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Simple Mediterranean dishes are easy to come by.
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The Mediterranean diet is a healthful eating plan that, according to MayoClinic.com, reduces risk of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's and other chronic diseases. The diet limits red meat consumption to a few times monthly and it allows poultry, eggs and dairy a few times weekly to once daily. It encourages you to eat fish and seafood often, a minimum of twice weekly. You must base every meal on the Mediterranean diet around whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits, vegetables, olive oil, herbs or spices.
Breakfast based on fruits, vegetables, grains or legumes isn't as common as eggs or dairy to start every day, but it is equally tasty. A basic Mediterranean breakfast sandwich could include whole-grain toast with apple slices, slivered almonds and a thin slice of low-fat cheese. The next day, you could eat low-fat granola cereal in milk with sliced pear, sliced banana and chopped walnuts. For a rushed morning, make a smoothie with mixed berries, banana, flaxseed and 100 percent fruit juice; make it thick by blending in ice cubes or using frozen berries. Another day, have oatmeal with almonds, pumpkin seeds and orange sections. If you're craving eggs, cook an omelet in olive oil and fill it with salmon, onion and asparagus.
Mediterranean lunches are a snap to prepare and present plenty of choices. Try a lentil soup with red lentils, vegetable broth, onion, olive oil and cumin. Make enough for three or four lunches in one batch. When your lentil soup is gone, make a salad for two or three lunches from orange sections, torn leafy lettuce, sliced black olives, olive oil and lemon juice. Another salad with torn spinach, arugula and other greens tossed with cherry tomatoes, lemon juice, feta cheese and almonds will take care of the next few days. Take a break between the salads, if you wish, and have whole-wheat pasta topped with simmered tomato, onion and olive oil sauce.
Large dinners leave leftovers to take to lunch on busy days or give you a break from cooking tomorrow's dinner. Whole-wheat spaghetti tossed with olive oil, minced garlic, roasted tomatoes, spinach leaves and Parmesan cheese is sure to please, particularly when served with a simple salad. Broiled salmon brushed with fresh orange juice and olive oil is delicious served over a bed of cooked beans and chopped tomatoes. Broiled chicken the next day provides contrast when flavored with crushed garlic and fresh lime juice, served over steamed spinach. Lastly, grill your favorite kind of fish with olive oil and crushed garlic, two flavors that work well with most seafood. A side of roasted potatoes, carrots and other root vegetables completes your dinner. A glass of red wine with dinner is always a Mediterranean-friendly option, if you would like.
Snacking is fun and easy on the Mediterranean diet. A quick one is green or black olives tossed with fresh lemon juice and a sprinkling of cumin; keep a bowl of these in your refrigerator for on-the-go bites. Roasted kale dipped in Greek yogurt is another basic snack option. For days when you have more time, put together a Mediterranean picnic with a handful of cherry tomatoes, a few olives, a slice of hard cheese and a small chunk of whole-grain bread.