Why I Eat A Mediterranean-Style Diet
Ladies, if you follow me on social media, you’ll know that I’m always posting about my favourite foods!
I grew up in a Greek family where food is the most important thing in the whole world. Everything else comes second!
We believe food brings people together, so for any occasion — big or small — we’re eating. My preferred way of eating is Mediterranean-style, as I find it is packed with flavour and a wide variety of my favourite foods too.
What is a Mediterranean diet?
When I talk about eating Mediterranean-style, I’m referring to food from Mediterranean countries and the style of eating enjoyed in the region, where dishes are typically shared. The dishes are usually wholesome and nutritious too.
While there is a Mediterranean diet that involves guidelines on consumption of food groups — it recommends a high intake of fruit and vegetables, nuts, cereals and olive oil, moderate consumption of fish, seafood, chicken, beans and eggs, and a lower intake of red meat — I don’t follow a specific eating plan or pattern.
I usually eat a lot of Greek food — lots of fresh and roasted vegetables, seafood, meat, rice and pasta. For snacks, I often eat fruit or dips with vegetable sticks.
How to enjoy a wide variety of Mediterranean-style food
My family meals would typically involve several dishes on the table, with everything from meat and seafood to salads and pasta dishes.
I love eating in this way because it's all about sharing food - my Mediterranean pasta salad is especially good for sharing.
You don't have to limit yourself to one dish. Instead, you can eat a bit of all of the dishes on the table — which is great because I always want to try everything!
It's the way my family eats when we get together for meals, and how I like to eat when I'm at a restaurant too.
For me, it's all about balance, so I choose exactly what I want, and add lots of salads and roasted vegetables on my plate, as well as protein (I love seafood) and rice or pasta — and I never feel like I'm missing out.
Don’t deprive yourself of the foods you love
When it comes to food, I don’t limit myself to only eating certain foods. I think meals should bring a family together and be a happy occasion.
When it comes to mealtimes, I will eat everything that I want to — in a balanced way! I’ve found that this approach to eating is sustainable for the long-term.
Eating should provide energy and give you enough fuel for your day, but also be a source of joy. I know that I feel happy when I’ve cooked for my family or I’m eating something that has been prepared by another family member. I eat to satisfy my hunger with my favourite foods, not to follow strict guidelines.
How I make healthy choices when eating out
I really enjoy eating at home or having family meals, but I definitely enjoy an amazing meal out on occasion too!
When I’m eating out, I like to make sure I have food that I know I’ll enjoy, so I have a few tips and tricks to ordering in a restaurant.
- I’ll often order an extra serve of salad or vegetables. Most places will serve your meals with a side salad or vegetables BUT by ordering an extra serve, you can ensure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs.
- Drink water. It sounds obvious BUT I know it can be tempting to order a soft drink when out at a restaurant. Sticking to water also helps me stay hydrated too.
- Choose grilled meat or steamed fish. It’s a great way to avoid unhealthy trans fats which are often found in fried foods, plus it keeps the meal healthier and more fresh tasting!
- Dressing or sauces on the side. I love dressing but only if it's olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper! I steer away from heavy, creamy dressings as I don’t enjoy them, so I ask for dressings and sauces on the side.
Find the eating style that suits you
For me, following a Mediterranean-style of eating brings together all the things I love — my Greek heritage, my family and my favourite dishes!
No matter what kind of food you like, there are principles of eating Mediterranean-style that can be embraced by anyone.
Viewing food as a way to bring people together for family time creates a sense of joy around mealtime. Sharing dishes is also a way to make sure you can eat all the things you really like too. Food should be enjoyable!
What are your favourite dishes for family dinners? Let me know in the comments below!
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.