In today’s health-conscious world, we hear about a variety of diets that people follow. People live normal lifestyles while adhering to a diet plan. Meal planning can be really beneficial. Furthermore, planning your meals makes it easy to keep track of how much you consume.
By following a healthy meal plan, you can ensure that you’re eating the proper foods in the right proportions. A Mediterranean Meal Plan is one of the greatest low-carb meal plans you may follow among the numerous meal plans. It is inspired by the Mediterranean diet.
It includes food groups from a traditional diet that evolved over thousands of years among people living in the Mediterranean region. After being assessed by a committee of professional panellists from U.S. News, the Mediterranean diet was named the best diet in 2022.
A low carb Mediterranean meal plan is the icing on the cake of all the advantages. The Mediterranean diet may provide health benefits such as weight loss, heart and brain health, cancer prevention, and diabetes prevention and control. Furthermore, if you stick to it, you can reduce weight while avoiding chronic sickness.
Begin with the Mediterranean Diet
Even while Mediterranean cuisines vary by country, they have a few characteristics. They all, for example, emphasise fresh, locally sourced, minimally processed meals.
It is crucial to understand that there are numerous Mediterranean meal plans available. Most of them, however, include a lot of fresh fish, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and olive oil.
A standard Mediterranean meal can easily be converted to a low-carb supper. Bread, cereals, and starchy vegetables, for example, are rarely available in the low-carb version of the meal. Furthermore, a reduced carb variant uses solely low-sugar fruits such as berries.
A low-carb Mediterranean dinner combines two popular eating patterns. The first is carbohydrate restriction, and the second is fresh Mediterranean-style meals. While you must avoid high-carb items such as bread, rice, potatoes, and high-sugar fruit, you may still consume plenty of delectable meats, veggies, and healthy fats at each meal.
Let’s look at a detailed, easy-to-follow low-carb Mediterranean meal plan that will keep you healthy while still satisfying your taste buds!
Foods to Include in Mediterranean Diets
The Mediterranean diet emphasises healthful plant foods while limiting meat and dairy products. However, it is recommended that you consume fish, seafood, and poultry at least twice a week. Here are some of the various meals you can eat.
- Blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, apples, pears, fresh dates, figs, grapes, melons, and peaches are some of the fruits available.
- Cauliflower, tomatoes, spinach, onions, carrots, broccoli, kale, cucumbers, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and turnips are examples of vegetables.
- Kidney beans, cannellini beans, chickpeas, beans, peas, lentils, fava beans, pulses, and peanuts are all legumes.
- Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, unsweetened peanut butter, pine nuts, pistachios, chestnuts, sesame seeds, and chia seeds are examples of nuts and seeds.
- Mackerel, crab, sea bass, shellfish, mussels, salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, shrimp, oysters, clams, trout, tuna, and lobster are all examples of seafood.
- Quinoa, oatmeal, brown rice, rye, barley, corn, and buckwheat are examples of whole grains.
- Chicken, duck, turkey, geese, and eggs are examples of poultry.
- Dairy products include yoghurt, Greek yoghurt, cheese, and milk.
One advantage of eating Mediterranean-style is that you may elevate your meals by layering flavours with all-natural herbs and spices. You can also supply nutrients at the same time.
You can add delightful flavours to your foods by using pepper, rosemary, garlic, basil, mint, sage, nutmeg, or cinnamon, for example. Furthermore, when cooking, it is advisable to use healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil, olive oil, or avocado oil.
However, there are several things that you should avoid in your diet. Eating the proper foods in the right amounts is critical for achieving excellent results from this meal plan.
Drinks & Beverages to Consider Including in Your Meal Plan
Sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soda or sweet tea, should be avoided because they contain a lot of added sugar. Fruit juice is fine in moderation, but if you want to get your fibre fix, eat the whole fruit. So, squeeze out as much fresh fruit juice as you can and drink it without sugar or ice cream.
