With so many types of diets out there, it can be difficult to determine which work and which don’t, or which are healthy and which are not. To help you out, we are providing a multi-part guide to understand the Mediterranean diet, which is recommended by our oncology dietitians. Part 5 of this series will provide some tips on how to get started on incorporating the Mediterranean Diet into your daily life. If you missed part 4, you can read it here.
- Keep your pantry stocked with versatile Mediterranean ingredients. Always having foods like olive oil, canned tomatoes, tuna, rice, pasta and other whole grains on hand can give you a base from which many easy Mediterranean meals can be made.
- Use a blender to make Med-style smoothies for breakfast or snacks. Combine yogurt with your favorite fruits. Frozen fruits eliminate the need for ice.
- For sandwiches, match better breads with better spreads. Use whole grain breads, rolls or pita pockets and spread with hummus, mustard or pesto. Add proteins like tuna, sliced turkey or chicken and top with lettuce, shredded raw carrots and thin slices of cheese.
- Keep pre-cooked frozen shrimp on hand. It cooks quickly, which makes it easy to add to pasta dishes. Canned salmon is great too.
- Use meat as flavoring rather than the main component of a meal. Add small strips of sirloin to a sauté with lots of vegetables, or add some diced prosciutto to a pasta dish.
- Eat a vegetarian meal one night each week. Once that feels comfortable, try twice a week.
Keep your snack choices simple and healthy with some of these Med-diet friendly suggestions.
- Top pita bread with a tomato slice and a few tablespoons of grated cheese. Broil for a minute to make a mini-pizza.
- Marinate olives in olive oil, lemon zest, coriander seeds and cumin seeds for a tasty snack.
- Make air-popped popcorn and toss with a bit olive oil and parmesan cheese.
- Eat lots of fruit. Try a peach with ricotta or cottage cheese, or eat apple slices with peanut butter.
- Fill celery stalks with hummus. Or, enjoy a piece of string cheese between meals.
Bring Your Lunch to Work
Avoid fast food or cafeteria meals by bringing your own Med-diet friendly lunch to work or school.
- Fill a whole-grain pita pouch with Greek salad and put the dressing in a separate container
- Bring a thermos of soup or vegetable stew
- Bring some leftover brown rice, quinoa or other whole grain and mix them with chopped raw vegetables and salad dressing
- Keep whole grain bread in the freezer and make a sandwich with hummus, sliced peppers, turkey, chicken or smoked salmon. By lunch the bread will taste fresh
- Bring a container of Greek yogurt, which has twice the protein of regular yogurt, and combine with chopped fruit and/or nuts
For recipes and info about nutrition services offered at the Community Cancer Center, click here.