Meijer: Mediterranean Diet Month
“Mediterranean Diet Month”
Maribel Alchin, MBA, RD, LDN, Meijer Dietitian and Healthy Living Advisor
For more recipes visit www.meijerhealthyliving.com
May is International MEDITERRANEAN DIET Month. The Mediterranean Diet has become synonymous with a healthy diet and lifestyle. It promotes being active, cooking simple and nutritious foods, sitting down for meals with family and friends, and enjoying moderate amounts of wine at those meals. It encompasses cuisines from many countries including Spain, Italy, Greece, Malta, and Turkey.
Mediterranean Diet meals are centered around a variety of foods including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, herbs, spices, nuts, and healthy fats like those found in olive oil. Additionally, the Mediterranean Diet embraces consumption of seafood, which offers omega-3 fatty acids. Eggs, poultry, yogurt, and cheese are also authentic Mediterranean foods that are enjoyed in moderation. Red meats and sweets are reserved for special occasions. Water and wine are the typical beverages of the Mediterranean Diet. Water is consumed throughout the day and a 5 ounce glass of wine is enjoyed in moderation, meaning up to one glass per day for women or two for men.
Researchers studying the Mediterranean Diet have uncovered numerous health benefits that include:
· Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
- Reduction in blood pressure
- Decreased risk of Type 2 Diabetes
- Lower incidence of getting Alzheimer’s Disease
- Reduction in allergy symptoms among sufferers
- Lower change of getting cancer
- Reduced risk of osteoporosis
With the numerous health benefits, it’s no surprise that the Mediterranean Diet is drawing attention. Changing your diet can be a challenge, especially if you’re family isn’t willing to come along for the ride. Try these simple steps, one at a time, to bring the Mediterranean to your table.
1. Be mindful. Even the act of sitting and enjoying meals together with your family, or alone, can improve attention. This will likely lead to more satisfaction of your meal and may result in a reduction in the amount consumed, which is the key to anyone trying to lose weight.
- Eat breakfast. Start your day off right. Try to eat something that will give you long-lasting energy like whole grain toast with peanut butter and a side of Greek yogurt and berries.
- Eat more vegetables. Try to add just one more vegetable to your current day’s intake. Then go from there. Fresh, frozen, and canned are all good choices.
- Eat one meatless meal per week. Get your protein from plant sources like legumes, beans, grains, and vegetables. Or, try to reduce your portion size of meat at each meal.
- Eat seafood twice per week. Tuna, herring, salmon, and sardines are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and can be the main event at a meal, or combine with whole grain crackers for a protein-rich snack, or add to a salad for lunch.
- Include healthy fats like nuts, seeds, avocados, olives, and olive oil in your meals.
- Enjoy a little dairy. You don’t have to go without dairy, but focus on non-fat Greek yogurt, skim milk, and small amounts of cheese.
- Fruit for dessert. Fruits are naturally sweet and packed full of vitamins and antioxidants. Try limiting your intake of sweets to special occasions.
- Season with herbs and spices. You can add a lot of flavor without added salt or fat. Top pasta with chopped fresh basil. Sprinkle Italian seasoning on frozen vegetables.
Mediterranean Chicken & Tomatoes
1 tsp. McCormick® Minced Garlic
1 tsp. McCormick® Perfect Pinch Italian Seasoning
1 tsp. McCormick® Oregano Leaves
½ tsp. salt
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
1 (2.25 oz.) can Meijer ripe sliced black olives, drained
2 tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Mix all of the spices and salt in small bowl. Toss chicken, tomatoes, olives and oil in large bowl. Add seasoning mixture; toss to coat well.
2. Arrange chicken, tomatoes and olives in single layer on foil-lined shallow baking pan.
3. Roast 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle with feta cheese before serving.
Recipe adapted from www.mccormick.com
Nutrition Information (per serving): 213 calories, 12g fat, 1g saturated fat, 65mg cholesterol, 580mg sodium, 3g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 24g protein
Serve with Wheat Couscous, Grapes and Meijer Greek Yogurt
Tuesday, May 6 2014, 01:55 AM CDT