The Mediterranean diet presents many health benefits such as preventing strokes and heart attacks. It is still worthwhile to consider this diet, even if you just want to eat healthier. This type of diet primarily consists of vegetables, legumes, fresh fruits and whole grains. It works to replace butter with healthy fats such as canola oil and olive oil.
Furthermore, the Mediterranean recipes can be easily incorporated into our regular diet as it takes about 30 minutes or less. In this article, we are going to share with you everything you needed to know about the Mediterranean diet pyramid, this diet plan, menu, meals or breakfast ideas, how it works for weight loss and why it has always been a favorite for most people.
What Is Mediterranean Diet Pyramid?
The Mediterranean diet pyramid is actually a symbolic representation of the kind of lifestyle which you will lead when you are opting for this diet. It also highlights the way in which the people in the Mediterranean countries lead their life and eating pattern. Thus, you will be able to get easy to understand graphical representation of this diet when you look at the Mediterranean pyramid.
The Mediterranean pyramid was created in 1993. Recently, it completed 25 years. The main advantage of the Mediterranean pyramid is that with the help of a single picture, you will be able to get the entire idea regarding the diet. You can easily understand what you should eat and what you should avoid with the help of this pyramid. You can plan mediterranean style diet easily according to this diet pyramid. We will describe below the Mediterranean diet pyramid and what it exactly represents.
- Bottommost layer:
The bottommost layer consists of individuals following an active lifestyle as well as socializing while consuming this diet. It is the layer of the Mediterranean diet pyramid which clearly helps you in understanding how you can lead a proper lifestyle while following the diet. You have to always ensure that the more active you are, the easier it will be for you to burn calories. This will also mean that the additional weight which you put on will be pretty less.
- 1st layer:
The 1st layer consists of foodstuffs which you can enjoy during the this diet. These foodstuffs include fresh fruits, vegetables, spices, healthy fats, whole grains. These are the food items which you can consume on a regular basis when you’re following the this diet. With the help of these foodstuffs, you will be able to consume recipes made from these ingredients on a regular basis. This layer constitutes of most of the foodstuffs which you will consume throughout the healthy Mediterranean diet.
- 2nd layer:
The 2nd layer primarily consists of sea food. You can consume sea food twice a week. In seafood options, you can consume fish as well as shrimp. You have to consume these in moderate proportions to lead a healthy lifestyle.
- 3rd layer:
The 3rdlayer consists of eggs, as well as poultry products. Additionally, the 2nd layer also consists of some of the dairy products which you can consume sparsely like your yogurt as well as traditional cheese. You have to always ensure that you are consuming these in moderate proportions. This layer also consists of red wine which you can consume sparingly.
- Topmost layer:
The topmost layer once again consists of meat as well as other products like deserts. You have to consume them only once in a while. Only when you are able to do that, you can successfully follow the this diet.
Thus, if you’re finding it difficult to follow the this diet, all you need to do is to just look at the Mediterranean diet pyramid. Once you are able to follow the Mediterranean diet pyramid, it will become easier for you to lose weight and stay fit.
4 Weeks Plan
Try a basic rotation of at least 7 breakfasts, lunches and dinners if you have chosen to follow the Mediterranean diet plan for the next four weeks. You can also vary them over the trial duration. You can then add in new dishes and foods once you understand how the diet works.
People living in Mediterranean countries are used to eating a small portion of grains rather than a full plate of pasta. Choosing proteins and fibers can be the best decision you can ever make for a healthy diet.
Both fibers and proteins help to set the mindset that you are full and content with what you have eaten and that you should not overeat. It is essential to avoid excess intake of foods that are unhealthy if your primary goal is to lose or maintain your weight. The three meals will keep you full throughout the day without the urge for a snack.
Is This Diet Plan Effective for Weight Loss?
Weight loss is a major concern for most people in the world today. Following this popular diet plan is the only way to go if you are looking for a way to shed some pounds. This diet focuses on your entire lifestyle as you pay attention to exercising regularly and changing your portion sizes to realize long-term results.
- Eating more to lose weight
It has always been a common concept that you lose weight by eating less. What matters is the number of calories you get from the foods you eat. This diet allows you to eat more food while reducing your calorie intake. Instead of feeling deprived, low-calorie foods help you to feel more satisfied with your meals.
- Increasing your exercise needs
One crucial aspect of weight loss and better health is by exercising regularly. This diet allows you to use some of your calories as energy to prevent them being stored in your body as fats. Regular exercises allow you to shed some pounds and acts as a solution to many other problems such as managing stress, increasing your energy levels and strengthening your heart organs.
- It helps suppress your appetite
Following this diet helps suppress hunger for fatty delicious foods to help you manage your weight. Eating the right balance of healthy fats and plant-based foods make your body feel satisfied in a natural way.
The Mediterranean diet plan has become very popular today with a series of studies each month that documents its benefits. The core foods that you should shop for every day include fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, herbs, beans, nuts, spices and healthy fats such as olive oil.
Seafood and fish should be incorporated in your menu at least twice in a week. Fermented dairy foods such as traditional cheese and yogurt are frequently eaten in moderate amounts. Other food items that are part of the Mediterranean diet menu include eggs and occasional poultry. However, the foods that are rarely eaten in this diet include red meat and sweets. Water and wine are typical beverages.
The foods that should not be incorporated into Mediterranean menu include processed meat, refined oils, refined grains, added sugars and other highly processed foods.
It is also important to note that there is a controversy on the exact foods to be incorporated in this diet, partly because it varies in different countries. Most of the diet described in studies and recommended by experts are relatively low in animal foods but rich in plant foods. The Mediterranean lifestyle also involves enjoying life, performing the regular activity and sharing meals with other people.
Starting your day with breakfast including Mediterranean meal is the best way to boost your energy and keep you satisfied for hours.
Take a plain cup of Greek yogurt on day 1 for breakfast. It can be topped with an ounce of chopped walnuts and a half cup of blueberries. Low yogurt gives you satisfying protein and calcium. The nuts are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and berries supply antioxidants that prevent cellular damage. You can repeat the yogurt on day 4 but try to include chopped almonds or sliced oranges.
Cook a cup of oatmeal on day 2 with ½ cup of sliced apples and an ounce of chopped walnuts. This provides you with a breakfast high in protein and fiber. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of maple syrup and cinnamon. On day 5, you can choose to repeat this breakfast but with different add-ins. A ½ a cup of strawberries will do with thinly sliced almonds. You can opt for unsweetened soy or almond if you prefer milk with your oatmeal.
The menu for days 3 and 6 include eggs. You can make a frittata(an Italian dish) with two eggs, scallion, red bell pepper, and two tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese for the first day. Change your diet the next time by breaking the eggs into a half avocado and then use some little Romano cheese to sprinkle and then bake.
Your day 7 breakfast should be comprised of two slices of whole grain having 2 tablespoon butter. Enjoy your breakfast with a sliced pear or a grape fruit.
You will be hooked on the freshness and flavor of the Mediterranean foods if you stay on this diet for at least four weeks. You are likely to shed more pounds and lead a healthier life by reducing your calorie intake and exercising regularly to keep fit. Generally, Mediterranean diet reduce the chance of having chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Overall this diet is extremely good for heart health.