Do you want to eat the Mediterranean diet? This Mediterranean diet food list comprises over 100 of the most common and available foods in the Mediterranean Diet. If you’re looking to incorporate more healthy foods into your diet, this list is a perfect resource for you. For starters, make sure you have a good quality extra virgin olive oil because almost all Mediterranean diet recipes start with olive oil. You’ll want to get an extra virgin olive oil that is first pressed and really extra virgin. To test if it’s a good quality extra virgin olive oil, drink a teaspoon of the oil and wait ten seconds. You should get a peppery burn in the back of your throat, which means it is highly anti-inflammatory. Only high quality extra virgin olive oils will give the peppery burn, which means they are fresh, and produced from the first pressing of the olives.
After you have a good oil, next is making foods that use lots of fresh vegetables, dark leafy greens, and beans and legumes. Whole grains should always be used instead of processed grains and white flour breads. The flavor of these fresh ingredients is enhanced by extra virgin olive oil. Whether raw on a salad, sauteed, baked, or even deep-fried, this healthy fat is used for all cooking purposes in the Mediterranean diet. This list focuses on fresh ingredients and little to no processed foods. When you’re shopping for these foods, avoid any “diet, lite, low-calorie, and low-fat” products.
Meat, fish, and dairy products are generally eaten less often in the Mediterranean, except for fermented dairy products like fresh yogurt. Of course, in the more mountainous areas, meat and cheese are eaten more often (but still in relatively small amounts) because that’s what’s more available. Also, if you live on the sea, fresh seafood is eaten a couple of times per week. This diet is about moderation, excluding the lavish use of extra virgin olive oil. For snacks and desserts, fresh fruit and nuts and seeds are the favorites.
Coffee is drunk all day long and is a social event. A coffee with friends can last up to 3 hours. People of the Mediterranean drink caffeinated coffee past 9 p.m. and rarely drink decaf. The usually stay out very late and early into the morning socializing, so a coffee this late isn’t strange to them. Wine is very important and is drunk with lunch and dinner. Red wine is preferred over white because of its anti-oxidants, but white is widely consumed as well. Another thing that is drunk every day is local aperitifs, such as raki (moonshine), ouzo, tsipouro, and many others, depending on the country. These are usually served with dessert and the Mediterranean people believe that these aperitifs help with digestion.
You might be wondering: If the people are drinking this much, how can this be healthy? For starters, they always have alcohol with food. Sipping slowly and enjoying the wine over a 2-3 hour meal is how they savor and appreciate their wine. They are also drinking in a social way with friends and family, where getting drunk is not socially acceptable. Since ancient Greek times, the people in the Mediterranean have drunk socially and looked down upon getting embarrassingly drunk in the presence of friends and family. It is all about socializing with good people and food, and not abusing the alcohol. Drinking in this way actually improves your health and overall well-being. If you don’t drink, don’t worry, the health benefits of alcohol can be found by drinking grape juice, eating grapes or exercising. There are plenty of people in the Mediterranean who don’t drink at all.
This Mediterranean diet food list is available as a PDF file, and I recommend printing it out and putting it on your fridge. You will always have inspiration to eat these healthy foods whenever you go into the fridge. If you’re looking for recipes to make with these foods, check out our extensive collection of Mediterranean Diet Recipes.
Here is the downloadable pdf: Mediterranean Food List Pdf
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