The Mediterranean Diet Menu – Basic Tips to Get You Started The Mediterranean diet has been around for hundreds of years and is aptly named for the Mediterranean region from where it originates. The people of the region represent many countries and enjoy varied food choices, and yet their basic diet philosophies are the same. The region consistently ranks high as being home to many of the healthiest people in the world. So how best can you adapt the strategies of the Mediterranean diet and incorporate the many medical benefits the Mediterranean diet menu offers. Some basic tips and food choices to get you started. The first place to start would be how we stock our pantry and refrigerator. It’s time to change the way we shop. This change may be drastic for some and just a slight modification for others. Salads are a way of life here, as the salad is most often used as an appetizer utilizing many of the popular food choices found in the Mediterranean diet, as well as a side dish to the main meal. Olive oil is most often used as dressing of choice and it plays a major roll in the overall good health benefits found in the diet. Unlike many diets today the Mediterranean diet encourages fat consumption. Not those fats of the deep fried variety, but rather monounsaturated and omega fats that can be found in foods like avocados, nuts, olives, olive oil and oily fish. These foods have been medically linked to lower blood cholesterol levels and better cardiac health and are readily found in many of the Mediterranean diet recipes. Carbohydrates are also consumed on a regular basis in the forms of whole grains, found in breads, cereals and pastas. Herbs and spices are used to replace salt, and seasonal fruits and vegetables can be eaten in unlimited quantities. Excellent snack choices would be a variety of nuts such as walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts and especially almonds. Also consider fruits, and vegetables as great on the go snack choices. Red wine has been linked to many excellent health benefits and has been a staple in the Mediterranean diet menu for centuries. You would be hard pressed to find a dinner table in the region without a bottle of wine to accompany the meal. Moderation should be the rule here as those benefits diminish after 1 or 2 glasses. Consult your Physician first before consuming alcohol or consider replacing with grape juice, as it offers similar health benefits. Saturated or trans fats are found in foods like butter and margarines as well as whole milks and ice creams and should be avoided as they have been medically linked to heart disease, stroke and obesity. Red meats are eaten rarely; eggs and poultry are eaten in moderate amounts and dairy products like yogurts and goat cheeses can be eaten infrequently. The way of life in Mediterranean countries also adds to the phenomenon of the Mediterranean diet as meals are celebrations often lingered over with the company of friends and family. No meals on the go here or time spent in the drive through.