Are you trying to find new ways to eat more fruits and vegetables but always end up using the same recipes? Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables a day can reduce the risk of some chronic diseases such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes and even cancer. Do you find it hard to make half your plate fruits and vegetables at each meal every day? Good news! The Israeli cuisine is full of delicious recipes that mix fruits and vegetables with grains and proteins, making it easy to meet MyPlate guidelines. Continue reading
Every five years, the U.S. government updates the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These guidelines represent the latest research on what a healthy diet should include to meet our nutritional needs. The recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines form the basis for MyPlate, the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, WIC food packages, and other nutrition programs across the country. The newest edition of the Dietary Guidelines was released earlier this month. Much of their recommendations were similar to the previous version with a few key differences. Continue reading
In the 1960’s, researchers found that people living in Crete, Greece and southern Italy had surprisingly low rates of chronic disease. People in these countries were living longer, even without good access to healthcare. In fact, these countries had one of the lowest rates of chronic disease in the world at that time. The researchers found their traditional diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, heart-healthy fats, whole grains, lean protein, and little processed foods, as well as their lifestyle physical activity, supported this healthy way of life.1 Continue reading
The evidence keeps building about the Mediterranean Diet and its health benefits. The Mediterranean Diet has been linked with reduced risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease and stroke, cancer, and dementia. The newest study about the Mediterranean Diet shows that it can help keep our cells healthy and protect us against early death. It’s safe to say, the Mediterranean Diet ranks as one of the best ways to Eat Smart.
What Does the Mediterranean Diet Include?
You can read more about it here, but the basics of the Mediterranean Diet include:
- Emphasis on vegetables, which are eaten at every meal
- Smaller portions of lean meat (especially chicken and eggs) and less red meat
- Some diary, like yogurt and small portions of cheese
- Seafood eaten at least twice a week
- Weekly meatless meals that feature beans, whole grains and veggies
- Heart-healthy fats, especially olive oil, but also nuts and seeds, olives, and avocados
- Whole grains, like farro, bulgur, and rice, as well as whole-wheat pasta and bread
- Fruit as dessert and sweets only on special occasion
- Drink lots of water
- Optional A glass of wine with dinner
How Does the Mediterranean Diet Compare to MyPlate?
You should have recognized many of the Mediterranean Diet basics from what you already know about MyPlate. There’s an emphasis on whole grains, vegetables, seafood, fruit, and healthy fats. They both recommend lean protein choices and more plant-based protein options.
Make Your Plate More Mediterranean
- Choose whole grain versions of the bread, pasta, and rice you usually cook.
- Try a meatless meal this week, like these Italian Bean Patties.
- Eat more seafood (visit the link for recipes ideas!).
- Serve vegetables at every meal. Bonus points if you can add them to breakfast!
- Switch to olive or canola oil for cooking.
- Satisfy your sweet tooth with fruit instead of sugary treats.
- Switch to water to quench your thirst.
Do you have any other suggestions to help eat more like the Mediterranean diet? Share in the comments. Recipe ideas are always appreciated!