Looking for ways to make your lifestyle healthier? Start by changing your diet plan. The Mediterranean diet is the #1 Best Overall diet of the year for three consecutive years according to the annual ranking by the U.S News & World Report. It also tops the chart in categories like Easiest Diets to Follow, Best Diets for Diabetes. Go ahead, and adopt a Mediterranean-inspired meal plan because not only it is one of the easiest diet plans, with this you will not have to miss out on the taste. Let’s make eating healthy and fun!
In this article, we will discuss the health benefits of consuming Mediterranean foods as well as provide a list of some of the favorite Mediterranean diet snacks you can try out.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
From a list of forty diet plans from all over the world the U.S. News & World Report has selected the Mediterranean diet as the best overall diet. It’s less of a diet (as it does not require adherence to strict diet regimen and prohibition) more of a lifestyle. It’s not a shortcut to losing weight, but more of a regular process with long-term benefits.
Recent surveys show that people living in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea have generally improved health conditions. Consuming the Mediterranean reduces the risk of getting diabetes, heart diseases. It improves your brain function and makes you feel more active and responsive throughout the day.
So what changes do you need to make your meal plan a Mediterranean one? It is quite simple. Unlike restrictive diets like keto, the Mediterranean diet is inclusive as it does not prohibit any food group. These are the basic guidelines you should follow:
- Your ‘core foods’ should consist more of fruits, green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, beans, whole grains.
- A substantial amount of healthy fats like olive oil, dairy products like cheese, low-fat yogurt, poultry, and eggs should be consumed regularly.
- Seafood and fishes should be consumed twice a week.
- Consume red meat in moderation. Avoid food with added sugar like confectionery, chocolates.
- You can also consume red wine in moderation every day.
Advantages of the Mediterranean diet
- Because the recipes are simple and most items can be prepared easily, a Mediterranean diet plan can be very conveniently adopted.
Due to the inclusion of fruits and vegetables, you get the required amount of fiber.
- Your body gets plenty of healthy fats, essential vitamins. Your diet becomes balanced.
- Most of the items are very common and easily available in restaurants everywhere. So you can travel without having to worry about compromising your way of living.
Popular Mediterranean Diet Snacks
What should be the choice of snacks when you are following the Mediterranean Diet plan?
You can follow the guidelines. Combine the items to get balanced and healthy snack ideas. Add fruits and berries if you prefer sweet. Cheese and yogurt are good choices for savory snacks.
But to make it a bit easier for you, here is a list of popular and easy-to-make Mediterranean diet snacks.
Nuts and dry fruits
Nuts are a good source of essential nutrients like protein, fiber, antioxidants, unsaturated fat. A handful of nuts such as cashews can ease your in-between-meal hunger and is a very good choice of snack. To make it more palatable add some slices of dates or raisins to it.
Fruits and vegetables
Two of the oldest (popular even today) snacks ideas fruits and vegetables. They are a good source of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. In terms of taste, fruits can be a good choice as snacks. Fresh fruits always have more benefits for health.
Bananas are good choices. Citrus fruits are important sources of vitamin c. Tomatoes and avocados make for good savory snacks. A combination of tomatoes and sliced cucumber is an interesting idea for snacks. Avocado with a dash of za’atar, a popular Mediterranean spice made from thyme and sesame seeds, and a bit of extra virgin olive oil, is another option you can consider.
Baked zucchini chips are also a healthy and crispy snack alternative extremely popular among people of all ages. You can bake these delicious chips beforehand and carry them with you to work, or colleges.
Legumes and Pulses
Legumes and pulses are naturally a good source of plant-based proteins. They also have a good amount of fiber and are low-fat. A handful of these as snacks and you can go a long way without feeling hungry.
In the Mediterranean-inspired meal plan, legumes and pulses are an essential part of your normal meals. But you can also include them as your snacks because they are a good solution to in-between-meal hunger as well.
You can prepare some hummus with chickpeas, garlic, tahini sauce, and citrus which you can use as a dip with your choice of vegetables. You can also have whole grain bread with the hummus dip.
Leftover from last day’s chickpea salad can also be consumed as a snack in between meals to ease off those bouts of afternoon hunger.
You can also try roasting chickpeas. Have these delicious crunchy chickpeas, spice them up with the right amount of za’atar to take care of your hunger as well as your taste buds.
Greek yogurt has low sugar content. They are, however, a good source of vitamin b-12 and calcium. They contain probiotics and live culture which maintains the gut flora balance and improves digestion. The vitamin helps to boost your immunity against diseases. Due to its rich protein content, yogurt will keep you full for a longer period.
You can also add fruits and berries like strawberries, blackberries, or raspberries with your yogurt to get an interesting combination of savory and sweet flavors. Avoid yogurt that uses thickeners. Try to consume yogurt which is organic and has been strained properly.
Early Harvest Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Za’atar snacks
Although outside conventional recipes, this will not disregard the Mediterranean diet plan. For the preparation of this snack, you will need some extra virgin olive oil, some za’atar, which is a preparation made from wild thyme and sesame seeds, and some whole grain bread or pita.
All you need to do this curve out small pieces from your whole grain crusty bread. Dip the pieces in the extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). Dip it in some za’atar spices and voila! You have a tasty snack for the evening.
So these are some of the Mediterranean diet snacks. The good thing about these snacks is that they taste good and at the same time are healthy so that you are saved from your guilt pangs while consuming snacks in between your meals. Go ahead, try these out, and do not forget to share them with your loved ones.