The Mediterranean diet has been highly regarded for decades, it has countless health benefits and is considered one of the healthiest diets in the world. Indeed, we Brits often flirt with it in the months after holidaying in the sun, but lapse into bad habits and revert to takeways and stodgy, fatty processed foods.
It’s said that the Mediterranean diet is like sunshine on a plate. It’s flavours are joyful, warming and super healthy. Here are some of the reasons why you should make a concerted effort to change your eating habits and give your health a boost:
Heart health: The Mediterranean diet is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. It promotes the consumption of heart-healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and olive oil, which are rich in antioxidants, fibre, and monounsaturated fats.
Weight management: By centring your eating on nutrient-rich, whole foods and limiting portion size, you can conquer weight management and weight loss without even trying.
Reduced risk of chronic diseases: Studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet may help reduce the risk of various chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Healthy fats: The diet includes healthy fats from sources like olive oil, nuts, and avocados, which can help improve cholesterol levels and protect against heart disease.
Rich in antioxidants: The diet is abundant in fruits, vegetables, and herbs, providing a wide range of antioxidants that help protect the body from oxidative stress and inflammation.
Omega-3 fatty acids: The consumption of fatty fish (eg salmon, sardines) in the Mediterranean diet provides essential omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart and brain health.
High-fibre diet: Whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables in the diet are excellent sources of fibre, promoting digestive health and aiding in weight management.
Moderate wine consumption: In some variations of the Mediterranean diet, moderate consumption of wine is allowed, which has been linked to certain health benefits, particularly for heart health.
Sustainability: The Mediterranean diet is based on traditional eating patterns of Mediterranean countries, which often rely on locally sourced and seasonal foods, promoting a more sustainable approach to eating.
Easy to Adopt: The Mediterranean diet is flexible and diverse, making it easier for people to adopt and adhere to in the long term.
It’s important to note that the Mediterranean diet is not just about individual foods but also about an overall pattern of eating that includes a balanced and varied intake of nutritious foods. As with any diet, consult your doctor before making significant dietary changes.
Mediterranean grilled chicken salad
This culinary delight knits together the characteristic fragrances and flavours of the Mediterranean diet, combining succulent chicken breasts marinated in aromatic herbs and olive oil.
Tenderly grilled in olive oil, the chicken is infused with a smokey goodness that tantalises the senses and transports you to sun-kissed shores and memories of alfresco dining late into the evening. With every juicy and tender bite, you’ll experience the distinctive piquant herbs and spices that make the Mediterranean diet such a rich and rewarding culinary experience.
Fire up the grill and savour the delights of this absolute cracker!
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 cups mixed salad greens (spinach, rocket, or lettuce)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 capsicum peppers
- 1 large courgette
- 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat.
In a bowl, mix olive oil, dried oregano, dried basil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Coat the chicken breasts with the mixture.
Grill the chicken breasts for about 4-5 minutes per side or until fully cooked.
Let the chicken rest for a few minutes, then slice it into strips.
In a large bowl, combine the salad greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, Kalamata olives and feta cheese.
Drizzle the lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil over the salad, and toss to combine.
Top the salad with the grilled chicken strips and serve.
Mediterranean roasted vegetables
What could be easier than roasted vegetables? There is nothing complicated about this dish and it is brilliant in its simplicity. The only thing you need is time.
To get the most from roasted vegetables done in this way, you need is patience enough to allow all the natural moisture to reduce so the flavours to intensify. If you can tolerate a little charring all the better because it adds a smoky essence to the dish.
- 2 courgettes, sliced
- 1 aubergine, diced
- 2 capsicum pepper, cut into chunks
- 1 red onion, cut into wedges
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Fresh parsley for garnish
Preheat the oven to 220°c (425°f).
In a large mixing bowl, toss the sliced courgettes, diced eggplant, bell peppers, and red onion with olive oil, minced garlic, dried thyme, dried oregano, salt, and pepper.
Spread the vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Roast the vegetables in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until they are tender and slightly caramelised, stirring halfway through.
Remove the vegetables from the oven and drizzle them with balsamic vinegar.
Garnish with fresh parsley and serve as a side dish or over couscous or quinoa for a complete meal.
Greek yoghurt parfait
This luscious dessert combines the creamy goodness of Greek yogurt with layers of succulent fresh berries and crunchy granola. The contrasting textures and flavours create a harmonious blend that will tantalise your taste buds while nourishing your body. Whether served as a dessert or a wholesome breakfast option, this parfait is not only visually appealing but also a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals and probiotics.
Add it to your list of healthy go-to dishes and embark on a journey of making your dining experience both healthy and satisfying.
- 1 cup Greek yoghurt
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup mixed fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
- 1/4 cup granola
- 1 tablespoon chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, or pistachios)
- Fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)
In a bowl, mix Greek yoghurt, honey, and vanilla extract until well combined.
In serving glasses or bowls, layer the yoghurt mixture, fresh berries, and granola, repeating the layers as desired.
Sprinkle chopped nuts over the top of each parfait.
Garnish with fresh mint leaves, if using.
Serve immediately as a delicious and healthy Mediterranean dessert or breakfast option.
Check out our Nutrition channel for more healthy eating tips for over 50s.Tags: Mediterranean diet Last modified: July 26, 2023