Ditch added sugars while reaping the benefits of the Mediterranean diet in this nourishing and satisfying 7-day plan.
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Roasted Salmon & Tomatoes with Garlic & Olives

Though we are big dessert fans here at EatingWell and certainly believe that there's a place for sugar in our diets, the reality is that many of us eat more added sugars than we realize. In the United States, the average adult consumes 17 teaspoons of added sugars per day, which is far more than the American Heart Association's recommended limit of 6 to 9 teaspoons of added sugars per day.

Added sugars can be sneaky and are often found in foods that we don't even think of as being sweetened, like store-bought salad dressings, marinades, flavored yogurts and condiments. Unlike natural sugars found in fruit and unflavored dairy products, added sugars don't add substantial nutrition to our diets and tend to be a source of empty calories. Though it's not necessary to avoid added sugars completely, it is a good idea to consider cutting down by taking a moment to look at nutrition labels and ingredient lists to see where these sugars are making their way into your daily diet.

That's where this no-sugar Mediterranean diet plan comes in. You'll find that you can still eat tasty meals and snacks without any added sugar, which may help you make long-term changes. The principles of the Mediterranean diet can be applied to any cuisine, not just to those traditional in the Mediterranean region. So feel free to swap in any foods or recipes that work best for you. As long as they prioritize fruits and veggies, whole grains, healthy fats and lean protein sources, you're still on track with the health eating principles of the Mediterranean diet.

If you're following this plan for weight loss, we set the base calories at 1,500 per day, which is a level where most people will lose weight. If you have different calorie needs, we included modifications for 1,200 and 2,000 calories per day.

Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is continuously voted the best diet overall, and for good reason. It has a ton of health benefits, is delicious and doesn't have a lot of food "rules" or restrictions, so it's easy to follow. This healthy eating pattern emphasizes healthy fats from olive oil, salmon and nuts, plus it focuses on fruit and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and legumes. The Mediterranean diet limits refined grains, processed foods and added sugars. As a bonus, research shows that people who follow a Mediterranean diet tend to improve their heart health, boost brain health and have an easier time maintaining their weight.

Mediterranean Diet Foods to Eat

  • Healthy fats: Fish, nuts, seeds, olives, olive oil, avocado and natural nut butters without added sugar
  • Vegetables: Dark leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, cucumber and more
  • Fruits: High-fiber varieties, such as berries, pears, apples, peaches and fruit with skin and seeds
  • Whole grains: Oats, quinoa, farro, bulgur, whole wheat, brown rice and more
  • Dairy: Unsweetened yogurt and kefir and cheese
  • Legumes: Beans and lentils (dried or canned)
  • Lean proteins: Chicken, turkey, eggs and seafood
  • Herbs and spices: Both fresh and dried herbs

How to Meal-Prep Your Week of Meals:

  1. Make 3-Ingredient Baked Feta & Cherry Tomato Egg Muffins to have for breakfast on Days 2, 3, 5 and 7.
  2. Prepare Meal-Prep Vegan Lettuce Wraps to have for lunch on Days 2 through 5.
Roasted Salmon & Tomatoes with Garlic & Olives

Day 1

Breakfast (297 calories)

A.M. Snack (206 calories)

  • ¼ cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds

Lunch (472 calories)

P.M. Snack (59 calories)

  • 1 medium peach

Dinner (443 calories)

Daily Totals: 1,476 calories, 91g protein, 59g fat, 158g carbohydrate, 35g fiber, 1,127mg sodium

To make it 1,200 calories: Reduce to 1 Tbsp. chopped walnuts at breakfast and change the A.M. snack to 1 plum.

To make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 small apple to lunch, add 1 cup edamame in pods to P.M. snack, and add 1 serving Guacamole Chopped Salad to dinner.

Creamy Garlic Skillet Chicken with Spinach
Credit: Marty Baldwin

Day 2

Breakfast (250 calories)

A.M. Snack (141 calories)

  • 1 cup low-fat plain kefir
  • ½ cup blackberries

Lunch (425 calories)

P.M. Snack (238 calories)

  • 15 dried walnut halves
  • ½ cup blueberries

Dinner (445 calories)

Daily Totals: 1,500 calories, 75g protein, 72g fat, 144g carbohydrate, 31g fiber, 1,245mg sodium

To make it 1,200 calories: Omit kefir at A.M. snack and omit walnuts at P.M. snack.

