Mediterranean Diet Meal Ideas

Mediterranean Diet Meal Ideas

A lower carbohydrate (“carb”) Mediterranean diet combines two healthy eating patterns: the fresh foods found in the Mediterranean region and few refined/highly processed carbs. The diet emphasizes healthy, plant-based carbohydrates, including whole, unrefined grains; legumes (lentils, chickpeas etc.), and low sugar fruits. 

Breakfast Ideas

  • 2 hard-boiled eggs with ½ avocado

  •  ½ cup (120 g) of cooked oatmeal with 1 cup (240 g) berries (you can use frozen berries) and 1 tablespoon (15 g) of flaxseed meal or chia seeds

  • 1 cup (240 g) of cottage cheese with raw, unsalted nuts and berries

  • 1 cup (240 g) plain unsweetened Greek yogurt topped with nuts, chia seeds, coconut flakes, hemp seeds, or ground flax seeds. Can top with ½ cup (120 g) of fresh or frozen berries 

  • ½ avocado with low-fat ricotta cheese and 3 slices of smoked salmon on rye bread or a wrap (try one made with wheat flour alternatives, such as almond, coconut, or cassava flour)

  • Overnight oats recipe: mix the below ingredients together and keep in the fridge overnight

    • 1/4 cup (60 g) dry oats

    • 1 oz. (28 mL) unsweetened almond milk

    • 1/4 cup (60 mL) unsweetened Greek yogurt

    • 2 tablespoons (20 g) raspberries

    • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) vanilla extract (optional)

  • Chia pudding recipe

    • 2 tablespoons (20 g) of chia seeds mixed with 1 cup (240 mL) of unsweetened almond milk and ½ teaspoon (2.5 mL) of vanilla extract. Mix and keep in the fridge overnight. Top with raw nuts and fresh fruit

    • Try adding cinnamon, cardamom, unsweetened cocoa powder, or nut butter for more flavor

    • Can also add unsweetened protein powder or nuts/seeds for more protein

  • Tofu scramble recipe

    • Sauté tofu with vegetables (e.g. bell peppers, onion, kale, etc.)  and season with any spices (e.g. cumin, turmeric, salt, black pepper, onion/garlic powder, paprika) and top with tomato salsa and cilantro.

  • Frittata recipe

    • Sauté any vegetables (e.g. onions, mushrooms, asparagus, bell peppers, spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, scallions etc.)

    • Add whisked eggs (can season with black pepper, salt, garlic) to the vegetables

    • Sprinkle with feta cheese (optional)

    • Bake for 15-20 minutes until eggs are set and top is lightly browned

  • Smoothies: see below for a mix & match smoothie building guide:

Smoothie Ingredients:

Liquid Base - Water, coconut water, milk, or unsweetened non-dairy milk

Vegetables - Spinach or kale (high in magnesium and help keep blood sugar levels stable)

Low-sugar fruit - Apples, blackberries, blueberries, kiwi, lemon, lime, oranges, pomegranate seeds, raspberries, strawberries

Healthy Fats - Unsweetened almond or peanut butter, ground flaxseed (flaxseed meal), chia seeds, coconut oil

Protein - Unsweetened protein powder (e.g. pea, hemp, or pumpkin seed protein powder)

Extra flavor - Cocoa or cacao powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, turmeric, or vanilla extract

Consistency - Thicken the smoothie by adding ice cubes or using frozen fruit. Thin the smoothie by adding water or non-dairy milk

Sample Smoothie Recipe: 1 scoop of unsweetened protein powder (pea, hemp, etc.); 1 Tbsp (15 g) of almond butter or peanut butter; 1 Tbsp (15 g) of chia seeds; Handful of fresh spinach; 1 tsp (3 g) of cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder; 1 cup (240 mL) of unsweetened almond milk; Add water or ice cubes depending on consistency preference

Lunch/Dinner

Vegetables

Aim to have at least 2 different types of vegetables at every meal.

