The Mediterranean Diet: A Plant-forward Approach to Eating

The Mediterranean Diet: The Mediterranean way of eating originated in southern Italy, Crete, Greece and other areas surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. The diet focuses on vegetables, fruits, beans, olive oil and olives, as well as moderate amounts of fish and dairy products, while limiting red and processed meats and added sugars. In other words, it is a plant-forward approach to eating.

Why We Like It: Research has shown that a plant-forward diet is beneficial to immune health, does wonders for gut health and digestion, and can even help with weight loss, since plant foods provide fiber to make us feel full. The Mediterranean diet has also been associated with lower cholesterol, a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke, and a higher life expectancy.

Tips for Getting Started: The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating, as opposed to a strict meal plan, making it easy to get started and stick with it.

  • Focus on whole foods – fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, and legumes. Replace white rice and pasta with bulgur, farro, and barley. Make nuts your go-to snack; the healthy fats, protein and fiber will help keep you full until your next meal.
  • Make fruits and vegetables the main event – fill half your plate with fruits and veggies, and the other half with whole grains and lean protein. Our produce department offers a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, including bagged cleaned-and-cut varieties, along with fresh-cut options, and bagged salads to make balancing your plate easy.
  • Substitute fish in place of red meat – Fish is a great source of lean protein and also contain omega-3 fatty acids. Some of our favorites include our grill-ready Cedar Plank Salmon and our Ready-to-Cook Mediterranean Style Cod.
  • Save other foods for special occasions and in moderation – Since this diet is not meant to be a strict meal plan, nothing is completely off limits. However, to reap the benefits of this approach to eating, it’s best to reserve processed, sugary treats for special occasions. Dairy, including yogurt and cheeses, should be consumed in moderation. Skip sugar-filled, fruit-flavored yogurts, opting for plain instead, and choose unprocessed cheese like feta, brie, and parmesan.

Mediterranean Style Recipes: If you like to cook and need some inspiration, our website has many Mediterranean style recipes. Two of our favorites are Tuscan Beans with Basil Pesto and Mushrooms and Salmon with Tomatoes & Capers in a Cast Iron Skillet. Pairing these meals with our Organic Kale, Spinach & Chard Salad makes them oh so Mediterranean!

Marda Heuman, RDN, LDN is a Wegmans nutritionist in the Pennsylvania Division