Research shows that following the Mediterranean Diet can help to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases such as: cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Additionally, the risks of cognitive decline and Parkinson’s disease are reduced. This makes it a great lifestyle choice to benefit both the body and mind. The Mediterranean Diet is not only a healthy and sustainable option for adults, but it can also be a great way to introduce a healthy eating habits to children.
The Mediterranean Diet is also referred to as the “Mediterranean Lifestyle”, as it incorporates more than just food. Along with some specific dietary recommendations, the Mediterranean Lifestyle also includes 150 minutes of physical activity per week. This is just 30 minutes per day 5x a week. This lifestyle also includes incorporating more opportunities to sit down and enjoy your meals with friends and family.
Not About Restriction
The Mediterranean Diet/Lifestyle is not about restriction. It is very flexible, making it perfect for busy families. This means you have the ability to pick and choose which components work best for you. Start by challenging yourself to follow these dietary guidelines one meal per day, or 3 days per week and work up from there. Whatever works best for your life! But keep in mind, the more consistently the diet is followed, the better your results will be.
Basics of the Mediterranean Diet
- Less red meat – Substitute red meats with plant-based proteins, poultry or seafood.
- Increase the fruits and veggies – Aim to fill half your plate at every meal with a variety of fruits and vegetables.
- Make more of your grains “whole grains” – Examples include, brown rice, quinoa, barley, wheat berry, whole grain pasta, whole grain bread, etc.
- Avoid heavily processed foods – Consume food in its “most original whole form” without all the added sugar, salt, artificial sweeteners or preservatives.
Make the Mediterranean Diet Kid-Friendly
- Introduce the Mediterranean Diet during snack time. Easy snacks include: cheese & fruit, fruit & yogurt, veggies & hummus or whole wheat bread with peanut butter
- Have a homemade pizza night! Start with whole grain pizza dough and let your kids pick their veggie toppings
- Sneak in other proteins. Replace your next burger with a turkey burger or veggie burger
So give the Mediterranean Diet a try and see how it can positively affect your family’s body, mind and spirit!