RECIPES & TIPS FOR Eating & Living
The Mediterranean Way


Good for you, Good for the planet Choosing to adopt the Mediterranean style of eating can lead to environmental and nutritional benefits. The Double Pyramid combines the Food Pyramid on the left, based on Mediterranean diet principles, with the Environmental Pyramid on the right, which is inverted to show the environmental impact of food based on calculating a greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption and land use. Side-by-side, the pyramids show that foods recommended most as part of the Mediterranean diet – fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, olive oil and grains, like pasta – are also the foods with a lesser impact on the environment.
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5 Tips for adopting the Mediterranean diet style of eating
Here are five easy ways that you can spring into a healthier, more sustainable diet that’s also one of the best tasting on earth.
1. Pasta makes the perfect partner
The science is clear: Yes, you can enjoy pasta as part of a healthy diet! And pasta makes an affordable, delicious base for many other healthy classic Mediterranean ingredients such as vegetables, legumes, nuts, seafood and healthy vegetable-based sauces. Following the traditional Mediterranean style of eating also means sensible portions – about one to two cups of cooked pasta on your plate, rounded out with lots of other nutritious ingredients. And now the pasta aisle has a variety of different pastas such as Barilla PLUS, which is a multi-grain pasta rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.
2. Pour on a little olive oil
The Mediterranean diet uses olive oil as the primary fat when cooking, making a salad, preparing veggies and even baking. Olive oil is known as "liquid gold" in the Mediterranean region due to its delicious flavor and the fact that it's brimming with good-for-your-heart monounsaturated fats. I recommend two types of olive oil: extra virgin olive oil to use as a base for pasta sauce, on salads, drizzled on beans and light cooking such as a veggie sauté, and a regular olive oil (which is more economical) for heavy duty cooking. Regular olive oil has a more neutral taste and lends itself as a healthy swap in many of your favorite recipes.
3. Plus up your dish with beans
Beans are one of nature's most overlooked superfoods! They are rich in protein and fiber but low in calories, making them a powerful food for a healthy body weight and sustained energy. In addition, beans are a good source of folic acid – a B vitamin that is associated with a healthy cardiovascular system. Plus, they are gentler on the earth, and a more sustainable source of protein than meat or pork (which are eaten more sparingly in the Mediterranean style of eating). Even better? Canned or dried beans are some of the best bargains in the grocery store.
4. Pack your plate with veggies and fruit
Plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables are a key part of the Mediterranean diet, and they’re also gentler on the planet. Load up half your plate with fruits and vegetables for a diet that's rich in potassium, fiber, antioxidants and other nutrients that help fight disease. And the bonus? Fruits and vegetables fill you up on fewer calories-helping you lose weight while staying satisfied. I call fruits and vegetables "foods for high energy and health that require low energy to produce." Good for you, good for the planet.
5. Pick protein-packed nuts for snacks
Nuts are one of my top tips for a snack with staying power. They are a great source of heart healthy fats, protein, vitamins, minerals and even antioxidants, and evidence suggests consuming one ounce of nuts a day helps promote a healthy heart, a trimmer waistline and improved cholesterol levels. In fact, a handful of nuts and a piece of fruit is a favorite Mediterranean-inspired snack. How much is 1 ounce? It’s about a handful – read the label to give you exact nut counts, as it varies among nuts.

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