in the Mediterranean diet, but just remember to eliminate processed foods and snack on fruits and nuts instead. When cooking, remember to use olive oil to ensure your meals are filled with healthy fats.
Don't Forget Fresh Vegetables!
If you're not used to eating raw vegetables then this may be one of the hardest parts of transitioning to a Mediterranean diet. It’s always good to use a healthy dressing or vinaigrette to make eating vegetables easier. All of your carb intake on the Mediterranean diet should come from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains like ezekiel bread or quinoa.
A Typical Day of Mediterranean Diet Meals That Will Help You Lose Weight
Here are the typical meals that you will eat on a day-to-day basis while on the Mediterranean Diet.
The Best Mediterranean Diet Dishes for Breakfast:
Overnight oats with Low Fat Greek Yogurt and Fresh Fruit
Scrambled Eggs with Avocado Toast
Avocado Toast with a Banana and Blueberries
The Best Mediterranean Diet Dishes For Lunch
Mediterranean Diet Moroccan Chicken
Roasted Vegetable and Dumpling Stew
Mediterranean Style Vegetarian Tiki Masala
Blacked Salmon with Quinoa, Broccoli, and Roasted Red Peppers
The Best Mediterranean Diet Recipes for Dinner
Chili Lime Plantains with Latin Pintos and Pico
Greek Chicken and Rice
Shrimp Chimichurri with Black Beans and Rice
Mediterranean Diet Recipes That Take 30 Minutes or Less
The Mediterranean Diet Cod Filet won't take long to make and can be paired with fresh vegetables. Spanish people love cod, especially in the Basque region. Cod is a versatile fish that goes well with white or red sauces.
Fresh cod is the best but frozen cod will work just great too if it was frozen in a fresh state. The key to any Mediterranean diet recipes for pan frying fish is to make sure your pan is hot and ready for the fish to cook in olive oil.
Bring it up to temperature with medium heat and once your pan is ready then all you have to do is pan sear for 2 minutes on each side. Remove the fish, prepare your sauce, and then add the cod back in to warm up at the end.
Ingredients for the Mediterranean diet Cod Filet
This dish serves 4.
Mediterranean Diet Cod File Recipe:
- 2 tbsps of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cod fillets
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 small golden onions
- 2 red bell pepper
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 can 28 oz can of tomato puree
Tips for success on the Mediterranean Diet
Rome wasn't built in a day and neither are healthy eating habits. To start your Mediterranean diet Meal Plan, try one meal a day or one snack at a time till you can adopt the full lifestyle. You can then move to a whole day and after two weeks of this healthy, nutritious diet you'll be feeling like a brand new person.
We should mention that you can have dairy, butter, and unprocessed sugar as long as it's in moderation on the Mediterranean diet.
Are You Ready To Start The Mediterranean Diet and Lose Weight?
I know what you are thinking after reading this article. You are thinking, “wow, this is not going to be easy”, and you are 100% correct! Changing your eating habits and adopting a new lifestyle is never easy, but the health benefits make it worth the try.
The great news is that you don’t have to do it all on your own!
ModifyHealth offers fully prepared Mediterranean Diet meals and optional dietitian support to help make the Mediterranean Diet easy for anyone to do.
Click here to explore our menu of over 30+ Mediterranean meals to choose from: Mediterranean Diet Menu