Today’s guest post came about after I announced National Shrimp Day on my Facebook page last week. Rachel Greenstein, communications manager for oldwayspt.org, emailed me with a very clever, eye catching subject line:
Olive oil, avocados, leafy greens, beans, whole grains…if these foods are in your diet, hurray – you are well on your way to following the Mediterranean Diet.
- Stock your pantry with versatile Med ingredients so you always have foods like olive oil, canned tomatoes, tuna, rice, pasta, and other whole grains on hand. It’s amazing how many easy Mediterranean meals you can make from a well-stocked pantry, when there’s no time to shop.
- Use a blender to make Med-style smoothies for breakfast or as fuel for afternoon snacks, by combining yogurt with your favorite fruit. Frozen fruits (including berries) are especially good – they eliminate the need for any ice.
- When it’s sandwich time, match better breads with better spreads. Start with crusty whole grain breads and rolls or pita pockets – tastier and healthier than standard white bread – then spread with hummus, mustard, pesto or another flavorful Med spread. Add foods such as tuna, sliced turkey or chicken, lettuce, sprouts, shredded raw carrots, thin slices of cheese, and sliced apples.
- Keep pre-cooked frozen shrimp in your home freezer. Shrimp cooks quickly, making it an easy addition to one-pot sautés and pasta dishes.
- Use meat as a flavoring instead of a main component in a meal. Add small strips of sirloin to a sauté that features lots of vegetables, or add a small amount of diced prosciutto to a dish of pasta.
- Eat a vegetarian meal one night each week. When that feels comfortable, try two nights per week.
- Keep snacks simple. For instance, top pita bread with a slice of tomato and a few tablespoons of grated cheese and broil for a minute to create a healthy mini-pizza. Marinate olives in olive oil, lemon zest, coriander seeds and cumin seeds and enjoy as a tasty snack. Or, fill celery stalks with hummus or different nut butters.
- Brown bag it to work. Toss some leftover whole grains into a thermos of soup or vegetable stew before you screw on the lid to make your lunch even healthier. Fill a whole-grain pita pouch with Greek salad and put the dressing in a separate container; add the dressing just before eating to keep the sandwich from getting soggy. Keep whole grain bread in the freezer and make a sandwich using frozen bread and hummus, sprouts, leafy greens, sliced peppers, turkey, chicken, or smoked salmon. By lunchtime the thawed bread will taste fresh.
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