What is a Low Carb Mediterranean Diet?
When most people think of the Mediterranean Diet they don’t think low carbohydrates. After all, a diet high in fruit and vegetables, yogurt, beans, nuts, bread, rice and pasta doesn’t exactly scream keto or even paleo. A truly authentic Mediterranean diet is higher in carbohydrates and fat and lower in protein. So why would someone want to take the healthiest diet in the world (Mediterranean) and turn it into a low carb diet?
Benefits of a Lower Carb, High Fat Mediterranean Diet.
It wasn’t so long ago that the common wisdom was to eat a high carb, low fat diet and that protein was barely even mentioned. All fat was bad and most carbohydrate foods were good (even some of the processed ones). Most of this so called wisdom was severely misguided and is one of the main reasons our obesity epidemic. Now, more and more studies are showing the benefits of eating higher fat, especially in the form of extra virgin olive oil. Even more recently, low carb, high fat diets have been shown to be beneficial for weight loss, heart disease, type 2 diabetes as well as reduction of blood pressure and triglycerides. For most people, switching to a regular Mediterranean Diet will help with all of these issues, but for some it may be recommended to also decrease the amount of carbohydrates eaten. Let’s look at what a modified low carb Mediterranean Diet would look like.
What does a low carb Mediterranean Diet look like?
A low carb Mediterranean Diet looks like lots of vegetables, no processed foods, less fruit (except for berries) and less grains. It also means less beans and more fish, chicken, meat and eggs. I wouldn’t recommend eating this way for long periods of time. If you are doing it for weight loss then just do it until you have lost the weight. You should be able to easily maintain your weight on the authentic Mediterranean Diet.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a typical low carb diet would include 20 to 60 grams of carbohydrates per day. This super low amount of carbohydrates is hard to maintain over time so I would stick to around 100 grams of carbohydrates per day.
What you will be reducing or cutting out to be on a low carb Mediterranean Diet:
Most sweeteners especially sugar and brown sugar.
Most grains especially anything ultra processed.
Many bean dishes. This is unfortunate as beans are a large part of the Mediterranean Diet. As I said before, this is only temporary and beans can still be eaten, but you want to pay attention to how many carbs are in the beans you are eating.
Most starchy vegetables such as potatoes, carrots and sweet potatoes. Personally, I find these to all be helpful for weight loss even if they are higher in carbs, but if you want to be super strict then they should be at least reduced.
Sweeter fruits (Bananas, oranges, pineapple, kiwi, apples)
What you will be eating on a low carb MediterraneanDiet:
Green leafy vegetables, cauliflower, zucchini, kale, tomatoes, eggplant and avocado.
More meat, chicken, fish and eggs.
Berries (blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries)
Wine and spirits (without added sugar or sweeteners)
Small servings of nuts
21 Low Carb Mediterranean Diet Recipes
Here are 21 of our best low carb Mediterranean Diet recipes. These are all mostly main dishes with under 20 grams of carbohydrates in a serving.
Spinach and Mushroom Omelette
10.9 grams carbohydrates, 317 calories
Chicken Leek Soup with White Wine
11.2 grams carbohydrates, 418 calories per serving
Pan-fried Scallops with Hand Chopped Pesto
8 grams carbohydrates, 525 calories per serving
Beef with Spinach in the Skillet
10.4 grams carbohydrates, 532 calories per serving
Mediterranean Baked Cod
11.9 grams carbohydrates, 297 calories per serving
Instant Pot Chicken with Lemony Mustard Greens and Olives
8.6 grams carbohydrates, 457 calories per serving
Spinach and Ricotta Frittata
9.1 grams carbohydrates, 277 calories
Beef Stew with Eggplant and Zucchini
14 grams carbohydrates, 304 calories
Sheet Pan Chicken Thighs with Peppers and Onions
20 grams carbohydrates, 513 calories
10 grams carbohydrates, 281 calories
Grilled Chicken Salad with Creamy Yogurt Dressing
15 grams carbohydrates, 384 calories
Zucchini Noodles Baked in Olive Oil (Low Carb Pasta)
0.7 grams carbohydrates, 124 calories
Salmon with Yogurt, Spinach, Lemon and Capers
14 grams carbohydrates, 496 calories
Shrimp with Feta and Tomatoes
11 grams carbohydrates, 404 calories
Waldorf Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette
15 grams carbohydrates, 218 calories
Sheet Pan Salmon with Asparagus, Lemon and Dill
8 grams carbohydrates, 387 calories
Baba Ganoush (Eggplant dip)
13 grams carbohydrates, 190 calories
Greek Meatballs with Tomato Sauce
15 grams carbohydrates, 466 calories
Greek Lamb, Tomatoes and Onion Skewers
11 grams carbohydrates, 410 calories
Chicken Souvlaki (with bread)
17 grams carbohydrates, 470 calories
14th Century Egyptian Hummus
13 grams carbohydrates, 289 calories