Mediterranean diet: options, dietary rules and sample menu

In the 1950s, the world spread the news that Mediterranean people were living longer, less likely to suffer from diabetes, cardiovascular disease and being overweight. Scientists came to this conclusion after many years of research. The secret lies in a special diet called the "Mediterranean diet".

vegetable salad is part of the Mediterranean diet

Characteristics of the Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet refers not to food styleThe traditional meaning of the word: Mediterranean people eat a lot, rarely limit themselves to fats and carbohydrates and drink wine almost every day, while experts believe that the Mediterranean diet is the "gold standard of eating". Unlike most methods, the Mediterranean weight loss system has no medical contraindications. And its "permissiveness" does not allow it to be divided in the process of weight loss.

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

Benefits of the Mediterranean diet

This eating style brings maximum benefits not only for weight loss but also for health in general. This is evidenced not only by reviews but also by manymedical research.

Mediterranean diet:

  • reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, Alzheimer's disease and cancer, especially of the colonand 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.

Eating rules

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

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

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

It is important not to distort the BJU ratio. For breakfast it is recommended to choose a carbohydrate food, but dinner should be protein and also include a large amount of vegetables in fresh or stewed. Bread can be eaten during the day, but it is best in the morning and only in moderation.

Feeding should be partial: 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, 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 on the Mediterranean diet

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

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

Red meat is very rare in Mediterranean cuisine, especially lamb.

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

The Mediterranean diet includes the inclusion of dairy products in the diet, mainly cheese and yogurt. The former contain a lot of protein. Yogurts should only be natural, without colorants.

olive oil is part of the Mediterranean diet

The lion's share of Mediterranean cuisine is prepared with the help of olive oil. It acts as a major source of fat in the diet. The menu also allows olives in different combinations and variants - as a separate delicacy and as a decoration for salads, pasta, cold snacks.

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

Herbs and spices are number one in Mediterranean cuisine. They are added to almost any 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 compile a menu for each day, nutritionists have compiled a pyramid of Mediterranean eating style, guided by which you can easily chooseproducts for a week or even a month. To follow exactly this healthy diet, you need to live somewhere in the Mediterranean region. Therefore, there are adapted options for the Mediterranean diet, in which some products are replaced by more affordable analogues. So olives can be safely replaced with walnuts, sunflowers and pumpkin seeds, and red fish varieties - with flax seeds or cheaper mackerel and herring.


It is recommended in the morning to lean on carbohydrates so that cereals, which can be supplemented with fruit, berries or honey, as well as pasta with sauce, stewed rice, omelets are a good option for breakfast. Breakfast is acceptable between breakfast and lunch. Fruits or nuts are suitable for this.


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


Evening meals should consist of protein foods. For dinner you can bake or cook fish, stew green beans, make bird chops. 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 calculate calories or prepare meals, you can buy special food kits based on the Mediterranean diet.