While following this meal plan, water will be your best buddy. So drink plenty of water and stay hydrated throughout the day. You can make it even healthier by adding a squeeze of fresh lemon and drinking still or sparkling water. To your coffee or tea, you can also add a dash of milk or cream. However, avoid using a lot of added sugar or cream.
A Mediterranean diet also includes moderate alcohol use, primarily red wine. Many people in the Mediterranean region consume red wine with their meals.
If you want to drink alcohol while following a low-carb Mediterranean diet, choose dry red wine over sweet red wine. However, it is entirely optional, and certain people, such as pregnant women and those who have difficulty drinking in moderation, should avoid wine.
Evidence suggests that red wine may also reduce a variety of health risks. To gain its benefits, though, you must drink it in moderation. It is highly beneficial to cardiovascular health. However, if you want to live a healthy life, you should avoid drinking alcohol.
Common Ingredients in a Low-Carb Mediterranean Meal
The following programme should be followed by a healthy low-carb Mediterranean diet:
- 2-3 times a week for fish and seafood
- Dinners for vegetarians: 2-3 times a week
- 1-2 times a week for poultry and lean meat
- Red meat: On rare occasions, no more than once every 8 to 10 days.
Low-Carb Mediterranean Meal Plan
In terms of an example meal plan, the following are some dishes you could try:
Smoothie with berries and almonds.
In a blender, combine the berries, frozen pear, and almonds. Top with toasted nuts or oats to make it crunchier. Alternatively, try Date and Nut Oatmeal.
These overnight oats can be organically sweetened with chopped dates and cinnamon, and balanced with mixed nuts. Alternatively, egg muffins, scrambled eggs, or an omelette (gluten-free and low carb). Vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and other greens can also be included.
Baked Chicken with Mushrooms, Spinach, and Brussels Sprouts, or Parsley-Garlic Salmon with Roasted Broccoli/Cauliflower and Onions As a side dish, serve it with couscous for a complete supper. Or try the Sweet-Potato Hash with Asparagus, Chickpeas, Feta, and Poached Eggs.
To make it more flavorful, add spices such as paprika and parsley. Cauliflower Pizza with Pesto and Grilled Veggies is another option. Over an almond flour pizza crust, top with nutrient-dense grilled vegetables, eggs, Greek yoghurt, and flavorful herbs and spices.
Mediterranean Fish with Herbs, Spinach, and Mushrooms. Baked marinated fish with spinach and mushroom sauce will tantalise your taste buds and fill your stomach. Alternatively, try a Mediterranean Salad with Balsamic Chicken.
Fresh bread, balsamic chicken, chickpeas, and a plethora of crisp, high-fiber peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes will totally fill you. Greek Salad Tacos are another option.
Berries with nuts OR Milk or yoghurt with chia seeds OR Apple/Pear yoghurt
Foods to Stay Away From
- Fast foods, flavoured morning cereals, noodles, crisps, sausage rolls, pastries, and microwave or ready-to-eat meals are examples of processed and canned foods.
- Fried meals, cream, pies, doughnuts, and margarine spreads are all high in trans fat.
- Refined white sugar, soda, cold drinks, candy, ice cream, sugar syrup, and baked goods all include sugar.
- White bread, pasta, chips, tortillas, and crackers are examples of refined grains.
- Palm oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, cottonseed oil, canola oil, and soybean oil are all refined oils.
Other Diets compared. the Mediterranean Diet
While looking for an ideal and healthy diet for yourself, you may have come across numerous diets, such as the Keto diet, Mediterranean diet, and Flexitarian diet.
People, geographical region, and food availability can all have an impact on deciding on a healthy diet. It is critical to choose an eating plan that fits your lifestyle, supports good health, is long-term sustainable, and encourages you to listen to your body. It is also critical to have a system in place that allows you to enjoy dining while simultaneously ingesting ethnic dishes.
