The Covid-19 pandemic is resulting in many events being cancelled, so why not make new plans to celebrate food at home? It’s currently Mediterranean Diet Month, and there are plenty of flavorful Mediterranean foods that can make eating in seem more exciting. Not only might you discover some tasty new dishes, but you might also gain some health benefits involved with this way of eating as well.
What’s in it for your taste buds
The Mediterranean diet is about enjoying healthful foods as a way of life, rather than complying to a strict, short-term diet. Try focusing on foods from the land, especially plant-based or marine options. Flavoring with herbs and spices is important to create tasty nutritious dishes. Rather than deep-frying the next batch of fish, try pan-frying pickerel crusted with herbs, then drizzling with a buttery lemon-basil sauce.
Vegetables are especially important and can taste great when prepared well. Fresh colorful salads are a convenient way to fill half your plate with vegetables. Try making a Mediterranean-inspired salad bowl, topping with parsley, olives, falafel or chickpeas, and a garlic-dill sauce.
The Mediterranean diet also involves enjoying carbs! Pretend you’re at a fancy restaurant and make a snack platter of fresh whole grain buns and vegetable sticks. Include a ramekin of sundried tomato hummus and another with balsamic vinaigrette (with minced garlic for extra flavor) for dipping options. For more inspiration, explore Mediterranean diet cookbooks and websites, or follow the Marathon Family Health Team’s social media to get the recipes from this article.
Why your body will thank you
The Mediterranean diet is a well-studied way of eating that has been shown to improve health in several ways. The more closely the Mediterranean diet is followed, the greater the decrease in the risk of heart disease. In addition, the healthy fats from this diet, such as olive oil and fish, can improve cholesterol. The nutrients in this diet are also helpful for brain health; decreasing the risk of Alzheimer’s and depression, and reversing symptoms of the latter. The Mediterranean diet can also lead to better blood sugars after meals, helping with diabetes prevention and control. Finally, this way of eating can lead to modest long-term weight loss. Food should be considered one form of medicine when evaluating all the effects of the Mediterranean diet!
One step at a time
The Mediterranean diet can be a fun way of eating that can help with our physical and mental health. Thankfully, our health will benefit even when we make small changes that align with this diet. Try some of the ideas mentioned, remembering that it doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing approach. Small daily improvements lead to long-term results. For more guidance, contact the Marathon Family Health Team to book an appointment with the Registered Dietitian.
Michelle Stevens, Registered Dietitian