Enjoy the benefits of the Mediterranean diet while delighting your taste buds with comfort food favorites in this healthy and delicious 7-day plan.
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20-Minute Creamy Tomato Salmon Skillet
Credit: Jamie Vespa

While most of us aren't enjoying our meals on a balcony overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, we can at least eat like we are—and enjoy our favorite comfort foods, too. Any type of cuisine can fit into the Mediterranean diet so long meals focus on using ample whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, heathy fats and lean proteins. Thanks to the flexibility of the diet, you can enjoy your favorite foods while eating in a super nutritious way. The Mediterranean Diet is consistently ranked as the best diet around. It's easy to follow, balanced, delicious and most importantly, it has some serious research-backed health benefits. Though salads are great, and can certainly be part of the Mediterranean diet, you don't need to subsist on raw veggies to reap the benefits of following the Mediterranean diet.

In this plan, we map out a week of comfort-food favorites, like warm soups and stews, curries and pasta dishes while sticking to the principles of this healthy lifestyle. You'll find plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, high-fiber legumes, fish and healthy fats (nuts, avocado and olive oil) while skipping refined grains, excess sugars, red meats and processed foods. Because many people follow meal plans to lose weight, we set this plan at 1,500 calories per day and included modifications for 1,200 and 2,000 calories, depending on your calorie needs.

Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

One of the reasons the Mediterranean diet is such an all-star is that it has some serious health benefits for our entire body. Most notably, this plant-heavy diet helps prevent the biggest health threat to Americans: heart disease. Eating a Mediterranean diet can help prevent stroke, high cholesterol, heart attacks or any other heart-related health event. Plus, the Mediterranean diet has been shown to help improve blood sugars, likely due to the limited added sugars and high-fiber content of the diet, which can also help prevent type 2 diabetes. This healthy eating lifestyle has also been show to improve brain health and may prevent or delay dementia, reduce the risk of osteoporosis and promote a healthier body weight.

Mediterranean Diet Foods to Focus On

  • Fish (fresh, canned or frozen, especially fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon)
  • Avocado
  • Olives and olive oil
  • Nuts and seeds, including natural nut butters (with no added sugars or extra ingredients besides nuts and salt)
  • Vegetables (fresh or frozen, especially leafy greens)
  • Whole grains (oats, whole-wheat, quinoa, bulgur, farro, freekeh and more)
  • Beans and lentils (canned or dried)
  • Fermented dairy (yogurt and kefir)
  • Fruit (fresh or frozen, especially berries and other high fiber fruits, such as apples or pears)
  • Spices and herbs

How to Meal-Prep Your Week of Meals

  1. Make Baked Blueberry & Banana-Nut Oatmeal Cups to have for breakfast throughout the week.
  2. Prepare Slow-Cooker Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Stew to have for lunch on days 2 - 5.
Avocado-Egg Toast

Day 1

Breakfast (324 calories)

  • 1 whole-wheat English Muffin with 1 ½ Tbsp. almond butter
  • 1/2 cup blueberries

A.M. Snack (169 calories)

  • 1 ¼ cups low-fat plain kefir
  • 1/2 cup raspberries

Lunch (332 calories)

P.M. Snack (206 calories)

  • ¼ cup dry-roasted unsalted almonds

Dinner (477 calories)

Daily Totals: 1,509 calories, 79g protein, 77g fat, 135g carbohydrate, 29g fiber, 917mg sodium

To Make it 1,200 Calories: Omit kefir at A.M. snack and change P.M. snack to 1 clementine.

To Make it 2,000 Calories: Add 1 serving Berry-Mint Kefir Smoothie to breakfast, 1 medium apple to P.M. snack and 1 serving Guacamole Chopped Salad to dinner.

Baked Blueberry & Banana-Nut Oatmeal Cups
Credit: Jamie Vespa

Day 2

Breakfast (346 calories)

A.M. Snack (262 calories)

  • 20 dried walnut halves

Lunch (396 calories)

P.M. Snack (62 calories)

  • 1 medium orange

Dinner (415 calories)

Daily Totals: 1,481 calories, 79g protein, 70g fat, 150g carbohydrate, 33g fiber, 1,377mg sodium

To Make it 1,200 Calories: Reduce to 6 walnuts at A.M. snack and omit apple at lunch.

