Mediterranean Diet Plan For Beginners

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Try this Mediterranean diet plan for beginners and enjoy the most amazing flavorful healthy meals for a full week! Full of delicious and super easy Mediterranean diet recipes, this healthy 7-day meal plan is perfect for newbies as well as more experienced followers of the Mediterranean diet!

The meal plan includes healthy Mediterranean recipes for dinner, lunch and for breakfast as well as a food list that you can use when you’re doing your groceries next time.

About This Mediterranean Diet Plan

I haven’t done a challenge for a while now and I really want to start doing them regularly. So, my challenge for this year is to do a 7-Day food/meal plan at the beginning of every month. That’s going to be 12 of them!

To kick things off, we’re starting with a Mediterranean meal plan including amazing tasty recipes that ANYONE can make. The meals are super easy to put together and taste so GOOD I’ve been salivating for the past half an hour while putting the list together.

You can mix and match the recipes as you wish, you can add your favorite meals, you can use the plan as inspiration to create your very own weekly meal plan…Customize and do what works for you. I want you to feel satisfied, healthy and happy when doing this meal plan, because that’s the only way you’ll want to keep doing it.

From traditional to not-so-traditional Mediterranean diet recipes, you’ll find all the links for the one week meal plan below. All of the dishes are healthy, full of flavor and of course the nutrients we need to stay nourished without counting calories or macros or anything. It’s food, it’s not math, let’s keep it simple, eat and live life. Because you know, the Mediterranean diet is less of a diet, it’s a lifestyle.

Now, since this is a Mediterranean meal plan for beginners, let’s first take a look at what the Mediterranean diet is all about for anyone who’s not familiar. If you’re not new, you can of course skip this part and move on to the recipes and the grocery list.

Mediterranean Diet For Beginners

Now, some people associate the word “diet” with restriction, but this is absolutely untrue when it comes to the Mediterranean diet.

This “diet” is about the eating patterns, traditions and culture of the people in the countries throughout the Mediterranean basin, which evolved over thousands of years.

Even if you’re just looking at the food, to me, this natural evolution that took millennia to take place is the biggest difference from a diet program created by a few “professionals” in a week or a month (mostly, honestly, in order to make some money). No disrespect, but the test of time is the ultimate research. And thousands of years is a lot of time to prove that something actually works. Without putting your body at risk and without occupying your mind.

And if you don’t like how I put it, you might like how the authors of this wonderful paper expressed their view on the Mediterranean diet:

The Mediterranean diet and lifestyle were shaped by climatic conditions, poverty and hardship, rather than by intellectual insight or wisdom. Nevertheless, results from methodologically superior nutritional investigations have provided strong support to the dramatic ecological evidence represented by the Mediterranean natural experiment. The current momentum towards the Mediterranean diet has solid biological foundation and does not represent a transient fashion. We are now well under way to understand and explain what nature has been trying to tell us through the otherwise unexplained good health of the Mediterranean people.

What To Eat On The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is the richest, most colorful dietary pattern there is. There are no food groups left behind or cut out. In fact, this way of eating encourages enjoying a variety of foods, cooking and sharing meals with others.

The Mediterranean diet is a plant-based diet, in that its main components are mainly unprocessed plants, but it’s definitely not a vegan diet. Here’s what to eat on a daily and weekly basis according to the updated Mediterranean diet food pyramid.

Eat At Every Meal:

  • Vegetables. Aim to eat a variety of cooked and raw vegetables including wild greens at every meal and keep it seasonal. Whatever grows right now is what you need to be eating to stay healthy during the season.
  • Fruit. Enjoy one to two servings per meal and make it your go-to dessert option.
  • Whole Grains and Legumes. Rice, pasta, oats, couscous, quinoa, barley, beans, chickpeas and lentils are great sources of energy, fiber, protein and several vitamins and minerals. These can be present at most meals.
  • Olive oil. Use this healthy oil throughout the day to prepare and season your meals!

Eat Daily:

  • Olives, nuts and seeds. Aim for one to two servings of these foods a day! They’re a great source of healthy fats, minerals, fat-soluble vitamins and fiber.
  • Dairy or another source of calcium. The Mediterranean diet actually allows and recommends you enjoy dairy products like yogurt or cheese once to twice a day. Now you might be dairy- or lactose-intolerant, therefore go for what works for you here. For example, there are some types of dairy like Parmesan or feta cheese that are low in lactose or have no lactose at all.
  • Herbs and spices. If you’re not new to this blog, you know I love my herbs and spices and here we’re encouraged to eat plenty of them with every meal!
  • Garlic and onions. No savory meal can go without these in my opinion and they’re actually full of beneficial life-saving molecules.

