Mediterranean Diet Recipes for Weight Loss

By Bill Bradley, R.D.
Updated September 1, 2022

I have lost 50 pounds eating the Mediterranean Diet. So, I want to share with you some of my favorite Mediterranean Diet recipes for weight loss and also tell you a bit of my story and what I have learned about losing weight.

Mediterranean Diet Recipes for Weight Loss (1500 × 1000 px)

Before I started eating Mediterranean, I was a very unhealthy, stressed-out, and obese dietitian who was not following his own advice on healthy living. After my mom passed away in 2010, I started stuffing my grief down with lots of food.  Sometimes, it was healthy, but often it wasn’t and it was always too much of everything. 

I would lead a healthy cooking workshop and then eat at McDonald’s on the way home. I started a website called Confessions of an Overweight Dietitian. The contradictions of my life were making me very unhappy and my physical and mental health was taking a toll.  

I had horrible reflux and could barely make it up a flight of stairs. As I became more overweight I found it more difficult to lead healthy eating workshops without thinking that everyone was questioning my own habits.

In 2012, I got married to my partner, Christine. It is a little shocking to look at photos of myself to see how bloated I looked. I weighed around 260 pounds when we were married. Since then, I have lost 50 pounds and have not gained any of the weight back. 

before and after

I kept the weight off even over the last two years when we moved into the country, had a baby and were pretty much stranded for a year during the pandemic. I feel like I have really learned the secrets of losing weight and keeping it off for the long term. Before I share with you some of my Mediterranean Diet recipes for weight loss, I would like to also give you a few of my tips on losing weight and maintaining weight loss over time.

Bill’s tips on losing and maintaining weight by following the Mediterranean Diet

1. Change your habits.

I had to change a number of habits in order to lose 50 pounds. The first is that I had to train myself to be comfortable feeling slightly hungry.  

I also had a habit of eating chips and goodies during my afternoon “grogginess”. Instead of processed sweets, I started eating an apple as my craving destroyer. It has worked wonders!  

There is nothing more important in any weight loss journey than changing your habits. 

One of the reasons so many “diets” fail is that they don’t change your habits for the long term. You might eat a certain way that is not sustainable and then you go off of it and return to your old habits.  

Switch your negative habits to positive habits and you will lose weight easily.

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2. Eat food that will make you feel good and that you will want to keep eating forever.

When I am just trying to maintain my weight, I eat a traditional Mediterranean Diet that includes lots of olive oil, fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grains and meat, chicken and fish.  

When I am trying to lose weight, I eat a slightly modified Mediterranean Diet with slightly less fat (but still lots of fat) and less processed grains such as bread, rice and pasta. I still eat all of that, just less of it.  

The food is so good that I am not worried about going off the diet.  Even if I go on vacation and take a week off I know that I will always go back to this way of eating.

3. Move everyday.

You don’t have to go crazy with exercise to lose weight.  I go for an hour’s walk in the morning and that is pretty much it. 

info-20@2x 

New studies are showing that weight-bearing exercises can also be beneficial to weight loss plus it is toning to the body which will make look better anyways.

4. Improve your gut health.  

A healthy gut microbiome is crucial to maintaining and losing weight.

If your gut isn’t healthy, then you aren’t digesting food properly. If you aren’t digesting properly, then you are using up less calories digesting plus you aren’t getting the nutrients you need which can cause cravings.  

Improve your gut health with probiotics, probiotics and fermented food.

5. Deal with any issues that make you want to overeat or eat poorly.  

The reason I gained 50 pounds was because I wasn’t able to deal with the emotions around my mom’s passing. If I had been able to process these feelings I would have never gained any weight.  

In order to maintain and lose weight, you must be able to deal with stress and difficulties that will come up in your life. 

The good news is that there are many ways to work on your emotions from traditional therapy to breath work and even exercising.

6. Keep unhealthy food out of the house.  

My wife eats the Mediterranean Diet just like me, though she likes to have a chocolate chip cookie or some chips sometimes.  

When I have been in the process of losing weight I have told her that I would prefer not to have any “junk” food in the house. She is fine with this and it really helps me.  

If there are some freshly baked cookies in the house, I am going to eat them. If they aren’t in the house I won’t be eating them. It is as simple as that!

7. Eat more fat.  

Eating fat is one of my favorite parts of the Mediterranean Diet.  

Eating a lot of fat, mostly in the form of extra virgin olive oil, has been so helpful for my weight loss journey. It fills me up, takes away cravings and it is just so good!  

Mediterranean Diet Food List - Extra Virgin Olive Oil

There is even some new evidence showing that a high-fat diet will actually increase your metabolism. 

As long as the fat is extra virgin olive oil, it is also good for your heart and can be a potent anti-inflammatory.

8. Have a morning routine and a daily routine.

I always thought that a morning routine was important for my weight loss journey, but then I realized that an all-day routine was even more important.  

