Mediterranean Diet: Main Components  Plus A 7-Day Diet Plan

Mediterranean Diet: Main Components Plus A 7-Day Diet Plan

Bajaj Finserv Health
February 24, 20236 mins read


Mediterranean is blessed with a huge coastline. Aside from fish, the Mediterranean diet focuses on whole grains, good fats ( olive oil, nuts etc.), vegetables, fruits, and very little intake of any non-fish meat. Read on to make your perfect Mediterranean diet plan for staying fit and healthy.

Key Takeaways

  • Mediterranean diet includes all the necessary nutrients required from food for a balanced diet
  • People who follow the Mediterranean diet exhibit a low rate of cardiac issues, chronic illness, and obesity
  • It also has a space for alcohol and dessert in moderation

The Mediterranean diet is often used as an umbrella term for the diet followed by people living in the coastal region of the countries on the Mediterranean ocean. All main ingredients of the diet are readily available. The recipes are also easy to make, and you can easily swap one ingredient with another. The flexibility, ease, and innumerable benefits of the Mediterranean diet attract people the most towards it. In addition, it lets you enjoy a specified amount of dessert and alcohol.

Mediterranean Diet for Beginners

All countries have different delicacies and signature dishes, but the common ingredients bind them together. To follow the Mediterranean diet, you need to include the ingredients available in Mediterranean countries, such as fish meat. 

The Mediterranean diet became prominent around the 1950s when studies proved its benefits against chronic physical and mental illness. [1] It includes dairy products, fish meat, vegetables, and legumes as a staple, whereas poultry products and red meat are rare. While following the diet, you do not have to compromise on dessert; you can effectively use them. However, the diet excludes processed food and discourages animal meat consumption.

Features of Mediterranean Diet Infographic

Foods Allowed on Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean diet food list includes the following items:

A Combination of Fruits and Vegetables

It includes veggies like artichokes, mushrooms, arugula, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, beets, broccoli, cabbage, shallots, carrots, celeriac, mustard greens, cucumbers, eggplant, lemons, fennel, lettuce, Mache, nettles, okra, sweet onions (red, sweet, white), peas, pumpkin, peppers, potatoes, radishes, rutabaga, scallions, spinach, turnips, celery, and zucchini. And the fruits include apricots, clementine's, dates, figs, grapes, apples, olives, oranges, peaches, nectarines, pears, pomegranates, avocados, cherries, tangerines, melons, strawberries, tomatoes, etc.

Whole Grains

The Mediterranean diet encourages the consumption of whole grains like barley, couscous, buckwheat, bulgur, farrow, oats, quinoa, millet, and brown and wild rice.


Most Mediterranean diet recipes have legumes as the main ingredient, or you will find them as an additional ingredient. Legumes, often used in salads, are rich in iron, zinc, potassium, and calcium.

Healthy Fats

Healthy fats can be found in olive oil, nuts, and seeds. Both virgin and extra virgin olive oil are used in recipes.

Average Amounts of Seafood

Only fresh seafood produce is included in the Mediterranean diet. The common fish types are salmon, albacore tuna, trout, Atlantic herring, Atlantic mackerel, anchovies, sardines and even mussels. These are included in portions of pasta and sauces or served as a main course dish.

Additional Read: Pescatarian Diet

Dairy And Meat

Dairy and meat are rare occasions in the Mediterranean diet. Chicken, turkey, and eggs are used sometimes. Cheese and yogurts are used in salads, sauces, and dips.

Mediterranean Diet: Exclusions 

Foods that are not part of the Mediterranean diet meal plan: 

  • Butter or vegetable oils aren’t used in cooking. Instead, the mediterranean meal plan requires olive oil
  • Even though cheeses are preferred, only fresh and healthy ones like fetta and parmesan are included. American processed cheese is strictly forbidden
  • Refined flour and sugar aren’t a part of the Mediterranean diet. Even for desserts, their healthier substitute is used. Instead of sweet desserts, fruits such as figs and peaches satisfy the sweet tooth.

