The Mediterranean Diet – Best Diet of 2019
Inspiration | 15th February 2019
As a Registered Dietitian, I am always delighted to see a diet coming up trumps which boasts overwhelming evidence around its health benefits. From lowering the risk of cancer to reducing heart disease and diabetes, the science continues to grow.
Although it is termed a ‘diet’, really the Mediterranean Diet is more an eating style. It’s brimming with plant-based foods like antioxidant and fibre rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, as well as healthy fats such as olive oil and nuts, also to include moderate amounts of low-fat proteins such as seafood, lean chicken and red meat.
Consumers like this way of eating because it involves making modifications to their dietary habits without having to restrict food groups entirely. To help draw in the health-conscious consumers, restaurants can incorporate Mediterranean style cooking into their dishes in the following ways;
- Bring on the flavour using herbs and spices rather than using salt. Many herbs and spices complement sauces, dressings, marinades or soups.
- Increase colour and variety using a range of fruits and vegetables. Remember, adding colour also adds vitality to any salad using fresh seasonal fruits and hearty vegetables.
- Use alternative protein sources such as omega-3 boosting salmon or mackerel, or make substitutions with beans and legumes to infuse texture into dishes and add nuts and seeds as toppings to salads to bring in an extra crunch factor.
- Use of feta cheese and natural yoghurt feature strongly in dishes like stews and salads boosting flavour and changing the texture of dishes.
- Swap out saturated fats for extra-virgin olive oil to flavour salads and drizzle over vegetables and pasta. Rapeseed oil or other vegetable oils can add a different flavour.
- Choose 100% whole grains in dishes where possible. Think of using the likes of quinoa, bulgur wheat, whole-wheat pasta and wild rice in place of refined grains.
Focusing on getting consumers to try new foods rather than restrict specific foods will have a more lasting and positive impact on our consumer’s health, plus it can be implemented easily all year round