To make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 serving Peanut Butter & Chia Berry Jam English Muffin to breakfast and add 30 unsalted dry-roasted almonds to A.M. snack.

3-Ingredient Baked Feta & Cherry Tomato Egg Muffins
Credit: Carolyn Hodges, M.S., RDN

Day 3

Breakfast (250 calories)

A.M. Snack (182 calories)

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

Lunch (425 calories)

P.M. Snack (59 calories)

  • 1 medium peach

Dinner (588 calories)

Daily Totals: 1,503 calories, 71g protein, 65g fat, 169g carbohydrate, 38g fiber, 1,538mg sodium

To make it 1,200 calories: Omit apple at breakfast and yogurt at A.M. snack, and change P.M. snack to 1 plum.

To make it 2,000 calories: Add 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter to breakfast, add 1 medium orange to lunch and add 1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds to P.M. snack.

Chicken and Vegetable Penne with Parsley-Walnut Pesto

Day 4

Breakfast (297 calories)

A.M. Snack (75 calories)

  • ½ cup low-fat plain kefir
  • ⅓ cup blackberries

Lunch (425 calories)

P.M. Snack (206 calories)

  • ¼ cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds

Dinner (514 calories)

Daily Totals: 1,518 calories, 85g protein, 81g fat, 128g carbohydrate, 31g fiber, 1,077mg sodium

To make it 1,200 calories: Omit walnuts at breakfast and change P.M. snack to 1 plum.

To make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 serving Peanut Butter & Chia Berry Jam English Muffin to breakfast, add 1 medium apple to lunch and add 1 serving Basic Green Salad with Vinaigrette to dinner.

Stuffed Eggplant with Couscous & Almonds

Day 5

Breakfast (250 calories)

A.M. Snack (182 calories)

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

Lunch (425 calories)

P.M. Snack (200 calories)

  • 1 cup edamame, in pods

Dinner (457 calories)

Daily Totals: 1,514 calories, 74g protein, 74g fat, 145g carbohydrate, 40g fiber, 1,429mg sodium

To make it 1,200 calories: Omit yogurt at A.M. snack and change P.M. snack to 1 plum.

To make it 2,000 calories: Add 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter to breakfast, add 1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds to A.M. snack, and add 1 medium peach to P.M. snack.

Shrimp & Pepper Kebabs with Grilled Red Onion Slaw

Day 6

Breakfast (297 calories)

A.M. Snack (268 calories)

  • 1 cup blackberries
  • ¼ cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds

Lunch (335 calories)

P.M. Snack (174 calories)

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

Dinner (442 calories)

Daily Totals: 1,516 calories, 98g protein, 73g fat, 133g carbohydrate, 38g fiber, 1,051mg sodium

To make it 1,200 calories: Omit almonds at A.M. snack and omit kefir at P.M. snack.

To make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 serving Peanut Butter & Chia Berry Jam English Muffin to breakfast, add 12 dried walnut halves to P.M. snack, and add a 1-oz. slice whole-wheat baguette to dinner.

Quinoa Avocado Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

Day 7

Breakfast (250 calories)

A.M. Snack (282 calories)

  • 1 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • ⅓ cup raspberries
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped walnuts

Lunch (335 calories)

P.M. Snack (200 calories)

  • 1 cup edamame, in pods

Dinner (431 calories)

Daily Totals: 1,498 calories, 82g protein, 67g fat, 152g carbohydrate, 42g fiber, 1,335mg sodium

To make it 1,200 calories: Omit walnuts at A.M. snack and change P.M. snack to 1/4 cup blueberries.

To make it 2,000 calories: Add 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter to breakfast, add 1 serving Everything Bagel Avocado Toast to lunch, add 1 medium peach to P.M. snack, and add a 1-oz. slice whole-wheat baguette to dinner.