What are the Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean diet has multiple benefits attached to it, some of which are listed below:

Mediterranean Diet Health Benefits

The Mediterranean diets are perfectly balanced. You are not consuming unhealthy fat or food that takes longer to digest, such as meat. As a result, it is easier on the digestive and immune systems. This reduces unnecessary cholesterol build-up, thereby ensuring a healthy heart. It also aids in lowering diabetes and cancer. In addition, most recipes require fresh produce that further enhances the diet's benefits.

Mediterranean Diet Budget-friendly

The Mediterranean diets are largely plant-based. Therefore, recipes can be easily prepared with seasonal vegetables. Also, there are no hard and fast rules about recipes; you can easily substitute one product with another. In countries like India, the cost can be higher for the products such as olive oil, but one bottle can last you longer than vegetable oils. Additionally, compared to its health benefits, the amount you spend on the products is minimal.

Help You Lose Weight

According to studies, following the Mediterranean diet can be beneficial to weight loss because of its lower fat content. [2] Its plant-based high-fibre diet improves the digestive system and not only aids you in weight loss but also in maintaining a healthy weight.

Additional read: Best Diet Plan for Weight LossBenefits of Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan

Improve Mental Health

Including two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil helps combat mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. It is proven in a 2019 report that extra virgin olive oil with whole grains, fruits and vegetables in the diet helps remission of depression. [3] The Mediterranean diet also aids in making the mind and brain function sharper.

Mediterranean Diet and Increased Life Expectancy

The Mediterranean diet lowers the risk of developing chronic illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. In addition, you lead a healthy and stable lifestyle that increases your life expectancy.

Cons of the Mediterranean Diet

Before you start following the this diet, you must carefully research and analyze all the factors involved in the process, such as your diet, food preferences, allergies, health problems and other prerogatives. Below are some of the issues that may arise due to this diet.:

There is a Need for Supplementary Guidance

Individuals suffering from diseases like diabetes, gluten intolerance, or heightened cholesterol level in the body should get a doctor consultation prior to starting the Mediterranean diet. This is because the diet contains fat, gluten, and carbohydrate resources like nuts, whole grains, olive oil, fruits, and so on

Low Level of Nutrients

The Mediterranean diet restricts the intake of dairy products, meats, and similar foods. However, if you suffer from calcium or iron deficiency, these foods must be consumed more than Mediterranean food.

Additional Read: Keto Diet

Ultimate 7-day Mediterranean Meal Plan

Curating a Mediterranean diet meal plan is easy once you know what you want. You can use the following plan as it is or get inspired to create your own as per your liking:

Day 1

  • Breakfast - pan-fried egg with whole-grain toast 
  • Lunch – Salmon fish sticks
  • Dinner - roasted potato with grilled salmon

Day 2

  • Breakfast - Whole grain bread with fresh vegetables and cheese
  • Lunch - Mediterranean pizza with vegetable toppings and cheese
  • Dinner - Stewed vegetables in tomato and herb soup

Day 3

  • Breakfast - Omelets with vegetables and olive oil
  • Lunch - Roasted chicken and vegetables in olive oil, lemon, and soup
  • Dinner – Bell pepper and garlic shrimp

Day 4

  • Breakfast - Whole-grain oats with nuts, raisins, dates, cinnamon and honey or maple syrup
  • Lunch - Greek salad with pepper, olive, cucumber, tomato, cheese, and olive oil 
  • Dinner – Vegetable casserole

Day 5

  • Breakfast - Greek yogurt with fresh fruits, berries, and nuts.
  • Lunch - whole wheat pasta, grilled chicken with vegetables in tomato sauce
  • Dinner - A grilled vegetable with olive oil with quinoa

Day 6

  • Breakfast - Chia pudding with fresh fruits
  • Lunch - Mediterranean white bean soup with Greek salad
  • Dinner - Baked fish with garlic and basil

Day 7

  • Breakfast - Oats with nut butter and berry
  • Lunch - Mediterranean Chickpea with Farrow salad
  • Dinner - Salad topped with fresh green vegetables, lentils, and grilled shrimp

The Mediterranean diets are all-inclusive and can be easily followed by vegans, vegetarians, or fish lovers. However, like other diets, it also has its dos and don'ts, which you should be aware of. For additional information, you can get in touch with a general physician at Bajaj Finserv Health to avoid any allergies or issues pertaining to food intolerances.

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Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

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