Mediterranean diet: options, dietary rules and sample menu

In the 50s of last century, the world spread the news that the inhabitants of the Mediterranean live longer, less likely to suffer from diabetes, cardiovascular disease and overweight. Scientists came to this conclusion after many years of research. The secret lies in a special diet, which is called the "Mediterranean diet".

vegetable salad is part of the Mediterranean diet

Characteristics of the Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet refers to the style of eating rather than a diet in the traditional sense of the word. Mediterranean people eat a lot, rarely limit themselves to fats and carbohydrates and drink wine almost every day. At the same time, experts regard the Mediterranean diet as the "gold standard of nutrition". Unlike most methods, the Mediterranean weight loss system has no medical contraindications. And its "permissibility" does not allow it to be released during the weight loss process.

The Mediterranean diet is recognized by UNESCO as a cultural heritage of mankind.

The specialty of the Mediterranean diet is a balanced combination of proteins, fats and carbohydrates (BJU). Thanks to this, normalization of metabolism occurs. The Mediterranean diet quickly gained popularity because such a food system has a minimum of limitations and is optimal for people who lead a modern lifestyle.

Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

This style of eating brings maximum benefits not only for weight loss, but also for overall health. This is confirmed not only by reviews, but also by numerous medical studies.

Mediterranean diet:

  • reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, Alzheimer's disease and cancer, especially colon and breast;
  • prevents weight gain;
  • rich in minerals, vitamins and antioxidants;
  • improves quality and life expectancy;
  • slows down the aging process;
  • lowers cholesterol levels;
  • has a beneficial effect on the skin.

Rules of nutrition

The main condition is no semi-finished products and so-called fast food (shawarma, hamburger). The menu should consist mainly of fresh and natural products. Among the essential things on the table are herbs, vegetables, olive oil, fish.

The BJU report on the Mediterranean diet is at odds with many popular diets. So, the daily menu should consist of:

  • 10% of protein - seafood, eggs, cheese, meat;
  • 30% of fats - fish, olive oil;
  • 60% of carbohydrates - fruits, vegetables, bread, pasta, cereals.

It is important that the BJU report is not compromised. For breakfast, it is recommended to choose carbohydrate foods, but dinner should be protein, and also include a large amount of vegetables in fresh or boiled. Bread can be consumed during the day, but it is better in the morning and only in moderation.

Food should be fractionated: it is important to eat often (5-6 times) and in small portions. This will speed up the metabolism and the body will process the food into energy and will not put it in reserve.

dry wine is allowed by the Mediterranean diet

You should drink at least 6 glasses of water every day, preferably still. Tea and coffee are allowed, but only without sugar. The use of dry red wine is allowed, no more than two glasses a day.

What you can eat in the Mediterranean diet

Fresh vegetables form the basis of the Mediterranean diet. They should be present in the diet every day. Nutritionists recommend including eggplants, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes in the menu. Beets and potatoes should be minimized as these root vegetables have a high glycemic index. Diabetics are advised to exclude them altogether.

Complex carbohydrates - pasta, bread, rice and other cereals - are essential for the Mediterranean diet. The latter is recommended to soak for a day before cooking.

Red meat is very rare in Mediterranean cuisine and is mostly lamb.

The Mediterranean diet requires the inclusion of fish and seafood in the diet. It is advisable to use them fresh. Both red and white fish are allowed. Preference is given to trout, salmon, mackerel, herring. These fatty varieties are abundant in omega-3.

The Mediterranean diet includes the inclusion of dairy products in the diet, mainly cheeses and yogurt. The former contain a lot of protein. Yogurts should be only natural, colorless.

olive oil is part of the Mediterranean diet

Most Mediterranean cuisine is prepared using olive oil. It acts as the main source of fat in the diet. The menu also allows olives in different combinations and variants - as a special treat and as a garnish for salads, pasta, cold foods.

Olives and oil are rich in healthy unsaturated fats that protect against cardiovascular disease. They also contain antioxidants to help maintain youth and beauty.

Herbs and spices are at a higher price in Mediterranean cuisine. They are added to almost every dish. Oregano, oregano, basil, rosemary, cumin - the choice is quite large. In some cases, spices can replace salt.

Sample menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner

To make it easier to create a menu for every day, nutritionists have compiled a Mediterranean-style food pyramid, ledfrom which you can easily choose products for a week or even a month. To follow exactly this healthy diet, you need to live somewhere in the Mediterranean region. For this, there are options adapted for the Mediterranean diet, in which some products are replaced by more affordable counterparts. So olives can be safely replaced with nuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds and red fish varieties - with cheaper flax or mackerel seeds and herring.


It is recommended to rely on carbohydrates in the morning, so cereals, which can be supplemented with fruit, berries or honey, as well as pasta with sauce, boiled rice, omeletsare a good option for breakfast. Snacks are acceptable between breakfast and lunch. For this, fruits or nuts are suitable.


For lunch, you can safely afford soup - vegetables, fish or meat, pasta, salad. The latter should be seasoning with butter or sour cream; mayonnaise should be excluded.


The evening meal should consist of protein foods. For dinner, you can roast or boil fish, boil beans, make chicken cutlets. An easier option is cottage cheese and kefir.

The choice of products is quite diverse, but you need to know when to stop, otherwise the Mediterranean diet will not work. So, the average calorie content in the daily diet should be approximately 1100 calories. If you do not want to count calories or prepare meals, you can buy special food groups based on the Mediterranean diet.