How to Enjoy and Adapt the Mediterranean Diet To Your Diet and Lifestyle

Published by Annie Barrett: 
April 22, 2024

The Mediterranean Diet enjoyed by people living in the Mediterranean region including Cyprus, Croatia, Spain, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Morocco was named an "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO in 2013.

Not only a way of eating, "the Mediterranean diet emphasizes values of hospitality, neighbourliness, intercultural dialogue and creativity, and a way of life guided by respect for diversity. It plays a vital role in cultural spaces, festivals and celebrations, bringing together people of all ages, conditions and social classes."

You might think you need to visit Spain, Italy or Greece to enjoy the Mediterranean Diet. If you love to travel, by all means, visit these places. They are special! But, know that you can enjoy the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet wherever you live!

What do you eat on the Mediterranean Diet?
In the Mediterranean region, people eat predominantly whole, unprocessed plant-based foods and healthy fats.

Rather than being a strict diet, the Mediterranean diet is more of an eating pattern in which you prioritize eating: 

  • Vegetables and fruit
  • Beans, legumes, and nuts.
  • Whole grains, like whole-wheat bread and brown rice.
  • Plenty of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) as a source of healthy fat.
  • A good amount of fish, especially fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, sardines, and tuna.
  • A small amount of natural cheese and yogurt.
  • Little or no red meat, choosing poultry, fish or beans instead of red meat.
  • Little or no sweets, sugary drinks or butter.
  • A small amount of wine with meals (though for some people it may be preferable to not consume alcohol at all)

But, it's not just about what you eat! It's how you live.
The Mediterranean Diet emphasizes an active, social lifestyle, where people take the time to prepare and enjoy healthy food together.

For example, in Spain, you'll see people of all ages staying active by walking everywhere. At mealtimes, people gather, eat together, and relax. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables and enjoying an active and social life contribute to the longevity of the Spanish people. 

In your own kitchen and home.
No matter where you live, you can bring the principles of the Mediterranean Diet into your life.

  1. Be physically active
  2. Prioritize your relationships and social life Plan and eat meals with others.
  3. Follow the Mediterranean Diet food pyramid above and eat more whole, plant based foods and healthy fats.

Need healthy eating resources? Check out my list of curated recipes, my healthy eating tip sheet, and my meal planning template here.