While the Mediterranean diet is often associated with being high in fat due to the use of olive oil and almonds, the keto diet has substantially more fat (approximately 70 percent ).
Furthermore, carbs are severely restricted on the keto diet. As a result, whole grains, legumes, and the majority of fruits are prohibited. These strict limitations can make meeting nutritional needs difficult.
The flexitarian diet, often known as a flexible vegetarian diet, incorporates all food groups. Animal proteins, on the other hand, are scarce. It is similar to the Mediterranean diet in that it emphasises fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats.
The best aspect is that you may tailor Mediterranean cuisine to your own requirements. For example, if you don’t like fish but like starch-free bread, crusts, and olive oil, start putting together fantastic Mediterranean-inspired dinners with ingredients you enjoy.
The paucity of carbohydrate-rich fruits and vegetables is particularly worrying, as these nutrients lessen the risk of stroke, dementia, and various cancers.
This type of meal plan, however, can work for many people in the long run provided you get the majority of your carbohydrates from veggies and focus on eating healthier fats.
The Mediterranean diet is being studied for its health benefits, and the message is that it is not a magic pill. It is not about a single meal with unique properties.
It’s all about eating a basic, nutrient-dense plant-based diet focused on regional, local food. Overall, it is all about savouring the flavours of foods and making the most of what you have.
A well-balanced diet should provide a variety of options, few restrictions, and no extensive grocery lists of often expensive specialty goods. It should be beneficial to your heart, bones, brain, and colon, as well as your waistline.
It should also be something you can accomplish for an extended period of time. This diet will not give you with a quick fix. They can, however, present you with a lifetime of delicious, healthy options that are beneficial to your overall health.
Questions and Answers (FAQs)
Q. Is it possible to follow a low-carb Mediterranean diet?
A. A Mediterranean diet can be easily converted to a low carb diet. This diet restricts grains, carbohydrate-rich fruits, bread, sweets, pasta, starchy vegetables, processed and fried foods. You can, however, eat plenty of excellent proteins, green veggies, and healthy fats at each meal.
Q. Can you combine the Keto and Mediterranean diets?
A. On paper, the keto diet appears to be more restricted than the Mediterranean diet. However, it has the same drop-out rates as other diets in dietary intervention trials. As a result, combining keto and the Mediterranean diet may drop LDL cholesterol levels even further, protecting us from heart disease.
Q. Can the Mediterranean diet help me lose weight?
A. The typical Mediterranean diet is not a diet for losing weight. However, it may be a long-term and realistic approach to reduce weight and keep it off. The diet emphasises healthful foods including fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains, while avoiding processed foods and added sugar.
Q. What is the distinction between a low carbohydrate diet and a Mediterranean diet?
A low-carb diet focuses on proteins and non-starchy vegetables in general. As a result, grains, legumes, fruits, bread, sweets, pasta, starchy vegetables, and nuts and seeds are frequently restricted in a low-carb diet. The Mediterranean diet, on the other hand, still promotes the consumption of legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and low-sugar fruits.
Q. Is the Mediterranean diet better than the Keto diet?
A. Studies have demonstrated that the Mediterranean diet improves heart health and overall longevity. Simultaneously, the keto diet may assist you in losing weight swiftly. However, it is not a long-term healthy eating plan. The keto diet promotes quick weight reduction, whereas the Mediterranean diet encourages slower, more healthy weight loss.
Q. Which diet is better, the Atkins or the Mediterranean?
A. In terms of reducing heart disease, the Mediterranean diet outperforms the low-fat diet. The Atkins diet, on the other hand, is likely to be more beneficial in some cases since it influences blood lipid levels better than both the Mediterranean and low-fat diets.
Q. What foods are prohibited on the Mediterranean diet?
A. Refined grains, such as white bread, white pasta, and pizza dough made with white flour, are prohibited in the Mediterranean diet. Trans fats should also be avoided in margarine and other processed foods. Additionally, sugary meals such as pastries, drinks, and candies should be avoided.