No need to live in the Mediterranean region to incorporate this eating pattern.
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For each of the last six years, the Mediterranean diet has won the "Best Diet Overall" in the U.S. News & World Report's best diets list, and for good reasons. Research has shown that following the Mediterranean diet can help you lower LDL cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, and more. This diet is based on traditional cuisines in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. Its principles focus on eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, dairy products and healthy fats like olive oil and nuts. However, you don't need to live in that region nor eat their traditional foods to reap the benefits of the Mediterranean diet. With this week's delicious dinners, you'll follow the principles of the Mediterranean diet in three steps or less. 

Your Meal Plan

a recipe photo of the Bok Choy Soup with Shrimp and Noodles
Credit: Photographer: Jennifer Causey, Food stylist: Ali Ramee, Prop stylist: Claire Spollen

Sunday's Roasted Chicken Thighs, Potatoes & Scallions with Herb Vinaigrette starts off the week in a pretty easy way. Sheet-pan dinners are one of my favorite types of recipes; they don't require too much prep time and they make your cleanup much easier. While most people choose chicken breast over other chicken parts, thinking it's healthier, dark-meat parts like chicken thighs are a great addition to your healthy diet; they are rich in selenium and vitamin B3. The chicken thighs' fat boosts the flavor of this dish, and herbs like dill and parsley add freshness. 

Next up is Monday's Cabbage & White Bean Soup. This recipe is brand-new to our site, made in two simple steps and within 25 minutes from start to finish. While I don't follow a vegetarian diet, I like to incorporate plant-based protein sources like legumes into my diet and make Mondays meatless when possible. Legumes like beans and lentils are not only rich in protein, but they're also packed with good-for-you fiber. To speed up the cooking process, this meal calls for canned white beans instead of cooking them yourself. 

Thursday's Bok Choy Soup with Shrimp & Noodles proves that you don't need to eat traditional dishes from the Mediterranean region to incorporate the Mediterranean diet. This dish is packed with veggies like onion, bok choy, carrots and mushrooms, lean protein from the shrimp, and herbs and spices like cinnamon, star anise, ginger and mint. Though the recipe calls for rice noodles, I'll serve it with brown-rice ones to boost the fiber and make it a more satisfying dish.   

Something to Sip On

Spinach, Peanut Butter & Banana Smoothie
Credit: Ali Redmond

Scrambled eggs with veggies and almond-butter toast are my go-to breakfast. But on busy mornings, I rely on high-protein smoothies like our Spinach, Peanut Butter & Banana Smoothie, which I can whip up in 5 minutes. With more than 16 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber, this smoothie helps me feel satisfied and keeps me energized throughout the morning.

What's Inspiring Me This Week

a father and daughter walking together outside
Credit: Getty Images

Spending most of my day sitting at my desk could increase the risk of some health issues, like back problems, headaches and high blood pressure. But honestly, I'm sometimes too caught up in work and forget to stand up and stretch my legs. Anyhow, recently published research has motivated me to take walking breaks during my day to offset those negative consequences. According to a study from the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, taking 5-minute walks every 30 minutes not only counterbalances the side effects of a sedentary lifestyle but also positively impacts your mental health. No gym or tennis shoes are required; just set your alarm for every 30 minutes and walk around your home. 

I wish you all a great week, and if you have any questions or requests for future newsletters, please let me know by emailing ThePrep@eatingwell.com! Don't forget to add a recipe review if you try one.