Looking back on the history of diet trends, there are few that have stood the test of time. It's the ones that actually work that last throughout the years, and the Mediterranean diet continues to prove itself as one of the healthiest ways to eat. Want to protect your heart, decrease your risk for diabetes, get to a healthy weight and ultimately live longer? Research shows you can do all that and potentially more by making the Mediterranean diet your way of life.
Following the Mediterranean diet doesn't need to mean you're eating tomatoes, feta cheese, salmon, olives and couscous for every meal—although that really is a delicious combination. But it is about filling in those categories at each meal—incorporating healthy fruits and veggies (and plenty of 'em), calcium-rich dairy items (even the ones higher in fat), lean protein (especially those plant-based proteins), heart-healthy fats (like the kinds you find in salmon, olive oil and nuts) and healthy whole grains (the rock-star food group that tends not to get the love it deserves—I'm looking at you keto diet and paleo, with your carb-fearing tactics). The "plate method" is an easy-to-follow visual of how to build one of these healthy meals. Fill half your plate with fruits and veggies, a quarter with whole grains and the last quarter with lean protein, sprinkling in healthy fats and dairy items in different ways.
You don't need to make only traditional Mediterranean-style dishes from Italy, Greece or Spain to follow the Mediterranean way of eating. Stretch your legs and step into other cuisines, while still using this formula for creating a healthy meal. The Bahn Mi Black Rice Bowls and Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Crema are two great recipes to start with.
These healthy Mediterranean diet recipes bring the principles of the diet together to create a delicious day of eating. Start your day with an energizing breakfast, include a satisfying lunch and finish with a balanced dinner, with snacks mixed in to keep your energy levels stable. Scroll through for healthy-eating inspiration and don't miss the meal plans down below.
Here we top a hearty slice of whole-wheat toast with scrambled eggs and sautéed spinach and serve with plump raspberries to amp up the fiber in the meal. This simple breakfast can be done in any of a hundred ways. A crispy piece of toast is the ultimate vessel for toppings like nut butter and bananas, mashed avocado and greens, or cream cheese and smoked salmon. Fill in any gaps by including something on the side, like yogurt, more fruit or nuts.
See more: Healthy Mediterranean Breakfast Recipes
This simple snack with protein (from the yogurt) and healthy fat (from the nuts) is a tasty choice to help you make it till lunch. Toss in any fruit you have on hand, and experiment with various toppings like nuts, seeds or granola to find your favorite flavor combo.
Liven up your lunch routine with this bright Mediterranean-style grain bowl. Brimming with plenty of plant-based protein (from the quinoa and chickpeas), this healthy meal will keep you feeling full and satisfied all afternoon. Chopped cucumber, olives, feta cheese and a bright roasted red-pepper sauce bring it all together. Meal-prep this recipe at the beginning of the week so you have easy, healthy grab-and-go lunches at the ready.
Fresh peaches amp up a classic caprese salad in this super-fast snack recipe. The mix of sweet from the peaches and savory from the tomatoes and cheese match up wonderfully and take your snacking to a new level.
This healthy salmon recipe with colorful veggies and flavor-packed herbs and spices is the essence of the Mediterranean diet. Healthy and incredibly delicious, this sheet-pan dinner recipe is a surefire winner. Serve over a whole grain, like quinoa, whole-wheat orzo or whole-wheat couscous to complete the meal.
See more: 30 Days of Mediterranean Diet Dinners
Browse these Mediterranean diet meal plans for more guidance and inspiration.