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Vegetarian Mediterranean Diet

Vegetarian Mediterranean Diet?noresize

The Mediterranean Diet is a common healthy lifestyle buzzword. You may be wondering, what does this cuisine entail, or can I follow a Vegetarian Mediterranean Diet? The answer is Yes! The Mediterranean Diet is based on the cuisine popular in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. Merging the Mediterranean approach to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle is very simple.

Here’s why: both the vegan/vegetarian diet and the Mediterranean Diet emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole grains and heart-healthy fats (like olives and avocados). Both are abundant in nuts, beans, and whole grains, which provide you with high fiber and high-quality protein to help you feel satisfied and full of energy.

Vegetarian Mediterranean Protein Sources

Start by focusing on your protein sources. Include a variety of nuts, seeds, beans and legumes, and depending on your food restrictions, include eggs and dairy. Chickpeas, lentils and black beans can be a core ingredient for your meals. These staple foods provide you with high quality plant-based protein along with micronutrients and minerals, including fiber, potassium and iron (all of which are important to include in a vegetarian diet).

Vegetarian Mediterranean Carbohydrate Sources

The Mediterranean Diet includes a wide variety of high-quality starches. Examples include farro, couscous, whole grain oats, buckwheat, brown rice and quinoa. These ancient grains provide you with an abundance of nutrients, including additional protein, vitamins and minerals. Eating five to seven starch servings daily will provide you with the proper nutrition to feel full throughout your day.

Vegetarian Mediterranean Healthy Fats

Mediterranean diet fat sources include olives, olive oils, avocado and a variety of nuts and seeds. These foods improve flavor and provide various health benefits. Because fats have higher calorie content than fruits and vegetables, be sure to measure portions appropriately. One serving is one teaspoon for oils or butters, and one tablespoon for nuts, seeds and nut butters.

Vegetarian Mediterranean Fruits and Vegetables

Fruit and vegetable sources are abundant in a Mediterranean climate. Include a wide variety of both fruits and vegetables to prevent repetitive recipes and cuisine boredom. Fruits and vegetables are great to feature as main ingredients or to use as a snack between meals. Enjoy eating both fresh, steamed, roasted or even grilled.

Check out this Mediterranean Quinoa Salad recipe; it includes kalamata olives, cucumber, tomatoes and feta cheese and can be used as a main dish or included as a side.

As always, finding a new diet or eating plan that helps you achieve your goals may take time. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Dietitians help you see (and feel) the results you are looking for. Your dietitian will help balance your Vegetarian Mediterranean Diet to meet your dietary requirements all while providing a wide variety of flavors and foods to choose from.

Our team helps people implement vegan and vegetarian lifestyles for many goals: weight loss, disease management, and improved quality of life.  Visit our main page to learn more!

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