Women's Health may earn commission from the links on this page, but we only feature products we believe in. Why trust us?
A lot of diets out there get over-hyped, but that's not the case with the Mediterranean diet. Yes, the word diet is in there, but one of the best parts about this approach to eating is that it's more about making a conscious decision to eat more fruits, veggies, whole grains, seafood, and healthy fats than anything you might traditionally associate with a "diet."
"The Mediterranean diet doesn’t involve counting calories, tracking macronutrients like carbohydrates, or any of the strict rules or restrictions of many of the fads marketed to us these days as health or weight-loss quick fixes,” explains dietitian Lauren Armstrong, RDN.
For many years, the U.S. News and World Report has named the Mediterranean diet as the #1 healthiest eating style because of its versatility and health benefits. That's why we put together an exclusive Mediterranean diet PDF guidebook just for WH+ members.
While following this plan won't magically transport you to a villa somewhere in Greece (wouldn't that be nice), it can certainly put you in the right headspace. Research has shown that following a Mediterranean diet aligns with reduced rates of cancer, better heart health, and improved mental health.
If that all sounds good to you, keep reading for all the details on how to start the Mediterranean diet.
What is the Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean diet refers to the eating habits of people who live in countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. This includes places such as France, Greece, Morocco, Turkey, Italy, and Spain. And while it has many benefits, including weight loss (per The American Journal of Medicine), there are few things you should know before you make the commitment.
If you're someone that's always on the go, consider making small lifestyle changes to ensure you're sticking to the right foods and not grabbing the easiest thing in reach.
“The premise is avoiding over-processed, packaged foods and enjoying fresh, whole foods whenever possible,” explains Emily Kyle, RDN. That means you'll want to leave out sodas, processed meats (like hot dogs), white bread, and candy.
How to get started on the Mediterranean diet
It might seem overwhelming to start a diet based on a culture that you might not be a part of or geographically near. Luckily, there are a few tips you can follow to ensure a smooth transition to a Mediterranean diet.
- Try incorporating seafood into your meals once a week.
- Keep healthy, fulfilling snacks on deck.
- Start using olive oil to cook.
- Don't shy away from frozen foods.
You'll find even more tips in our Mediterranean diet guide, exclusive to WH+ members.
What foods are considered a part of a Mediterranean diet?
Many different foods fit into a Mediterranean diet. And as you stock your fridge with these items more frequently, it will start to become second nature. Here's a general idea of what you'll be adding to your shopping cart.
- dark chocolate
For a full shopping list, access our Mediterranean diet guidebook now.
You won't get bored with your meals.
Many assume that the Mediterranean diet means a restrictive or all seafood diet with a lack of variety. In reality, there are plenty of delicious meals you can add to your routine. Here are three simple ideas that taste amazing and are packed with nutrients.
- Breakfast: scrambled eggs with spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes.
- Lunch: grilled fish with brown rice, grilled zucchini, bell pepper, and red onion.
- Dinner: lentil soup with celery, carrots, onion, tomatoes, and mushrooms.
Need more inspo? We asked a nutritionist to map out even more ideas in our Mediterranean diet guidebook.
Now that you've gotten a sneak peek of how to start a Mediterranean diet, it's time for you to dive into the real thing with this PDF guidebook that's an exclusive perk for our Women's Health+ members.
And BTW, signing up for a Women's Health+ membership also gives you access to our newsletter, *unlimited site content*, a one-year print magazine subscription, and our full library of healthy living PDFs and guidebooks.