To Make it 2,000 Calories: Add 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter to apple at lunch, 1/4 cup dry-roasted unsalted almonds to P.M. snack and 1-oz. slice whole-wheat baguette to dinner.

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Day 3

Breakfast (346 calories)

A.M. Snack (62 calories)

  • 1 cup blackberries

Lunch (396 calories)

P.M. Snack (206 calories)

  • ¼ cup dry-roasted unsalted almonds

Dinner (514 calories)

Daily Totals: 1,525 calories, 100g protein, 65g fat, 150g carbohydrate, 32g fiber, 1,371mg sodium

To Make it 1,200 Calories: Reduce to 2/3 cup blackberries at A.M. snack, omit apple at lunch and change P.M. snack to 1/2 cup sliced cucumber.

To Make it 2,000 Calories: Add 20 dried walnut halves to A.M. snack and 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter to apple at lunch.

Vegan Lentil Stew
Credit: Fred Hardy

Day 4

Breakfast (324 calories)

  • 1 whole-wheat English Muffin with 1 ½ Tbsp. almond butter
  • 1/2 cup blueberries

A.M. Snack (153 calories)

  • 1 ¼ cups low-fat plain kefir
  • ¼ cup raspberries

Lunch (396 calories)

P.M. Snack (164 calories)

  • ¼ cup dried walnut halves

Dinner (451 calories)

Daily Totals: 1,488 calories, 82g protein, 52g fat, 189g carbohydrate, 34g fiber, 1,515mg sodium

To Make it 1,200 Calories: Omit kefir at A.M. snack and change P.M. snack to 1 clementine.

To Make it 2,000 Calories: Add 1 serving Berry-Mint Kefir Smoothie to breakfast, 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter to apple at lunch and increase to 25 dried walnut halves at P.M. snack.

One-Pot Coconut Milk Curry with Chickpeas

Day 5

Breakfast (346 calories)

A.M. Snack (164 calories)

  • ¼ cup dried walnut halves

Lunch (396 calories)

P.M. Snack (144 calories)

  • 1 cup blackberries
  • ¾ cup low-fat plain kefir

Dinner (436 calories)

Meal-Prep Tip: Reserve 2 servings One-Pot Coconut Milk Curry with Chickpeas and 1 cup cooked brown rice to have for lunch on days 6 & 7.

Daily Totals: 1,487 calories, 83g protein, 60g fat, 167g carbohydrate, 30g fiber, 1,332mg sodium

To Make it 1,200 Calories: Change A.M. snack to 1/2 cup sliced cucumber and change P.M. snack to 1/2 cup blackberries.

To Make it 2,000 Calories: Increase to 1/3 cup dried walnut halves at A.M. snack, add 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter to apple at lunch plus add 1 serving Guacamole Chopped Salad to dinner.

Baked Halibut with Brussels Sprouts & Quinoa

Day 6

Breakfast (324 calories)

  • 1 whole-wheat English Muffin with 1 ½ Tbsp. almond butter
  • 1/2 cup blueberries

A.M. Snack (182 calories)

  • 1 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup raspberries

Lunch (436 calories)

P.M. Snack (164 calories)

  • ¼ cup dried walnut halves

Dinner (406 calories)

Daily Totals: 1,511 calories, 78g protein, 74g fat, 150g carbohydrate, 29g fiber, 1,372mg sodium

To Make it 1,200 Calories: Omit yogurt at A.M. snack and change P.M. snack to 1 clementine.

To Make it 2,000 Calories: Add 1 serving Berry-Mint Kefir Smoothie to breakfast, 1/3 cup dry-roasted unsalted almonds to A.M. snack and 1 medium orange to P.M. snack.

Mediterranean Egg & Tomato Skillet with Pita (Shakshouka)

Day 7

Breakfast (346 calories)

A.M. Snack (206 calories)

  • ¼ cup dry-roasted unsalted almonds

Lunch (436 calories)

P.M. Snack (95 calories)

  • 1 medium apple

Dinner (407 calories)

Daily Totals: 1,491 calories, 62g protein, 71g fat, 161g carbohydrate, 28g fiber, 1,235mg sodium

To Make it 1,200 Calories: Change A.M. snack to 1/4 cup sliced cucumber and change P.M. snack to 1/4 cup blueberries.

To Make it 2,000 Calories: Add 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter to P.M. snack and add 1 avocado, sliced, to dinner.