How to Start the Mediterranean Diet — Meal by Meal

The easiest way to start a Mediterranean eating style is to replace one meal a day with a plant- or grain-based choice, experts say. Say. We’ve made it easy for you by asking CNN contributor Rahf Al Bochi, a registered dietitian nutritionist and founder of Olive Tree Nutrition, to make these. Mediterranean inspired Recipes for each meal of the day with breakfast and dessert.

We’ve also added a recipe that’s sure to entice your kids with healthy Mediterranean ways, a brunch suggestion, and tips on how to prepare and cook and freeze in advance. Enjoy!

Breakfast is an easy way to start a Mediterranean eating style. You can enjoy the warm and filling ancient cereal with yogurt, fruit and honey. Alternatively, reduce and just go with Greek yogurt, which has twice the protein and half the sugar for the same number of calories as regular yogurt, topped with a sprinkling of fresh fruit, berries and nuts.

To take your yogurt breakfast to another level, try this version. It is a unique combination of Greek Yogurt whipped with Cardamom, Vanilla, Medjool Dates and Pistachios.

Recipe: Whipped Greek Yogurt with Cardamom, Dates and Pistachios

Lunch

Lunch is another great meal to replace with a Mediterranean option. For example, eating a grain- or legume-based salad can help raise blood sugar slowly, giving your brain the energy it needs throughout the day. It also reduces overeating at night.

This gorgeous farro salad is packed full of vegetables, sprinkled with Greek feta and drizzled with vinaigrette.

Get the recipe: Warm Farro Grain Salad with Pomegranate

Breakfast

Studies have shown that few of us eat enough nuts, which are a great source of heart-healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Rich in protein, nuts are a super choice for a snack, as long as you watch your portions—they can be calorie-dense. This almond snack Zaatar offers a Mediterranean spice blend.

Za’atar varies by culture, but it is typically a combo of roasted sesame seeds, dried oregano, and thyme or marjoram with the pungent, tangy Mediterranean spice sumac.

Get the recipe: Za’atar and Rosemary Spiced Roasted Almonds

Dinner

The use of red and processed meat is rare in traditional Mediterranean diet, but fish and other seafood (which are good for your brain) are consumed at least twice a week. For your eating pleasure, try This recipe for Salmon with Roasted Grapefruit Salsa, a colorful blend of roasted red grapes, cayenne pepper, green pepper, red onion, lemon juice and cilantro.
Get the recipe: Salmon with Roasted Grapefruit Salsa

Sweet

You might think you’ll enjoy Mediterranean delights like baklava, tiramisu, cannoli, gelato, flan, and crme brlée, but they’re sometimes saved. Many countries around the Mediterranean Sea have special treats.

Instead, think fresh fruit, whole, sliced ​​or grilled, or a healthy combo of whole-grain granola with ricotta and freshly grated orange peel.

Recipe: Strawberry Ricotta Granola Parfaits

Brunch

In the Mediterranean, a giant platter of meze is typically served as an appetizer, but you can reuse this visually striking spread as a festive brunch. collect small Bowls of Hummus and Baba Ghanoush – or Roasted Eggplant Dip – Along with fresh figs and dried dates, raw vegetables, yogurt dip, cheese and hot pieces of grated cheese.

17 kitchens really worth it, according to experts (CNN Underscore)

Roasted or stuffed vegetables with casserole are another brunch option. Originating in North Africa, adopted by Middle Eastern countries such as Israel and Palestine is a breakfast staple that can feed a crowd. This one-skillet dish usually consists of a mixture of tomatoes, red pepper, onion, garlic and spices, with eggs poached over it.

It can be made with a variety of vegetables, and Al Bochi’s green version takes a spin on a regional favorite by using spinach with fresh basil.

Recipe: Green Shakshuka with Basil and Roasted Pine Nuts

Make ahead and freeze

If cooking on the weekends and chilling for weeks to come is your thing—or you just want ideas for how to get started—you’re in luck. Many Mediterranean foods can be prepared or frozen without any problems. Whole grains can be made in bulk in the slow cooker and frozen into individual servings for breakfast or added to soups and salads made later.

This make-ahead, freezeable breakfast—loaded with vegetables and a little feta—is a breeze to prepare in advance for a busy morning or afternoon protein snack.

Recipe: Vegetable Frittata Egg Muffins

kid friendly food

Worried that little ones won’t embrace the Mediterranean eating style? No worries – try these fun and healthy pita pizzas. Slice black olives into round eyes and twist strips of roasted red pepper into a smile – spinach has great hair!

Recipe: Mediterranean Pita Bread Pizza

P.S. Adults will also love the delicious creations.

Cook it! Take a snapshot of your creation, then share it with #platitpostit. You may be featured in an upcoming story!

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