I used to call this step “Eat 5 to 9 Fruits and Vegetables a day” and then I remembered that no one in the Mediterranean would try to count their veggies. What you will see on every Mediterranean table is more veggies than anything else and they won’t be over boiled, previously frozen mush covered with margarine and salt. They are cooked fresh, often in olive oil and garlic, with scintillating herbs and spices. That is the Mediterranean Diet plan. If you spend time anywhere in the Mediterranean you will begin craving veggies the way you would crave a cookie or some ice cream.
The health benefits of eating fruits and veggies (especially veggies) are well documented, and most people have a general idea that they are good for us, but how does one actually eat what seems like an ungodly amount of produce on a daily basis? The trick is to make a commitment to eat them at every meal and to make them the majority of the meal.
Spinach for breakfast? What if the spinach was in an omelet, cooked with olive oil, topped with oregano and feta cheese? Sound better? What about a fruit parfait with apples, oranges, raisins, Greek yogurt, honey, and cinnamon? That doesn’t sound too unbearable, does it?
The Mediterranean Diet Plan’s Biggest Step
Your biggest step in going Mediterranean is to have fruits or vegetables at every meal. The way it is often done in most Mediterranean countries is not to have meat, starch, and a veggie all separated, but to have something like a stew or a casserole with lots of veggies and a small amount of protein (beans, meat, poultry, or fish) and starch with plentiful amounts of olive oil and spices. Try, for a week, to get fruits and veggies at every meal. There are lots of recipes to choose from on this site for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. If you are eating out, go to places that have options with veggies in them. You will find restaurants even in the most unlikely places that have plenty of healthy choices. Even most fast food restaurants have choices that are healthier than just a burger and fries. This doesn’t mean that you can never have a burger and fries, but you may want to have a smaller burger and fries and a large salad. It all depends how serious you want to get about it!