Eat Healthier With A Mediterranean Diet Plan
The Mediterranean diet is officially recognized as one of the healthiest diets in the world. The emphasis on vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and healthy fats makes it an ideal diet for both people who wish to lose weight and those who want to live a healthier lifestyle. However, there are some disadvantages to this diet plan — high sodium content, expensive foods, and all that cooking are among the top complaints. Here are a few tips to make transitioning to this diet plan a little easier.
Combat high costs and eat fresher meals by growing some of your own vegetables. Tomatoes, garlic, endive, and most salad greens can be grown in a sunny windowsill or hanging planters. Skip the high-end olive oil and buy lower cost brands; as long as it’s virgin, cold-pressed olive oil, there is no need to spend more for a certain brand.
Although the Mediterranean diet is mostly plant based, the meats that are recommended on the plan tend to be expensive. You can lower your costs by purchasing farmed fish and bulk-buying meats like chicken and beef. A beef brisket can be used for salads, stews, soups, pasta dishes, and mini «steaks,» but costs much less than steak or beef roasts. Whole chickens can be cut up at home, and are generally cheaper than packaged chickens.
Salty olives, cheeses, and sauces can be replaced with lower sodium versions, which will help combat the bloating and water retention some people experience on this plan. If you can’t find a low sodium version of a certain food, either don’t eat it or leach the salt out of it. Olives can be soaked in water or oil to remove excess saltiness, and solid cheeses can be soaked in milk or ice water. When soaking cheeses, remove the cheese from the liquid and allow it to re-solidify in the fridge before use.
Whole grain breads and pastas are usually more expensive than their processed counterparts. Since they make up a significant portion of the diet, finding ways to lower the cost of these foods will save a lot of money. Many pastas can be made at home, by hand; traditional cookbooks will help you find recipes and usually give instructions to roll pasta doughs by hand. If that’s too much work, investigate bulk food suppliers. Many «survival food» stores carry bulk packages of whole grain pastas. Breads can be purchased at a salvage bakery or day-old bread store in most areas.
Finally, remember that the Mediterranean diet is really about making healthier choices. If you can’t afford to eat organic salmon or don’t have time to cook a fresh dish at every meal, that’s okay. Try cooking in batches when you have time and use lower cost ingredients. The idea is to adjust the diet to fit your lifestyle, not rearrange your whole life around your diet. Follow the basic outline of the plan, but make it your own; you’ll be able to stay with it longer, save money, and enjoy the benefits of healthier eating without chewing a hole through your bank account.