Why? If you are doing things all day to take care of your health, then you are much less likely to “fall off the wagon.” 

 If you spend your whole day treating yourself well, why would you treat yourself like crap?

9. Be curious.

Being curious has been so helpful to me in my weight loss journey. 

I am curious about my own body and have noticed how I can lose weight and maintain it successfully. Also, I am curious and excited about trying different recipes and love eating them. There are so many new ways I can take care of myself.

Mediterranean Diet Recipes for Weight Loss

A few years ago, I started working on the Mediterranean Diet Weight Loss Program. I wanted to incorporate everything I had learned from my own experience to help others.  

Thousands of people have gone through the program and I love to hear stories not only of people’s success with losing weight but also of other changes they have experienced because of eating the Mediterranean Diet.  

Many have shared that they have drastically decreased their cholesterol or that they have gotten off medications they thought they would have to take forever.  

Below, I am going to share some of the recipes from the program (there are over 100!) plus some newer weight loss recipes we are working on.

Baked Cod with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Olives

Baked Cod with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Olives

In its most distilled form, besides the fish, the ingredients include olives, sun-dried tomato, pepperoncini, basil, feta and of course, good olive oil. This recipe is healthy, flavorful, and perfect for a quick weeknight dinner.

Try our Baked Cod recipe here!

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Authentic Greek Salad (Horiatiki Salata)

Mediterranean Diet: Authentic Greek Salad (Horiatiki)

The authentic greek salad is the salad to end all salads. The flavor combination is so spot on, and it’s incredibly easy to make. If you want a truly authentic experience, make sure to use Greek feta, Kalamata olives, and red wine vinegar.

Try our Greek Salad recipe here!

Shrimp with Feta and Tomatoes

Shrimp with Feta and Tomatoes

This is another quick and easy Mediterranean Diet recipe that is packed with flavor. The shrimp is cooked in a garlic and tomato sauce, then topped with crumbled feta and more fresh tomatoes. Serve it over some rice or pasta for a complete meal.

Try our Shrimp with Feta recipe here!

Spinach and Goat Cheese Quiche

Spinach and Goat Cheese Quiche (France)

This quiche is light and fluffy, with just the right amount of goat cheese. Serve with a salad or a slice of bread! It’s perfect for brunch, or a light dinner.

Try our Quiche recipe here!

Tuna Patties Fried in Olive Oil (France)

Tuna Patties Fried in Olive Oil (France)

These tuna patties are a classic French recipe, and they’re fried in olive oil to keep them healthy. Serve them with a salad or some roasted vegetables for a complete meal.

Try our Tuna Patties recipe here!

Sheet Pan Chicken with Peppers and Onions

Sheet Pan Chicken Thighs with Peppers and Onions

This is an easy, one-pan meal that is full of flavor. The chicken thighs and vegetables are roasted in garlic and herb-infused olive oil, and the result is tender and juicy chicken with perfectly cooked veggies.

Try our Sheet Pan Chicken recipe here!

Lebanese Hummus

Mediterranean Diet Recipes: Lebanese Hummus

This hummus is smooth and creamy, with just the right amount of garlic. It’s perfect for dipping vegetables or pita bread, and it also makes a great spread for sandwiches.

Try our Hummus recipe here!

Pasta Carbonara

Vegetable Carbonara

This classic Italian dish is made with zucchini and cherry tomatoes (instead of guanciale), eggs, and Pecorino cheese. It’s rich and flavorful, and it’s the perfect comfort food.

Try our Pasta Carbonara recipe here!

Moroccan Harira (Lentil, Chickpea and Tomato Soup)

Moroccan Harira (Lentil, Chickpea and Tomato Soup)

This soup is hearty and filling, and it’s packed with vitamins and minerals. It’s perfect for a winter meal, and it can be made in advance and frozen for later.

Try our Harira recipe here!

Avocado Toast with Caramelized Balsamic Onions

avocado toast with caramelized balsamic onions

This avocado toast is simple but elegant. The avocado is spread on top of toasted bread and then topped with caramelized onions and balsamic vinegar. It’s perfect for a quick breakfast or snack.

Try our Avocado Toast recipe here

Spinach and Mushroom Omelet

Spinach and Mushroom Omelet: Mediterranean Diet Breakfast

This omelet is packed with healthy ingredients, and it’s a great way to start your day. The mushrooms and spinach are cooked in olive oil, and then the eggs are added and cooked until they’re fluffy.

Try our Omelet recipe here!

Bean Burgers with Garlic and Sage

Mediterranean Diet Recipe: Bean Burger with Garlic and Sage

These bean burgers are a great alternative to traditional burgers. They’re packed with flavor, and the garlic and sage aioli is the perfect topping. Serve them on whole wheat buns with lettuce, tomato, and onion.

