What Does a Day on the Mediterranean Diet Really Look Like?

Firefighters of the Midwest, consider putting down those cheeseburgers.

A recent Harvard University study examining about 800 male, Midwestern firefighters suggests that adhering to a Mediterranean-style diet lowered their risk of cardiovascular disease. This study is part of a larger conversation about the Mediterranean Diet, which emphasizes consuming lots of olive oil, whole wheat breads, pasta, legumes, and smaller portions of seafood and lean meats. Tons of people seem to be into it these days.

If we’re totally honest, the word “diet” makes us cringe a bit. But the Mediterranean diet isn’t as regimented as Atkins or Weight Watchers. It’s more of a lifestyle shift. And it sounds pretty tasty, no?

We’ll prove it to you; here’s what a day’s worth of eating looks like on the Mediterranean diet.



Photo credit: Food52

Hummus for breakfast? It may seem strange, but hummus and other Mediterranean dips are the cornerstones of traditional breakfasts in the Middle East. The creamy chickpea spread is wonderful slathered on a slice of whole wheat toast and drizzled with a bit of olive oil. If you’re making your own, try this basic version from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.

If hummus doesn’t do it for you, try these whole wheat raisin and oat scones.



Photo credit: Everyday Food

Seafood and meat are minor players in the Mediterranean Diet, so go easy on the shrimp and heavy on the veggies in this feta-sprinkled penne dish. You’ll want to sub in whole wheat penne, too.

Or dig into this lentil salad amped up with garlic and onion. (If you’re in the mood for a heartier meal, top it with a grilled chicken breast or salmon fillet.)



Photo credit: Getty

Sometimes, you need a pick-me-up at 3p.m. Help yourself to a small bowl of Greek yogurt topped with slices of nectarine and almonds. Or nibble on some marinated olives or toasted pumpkin seeds.



Photo credit: Food52

The Mediterranean Diet is all about olive oil, which makes this olive oil-drizzled striped bass a no-brainer. The fish is dressed with thinly sliced fennel, strips of red onion, finely-chopped cilantro and slivers of lime before the whole shebang is wrapped in tin foil and baked in the oven.

If you’re not feeling fish, try this roasted eggplant, walnut, and garlic dish. It’s tossed with a creamy yogurt-dill sauce, which practically guarantees that despite the absence of meat, you’ll be full by the meal’s end.

Oh, and pour a glass of wine. That’s key (and the fun part). If you’re still hankering for a bite of something sweet after dinner, a piece of fresh fruit, a handful of dried dates, or—wait for it—a square of dark chocolate is in order. We stand corrected; that’s the fun part.

Not so bad, right? We’re on-board with this non-diet diet.

Want more ideas? Browse all our Mediterranean recipes.

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