Enjoy Every Week

  • Eggs. Eggs can be a very healthy and nutritious part of your diet. The Mediterranean food pyramid recommends enjoying two to four servings a week.
  • Fish and Seafood – enjoy these sources of healthy fats, selenium and protein at least twice a week. Studies have shown that eating fish at least once a week is linked to a 50% risk reduction of sudden death compared to people who rarely eat fish.
  • Meat. I know, many people suggest meat, especially red meat isn’t a part of the Mediterranean diet, but they’ve probably never been to countries like Greece, Italy, Turkey or Spain. Poultry, red and even processed meat are a part of the dietary pattern in these countries. They’re just a much smaller part of it. Are white, red or processed meat the healthiest thing to enjoy every day? No. But they still exist as part of the Mediterranean dietary pattern. So, you can enjoy white or red meat one to a maximum of two times a week.
  • Sweets. Yes, there’s even room for dessert – once or twice a week, on special occasions. Let’s go back to that!

Now, keeping all of this in mind, remember that the Mediterranean eating pattern is actually more of a lifestyle than a diet. Food pyramids are just guidelines. You don’t want to measure everything and go crazy about every single detail.

The objective remains to keep your food seasonal and to consume vegetables, fruit and healthy fats like olive oil at every meal. You can even enjoy some wine! Whether you have four or five servings of eggs a week won’t make a huge difference. What will make a huge difference is if you don’t have your vegetables and fruit. So keep that in mind to create the right priorities.

It’s a Mediterranean Lifestyle

Now, what I actually LOVE about the Mediterranean diet pyramid is that it also considers our habits and behaviors. All the kale in the world can’t make you healthier if all you do is sit alone, drink a smoothie and scroll on your phone all day long.

What and how we eat is just one part of how we live. In that sense, here are some good habits to start, recommended as part of the Mediterranean lifestyle:

  • Move your body every day. For at least thirty minutes every day and have fun with it! Make it simple by walking, taking the stairs, and enjoying outdoor activities with others.
  • Rest. Give yourself a mental and physical break to recover on a daily basis. Rest is just as important, if not even more important, as the actions you take. And by rest, I mean something different than watching TV. Maybe it’s writing in your journal, watching the stars or playing a board game with your family or friends. Or maybe just doing nothing – no noise, no stimulation, just pure rest.
  • Socialize. This is a HUGE part of why people in Mediterranean countries live longer and have a lower risk of heart disease. They cook, eat, laugh and do many other things together! All that to say: don’t underestimate the importance of having a (offline) community!
  • Hydrate! Drinking enough water is crucial for living a healthy life.
  • Get involved in the production of your food. This includes gardening, cooking and preserving food.

Mediterranean Diet Benefits

The first time researchers became suspicious about the Mediterranean diet and its possible health benefits was in the 1960’s. It was around that time that multiple doctors in Southern Europe started recognizing that the rates of coronary heart disease were incredibly low in the region.

Over the years the traditional Mediterranean diet has been linked to longevity and reduced risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinsons, certain types of cancer (e.g. breast and colon cancer) as well as mortality from cardiovascular disease. (source)

The reason this dietary pattern is good for our overall health is the fact that it’s extremely rich in healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats as well as healing flavonoids present in olive oil as well as vegetables and other plants (source). Your body uses these nutrients to recover better and nourish new and existing cells.

In comparisson, standard Western diets (e.g. in Northern Europe or the US) are rich in saturated fats, have a high glycemic index and are poor in essential nutrients…We’re not even talking about flavonoids and other non-essential antioxidants. When your body doesn’t have a way of getting essential nutrients, it can’t recover and function efficiently. This can result in various diseases and reduced life span as well as quality of life.

So, let’s start doing better and add the good stuff to our diet…This meal plan can be just the beginning.

The Mediterranean Diet Recipes

To make it easier for you, this is an overview of all the recipes included in the sample Mediterranean diet meal plan below. Pick and choose what and how much you want to make during this next week!

Mediterranean Breakfast Recipes

Start your day right with these fantastic breakfast ideas! As mentioned, you don’t have to follow the plan religiously, you can switch things up and prepare what you feel like in the morning. Most of these Mediterranean breakfasts are ready in about 10 minutes.

  • Mediterranean Breakfast Eggs
  • Overnight Oats
  • Mediterranean Avocado Toast
  • Oatmeal Crepes
  • Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

Mediterranean Lunch And Dinner Ideas

As you’ll notice many of the lunch and dinner ideas on this diet plan are either meatless or include seafood/salmon. That said, if you don’t like salmon, you can also use whichever type of fish you enjoy. I highly recommend fish that’s richer in omega-3s like mackerel, sardines or herring.

We’ll be cooking dinner in the evenings and enjoying leftovers for lunch! And when I say cooking in the evenings, most of these meals will be ready in about 30 minutes.

  • Quinoa Detox Salad
  • Mediterranean Salmon Wraps
  • Mediterranean Green Bean Skillet
  • 5-Minute Mediterranean Bowl
  • Easy Bean Soup
  • Tomato Garlic Shrimp
  • Avocado Black Bean Salad
  • Mediterranean Chickpea Wraps

To Prepare For The 7-Day Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan

To prepare for this Mediterranean diet meal plan, after you do your groceries, you can wash and cut the vegetables, so that they’re ready to use in the recipes below. Make sure to let the vegetables dry before you put them into airtight containers in the fridge. This will really save you time when you’re cooking throughout the week.

