When thinking of the Mediterranean Sea, it is easy to let your mind wander to a happy place – to relax on a hill with a wonderful view of the sea while you eat olives, a plate of vegetables and a little fish. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Well, we can’t deliver the view, but the region’s dining style has been popular since the 1960s.
Put simply: “The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional eating habits of southern European countries (mainly Italy, Greece, Spain) with an emphasis on olive oil as an important ingredient for a heart-healthy diet,” explains holistic nutritionist Kristen Ciccolini.
And it’s great for your overall health, says nutritionist Kelly Schmidt: “The Mediterranean Diet is one of the most well-studied diets and is highly recommended by many health organizations and institutions, and even the US News & World Report consistently rates the Mediterranean Diet as the healthiest diet a total of.”
It really is for anyone trying to improve their overall health, Schmidt says. “Anyone trying to improve their health and diet can take the Mediterranean diet as a template and adapt elements of this type of food to their needs,” she says.
“The nice thing about the Mediterranean diet is that it is flexible and easy to follow,” says Schmidt. “A pressure cooker and slow cooker can help prepare stews, legumes, and grains with less effort.”
Instant Pot Duo Nova 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker ($ 79.99; amazon.com)
Instant Pot Duo Nova 7-in-1 electric pressure cooker
This extremely practical stove can prepare healthy meals in 70% of the time other cooking methods are used.
Crock-Pot 6-Quart Cook & Carry Programmable Slow Cooker ($ 51.49; amazon.com)
Crock-Pot 6-Quart Cook & Carry Programmable slow cooker
Set it up and forget about it (until dinner) with this handy slow cooker.
Lodge Preseasoned Cast Iron Pan with Assist-Handle Holder ($ 42.95; amazon.com)
Lodge upstream cast iron pan with auxiliary handle holder
Schmidt also points out that “a cast-iron pan can help with making a one-pan meal.” If you can’t snag your grandma’s old cast iron, this pre-seasoned pan is the next best thing.
Smithey Cast Iron Cookware No. 12 ($ 200; food52.com)
Smithey cast iron cookware No. 12
Strong enough to add some serious flavor to your fish, this highly rated cast iron is another excellent choice for your healthy trip.
Cuisinart Classic Stainless Steel, White, Triple Rivets, Cutlery Block Set ($ 99.99; target.com)
Cuisinart Classic cutlery set made of stainless steel, white, triple riveted
“I recommend getting a good knife set and cutting board if you can – you’ll be chopping a lot with whole foods!” Says Ciccolini. Chop vegetables like a pro with this premium kit!
Wusthof Classic Seven Piece Knife Block Set ($ 349.95; amazon.com)
Wüsthof Classic 7-piece knife block set
Here’s another set of the chef’s favorite brand that comes with seven pieces and a 15-slot wooden block.
Deik Knife Set High Carbon Stainless Steel Kitchen Knife Set ($ 58.99; amazon.com)
Deik knife set Stainless steel kitchen knife set with a high carbon content
This affordable set is also an Amazon shopper favorite.
Wüsthof Whetstone Sharpener ($ 39.95; amazon.com)
Wüsthof whetstone sharpener
Keep your knives sharp with this editor-favorite sharpener.
Ironwood Gourmet Square Charleston End Grain Chef’s Board ($ 47.59; amazon.com)
Ironwood Gourmet Square Charleston End Grain Chef’s Board, acacia wood
With this sturdy and attractive board you can easily stick to your new eating plan.
Find out which kitchen utensils are worth splurging on
Wondering if you can follow this plan? Ciccolini explains what to expect: “It’s essentially a whole food diet with an emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, herbs and spices, and poultry, and omega-3s and monounsaturated fats from seafood and olive oil . ”
Brightland The Duo ($ 74; hellland.co)
Brightland The Duo
Olive oil is a cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet and this set has one oil for cooking and one for serving and dipping – perfect for any mezze you will be preparing! Read our review of Brightland Olive Oil here.
Thrive Market Organic Greek Olive Mix ($ 2.99; gedeihmarket.com)
Thrive Market Organic Greek Olive Blend
Enjoy these hearty olives grown in Greece without the use of pesticides.
Wild-Caught Alaska Sockeye Salmon Box ($ 139.99; gedeihmarket.com)
Can of wild-caught Alaskan Sockeye Salmon
High in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is a large part of the Mediterranean diet. This box of high quality salmon will keep you on track.
Saffron Road Falafel Crispy Chickpeas ($ 6.99, amazon.com)
Saffron Road Falafel Crunchy Chickpeas
Saffron Road paired two Mediterranean favorites with their crispy falafel chickpeas.
Siggi’s Icelandic Skyr Açai and Mixed Berry Fat Yogurt, 12-Pack ($ 45.50, amazon.com)
Siggi’s Icelandic Skyr Açai and mixed berry-fat yogurt, 12-pack
Greek yogurt – yogurt that has been sifted to remove extra lactose and sugar, and high in calcium and vitamin D – is another staple of the Mediterranean diet.
“The 30 Minute Cookbook for the Mediterranean Diet: 101 Easy, Tasty Recipes for Lifelong Health” by Serena Ball & Deanna Segrave-Daly ($ 11.78; amazon.com)
“The 30-Minute Cookbook for the Mediterranean Diet: 101 Simple, Tasty Recipes for Lifelong Health” by Serena Ball & Deanna Segrave-Daly
If you need inspiration and guidance to get started, this easy cookbook has easy recipes you’ll love.
Flafster Kitchen Skewers for Grilling ($ 19.99; amazon.com)
Flafster kitchen skewers for grilling
Immerse yourself in the style of Mediterranean cuisine with these highly rated kebabs that grill or roast meat and vegetables.
Old Havana Plate ($ 78; anthropologie.com)
Old Havana plate
Serve all your delicious grilled vegetables and meat on this stylish, summery platter.
Hamsa Mezze Server ($ 65; uncommongoods.com)
Hamsa Mezze server
Or make a full mezze for family or guests with these trays, inspired by the hamsa protection symbol.
Remember, it’s not just about what you eat, but how you treat yourself as a whole. Ciccolini says: “Just as important as eating is the lifestyle, enjoying food in company with others and staying physically active.”
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