  • Any fresh or frozen non-starchy vegetable

    • Fresh vegetables can be made into a salad, soup, or a side dish to your main meal

    • Frozen vegetables are just as healthy. They can be heated in the microwave, roasted in the oven, or cooked in an air fryer

    • Leftovers can be eaten for breakfast with a hard-boiled egg

Protein

  • Rotisserie chicken (to be used throughout the week). Season with cinnamon, paprika, or other spices you enjoy. Add to salad or make a chicken fajita bowl with bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms

    • Mediterranean bowl with rotisserie chicken recipe: Add chicken to bowl of chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, red onions, or scallions, and feta cheese. Dress with olive oil and the juice from half of a lime

  • Easy seafood options 

    • Canned salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel

    • Salmon burgers or smoked salmon

    • Bake shrimp in the oven or air fryer. Can last a few days in the fridge. Add to salads or have as your main dish

  • Eggs and bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Top with fresh tomato sauce and crumbled feta cheese 

Grains

  • Prepare a batch of cooked quinoa, brown rice, or lentils over the weekend and store them in the fridge. Use as a side dish or add to salads or grain bowls 

  • Bean pasta (e.g. soy, chickpea, lentil) - prepare in batches and use as a quick and easy side dish. You can add sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, or garlic olive oil for a flavorful sauce

More Recipe Ideas

  • Grilled salmon or white fish filet with a side of leafy greens (e.g. kale, spinach) and 1/2 cup (100 g) cooked brown rice or 1/2 baked sweet potato

  • Taco bowl: To make, start with any leafy green (arugula, spinach, kale, lettuce). Add 1/2 cup (100 g) of cooked brown rice or quinoa, 1/2 avocado, sauteed mushrooms and bell peppers, and sauteed ground turkey or lean beef with seasonings. Add nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor (optional).

  • Canned salmon salad made with dijon mustard, cucumbers, olive oil, olives and bell peppers over a bed of leafy greens

  • Rotisserie chicken with a side of canned beets, green beans, and 1/2 cup (100 g) of quinoa

  • Bag of ready-made salad topped with chicken or shrimp

  • Lean turkey meatballs with lentil/chickpea pasta or brown rice

  • Lettuce wraps with baked white fish topped with pico de gallo and salsa

  • Rotisserie chicken over a bed of salad greens with vegetables of choice (e.g. tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers), pumpkin seeds, olives, and homemade salad dressing

    • Salad dressing idea #1: Mix balsamic vinegar, olive oil, dijon mustard, salt & pepper

    • Salad dressing idea #2: Mix tahini (sesame seed paste), olive oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper

  • Stir-fried cauliflower rice with vegetables (add shrimp or chicken on top)

  • Chicken salad wraps: To make, combine chicken, mixed greens, and guacamole. Wrap into slices of iceberg lettuce.

  • Tuna salad: To make, combine canned tuna (packed in water or olive oil) with vinaigrette dressing, chopped onions and celery, chopped olives, lemon juice, and black pepper.

  • Chickpea and cauliflower tomato stew: To make, saute onion, carrots, and garlic in avocado oil. Season with salt & pepper. Add kale and cauliflower and simmer for around 10 minutes. Add a bundle of thyme, rosemary, or cilantro (or herb of choice) if desired. Add cooked chickpeas and tomatoes (tomato sauce, chopped tomatoes, or marinara sauce). For a more liquid consistency, add vegetable or beef broth. Tip: Try different variations of this stew with butternut squash or sweet potatoes instead of cauliflower, spinach instead of kale, or lentils instead of chickpeas.

Snack Ideas

  • 2 squares of at least 70% cocoa dark chocolate with small handful of raw almonds or 1 fresh orange

  • 3 cups (720 g) of air-popped popcorn (you can add nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor) 

  • 1 cup (240 g) of cooked edamame (can be cooked in the microwave)

  • 2 kiwis (great for digestive health)

  • 1 sliced apple with unsweetened peanut butter

  • Carrots with 2 tablespoons (20 g) of hummus

  • 1 cup (240 g) of unsweetened Greek yogurt with ½ cup (120 g) of berries

  • 1 oz. (28 g) of cheese crisps

  • 1 cup (240 g) of roasted kale chips (use a simple recipe with kale leaves, olive oil, and seasoning)

  • 1 packet of seaweed crisps

  • 10-15 olives (rinse with water to get rid of some of the salt)

  • ½ avocado mashed on Wasa crispbread or rice cake

The above meal ideas are just some suggestions to give you more perspective on what foods to pair and include in your meals. You can modify the meals based on your food preferences and what ingredients you have available. You can always have breakfast options for lunch/dinner and vice-versa.