Here are some more foods to prepare at the beginning of the week:

  • cook quinoa
  • hummus
  • tzatziki
  • wash and chop vegetables

Some of the recipes can also be fully meal-prepped (if you’re of course into meal prep). I personally love making fresh food from scratch, but it’s pretty handy to have some cooked quinoa, hummus, tzatziki or chopped vegetables ready in the fridge.

7-Day Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan

As mentioned multiple times – mix and match the recipes to your own liking and keep in mind that we’re all different and have different nutritional needs! Also, don’t forget to adjust the recipes to however many people you’re going to share the meals with. For example, the following plan is for two people.

Day 1:

Breakfast: Mediterranean Breakfast Eggs. Double the recipe for two! If you wish you can also turn this recipe into egg muffins for a more practical grab-and-go breakfast.

Lunch: Quinoa Detox Salad. Make sure to cook some quinoa the day before, so that you can make this refreshing salad in no time for lunch. The recipe says it makes 4 servings, but that’s if you serve it as a side. So to make it for two people, keep the recipe as is.

Dinner: Mediterranean Salmon Wraps. I love these salmon wraps! If you can’t have gluten or dairy, you can use gluten-free tortillas and this cashew sauce to make them dairy- and gluten-free. We will be enjoying the leftovers for lunch on day 2.

Snacks and Dessert: Fruit and seeds or nuts of choice!

Day 2:

Breakfast: Overnight Oats With Fruit and Nuts. Make the base the night before! Use seasonal fruit and if you wish top with some nut butter of choice. To make this recipe for two, you will need to double it.

Lunch: Mediterranean Salmon Wraps

Dinner: Mediterranean Green Bean Skillet. Double the recipe for two, in order to have leftovers on the next day. Serve with some of your favorite bread of choice!

Snacks and Dessert: Fruit and seeds or nuts of choice!

Day 3:

Breakfast: Mediterranean Avocado Toast. You’ll be pretty full after a serving of this tasty Mediterranean breakfast toast! Make sure to double the recipe to make it for two (so 2-3 eggs and 2 slices of bread).

Lunch: Mediterranean Green Bean Skillet (use leftovers!)

Dinner: 5-Minute Mediterranean Bowl. Use the cooked quinoa and make four bowls in order to have leftovers for two people the next day. Make sure to use whole cherry tomatoes and to not add dressing to the salad – just cut up vegetables. Store in airtight containers in the fridge.

Snacks and Dessert: Fruit and seeds or nuts of choice!

Day 4:

Breakfast: Overnight Oats With Fruit And Nuts. Double the recipe and make the base the night before.

Lunch: 5-Minute Mediterranean Bowl (use leftovers)

Dinner: Easy Bean Soup. Nothing to change about this recipe – it makes 4 servings and will be ready in about 20-30 minutes using canned beans. I recommend enjoying with some bread and avocado or other vegetables!

Snacks and Dessert: Fruit and seeds or nuts of choice!

Day 5:

Breakfast: Mediterranean Breakfast Eggs. Double the recipe to make for two.

Lunch: Easy Bean Soup (eat leftovers!)

Dinner: Mediterranean Chickpea Wraps. Instead of 1 cup, make 1 1/2 cups of the spiced chickpeas to have two people covered for two days. Also store the vegetables for the salad without dressing, use whole cherry tomatoes too, otherwise it won’t last a long time in the fridge.

Snacks and Dessert: Fruit and seeds or nuts of choice!

Day 6:

Breakfast: Oatmeal Crepes with fruit and honey – or with whatever you enjoy! I actually recommend you double the recipe, because I always eat a bit more of these than 1/2 of the recipe. If you’ve got any crepe batter left, you can put it in the fridge and use it for the next day.

Lunch: Mediterranean Chickpea Wraps – use leftovers and fill right before serving.

Dinner: Garlic Shrimp in Tomato Sauce – nothing to change here. Serve with some toasted bread and some greens or fresh herbs on the side! I love making this simple dish fresh for dinner and we’ll be making it again for dinner the next day.

Snacks and Dessert: Fruit and seeds or nuts of choice!

Day 7:

Breakfast: Banana Oatmeal Pancakes. Double the recipe to make it for two people. Or if you’ve got leftover batter from the Oatmeal Crepes you make those instead!

Lunch: Avocado Black Bean Salad – this salad is super healthy and easy to put together for lunch and makes two servings.

Dinner: Garlic Shrimp in Tomato Sauce (as you can tell, I love this one!)

Snacks and Dessert: Fruit and seeds or nuts of choice!

Mediterranean Diet Plan Grocery List

You can find and download the grocery list for this Mediterranean diet plan here.

I truly hope you enjoy this meal plan full of beginner-friendly delicious and healthy Mediterranean diet recipes! If you feel like you’re not on the right track, let this be the beginning of your journey to cooking more and better and enjoying a healthier, more active and happier lifestyle!

Other Healthy Meal Plans:

  • 14-Day Clean Eating Meal Plan For Beginners
  • 7-Day Gluten Free Dairy Free Meal Plan
  • 7-Day Vegan Meal Plan

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