Try our Bean Burger recipe here

Seared Mushroom Salad with Blue Cheese and Arugula

Seared Mushroom Salad with Blue Cheese and Arugula

This salad is earthy and flavorful, and it’s perfect for a light lunch. The mushrooms are seared in olive oil, and then they’re combined with arugula, blue cheese, and a simple balsamic vinaigrette.

Try our Seared Mushroom Salad recipe here!

Mediterranean Fish Stew

Mediterranean Fish Stew Recipe

This stew is full of flavor, and it’s perfect for a winter meal. The fish is cooked in a tomato broth with garlic, olives, and lemon. Serve it over some crusty bread for a complete meal.

Try our Fish Stew recipe here!

Sheet Pan Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

This dish is a healthier version of eggplant Parmesan. The eggplant is roasted in the oven, and then it’s topped with a simple tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Serve it with some whole wheat pasta for a complete meal.

Try our Sheet Pan Eggplant recipe here!

Conclusion

The Mediterranean diet is a healthy and delicious way to eat. These recipes are all easy to make, and they’re packed with flavor. 

If you’re looking for a way to lose weight, or just eat healthier, the Mediterranean diet is a great option. Give these recipes a try, and you’ll be sure to find some new favorites.

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“This program is a way of life, one which I have adopted successfully, and more importantly one which I have sustained for over one year now. My weight remains steady at 160 pounds (down from 216). My energy levels rival that of someone 20 years younger than me (I’m now 57), enabling me to exercise in any way that I desire, from lifting weights to intense cardio sessions.”
— Michael Little

“After completing my 10-week program, I had a regularly-scheduled appointment with my doctor. Because my cholesterol has always been above the normal range (229 last year) I requested that she test it again this year. I’m happy to report that my total cholesterol dropped to 169, which is in the normal range, and all my other numbers improved as well.”
— Claire C.

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Foods of Crete Cookbook

"The scientifically acclaimed “Mediterranean Diet” is presented at its best here, with the liberal use of olive oil and plenty of vegetable and fish dishes in addition to mezedes (appetizers), meat dishes, desserts, and pretty much every Cretan dish you can think of." - Mary

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11 Comments

  1. NL September 2, 2022 at 4:46 pm - Reply

    Is it true that a shot of good olive oil is healthy ?

  2. Donell August 9, 2022 at 12:16 am - Reply

    Hi Bill, I love eating fruit and veggies and most of the other diets limit you on these and it is hard for me to maintain and so great to be able to eat these without limits. I am on the Med 30 plan learning to eat the best way, I did not know about the Med Weight Plan, I would have done that one first.I have lost 2 pounds already as I learn how to eat the Mediterranean way. So glad to have found your site, thanks Bill. By the way I am 75 years young.

  3. Ina January 28, 2022 at 4:34 pm - Reply

    Hi Bill, I’m interested in your ten week diet program starting in a few days. Can you provide some info about it such as number of calories per day, does it include snacks, is it like your 3 day without sides or snacks, & what is typical weight loss for 60+year old females with this 10wk program? Thanks, Ina

    • Bill Bradley, R.D. January 29, 2022 at 4:38 pm - Reply

      Hi Ina, Thanks for the questions. Even though calories and nutrient analyses are provided, we try very hard to not focus on calories. The goal is to feel good first and then lose weight naturally. Generally, there are not a lot of snacks, but are possibilities for sides. People’s weight loss is all over the place depending on how on board they are with the program. The goal I recommend is to try to lose 1 pound a week which is what many people accomplish. Hope that helps! Bill

  4. Donna Murphy November 3, 2021 at 11:44 am - Reply

    I have struggled with diets , losing weight and gaining it back for years. The Mediterranean diet looks great. I tried the omelette and think this food plan will work. THANKS
    Donna

    • Bill Bradley, R.D. November 5, 2021 at 11:08 am - Reply

      Hi Donna,
      The Mediterranean Diet is really one of the best weight loss diets as it is something you can sustain forever. Not only do you lose weight slowly and naturally, but you are able to maintain the weight loss over time. -Bill

  5. Nancy October 13, 2021 at 3:16 pm - Reply

    This site is exactly what I have been searching for. I LOVE to cook and love eating. Sadly my body has paid the price. I am trying now to channel that love of cooking into Healthy Cooking. Thank you for such wonderful recipes to get me excited to going and keep me motivated. Your Breakfast ideas are really helpful!!!

    • Bill Bradley, R.D. October 13, 2021 at 6:15 pm - Reply

      Hi Nancy, Thank you for the positive feedback. I am glad that the recipes have been helpful (and delicious) for you!

  6. valerie vogel July 31, 2021 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    I love the Mediterranean diet! It’s encouraging to read how I can be more inventive and original with such delicious food. I need to lose more weight and get off this Covid 15 pounds I’ve gained. Your recipes and story is truly inspirational!

    • Bill Bradley, R.D. October 1, 2021 at 1:41 pm - Reply

      Hi Valerie,
      The Mediterranean Diet is really great for losing weight. Let me know if you have any questions on how to do it.

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