Category: Mediterranean Diet

Is it expensive to follow a Mediterranean diet?

 

On Monday, I did my grocery shopping for my first week following the Mediterranean Diet recommendations – you can see the food and ingredients I bought in the picture below. In addition to these, we already had olive oil, canned and dried beans, dry pasta/rice, bread, fresh vegetables, and canned/frozen fruit that I expect I’ll be using.

 

Mediterranean diet staples

 

Mediterranean Diet staples

Below is a summary of the nutrition staples I made to guide my grocery shopping throughout my time on the Mediterranean diet.

  • Proteins: fish (fresh, canned, or frozen), shellfish, canned or dried beans, nuts, seeds
    • Limited chicken, pork, and beef (1-2 servings of each per week)
  • Low- or non-fat dairy products: milk, yogurt, part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • Vegetables: select a variety – fresh, frozen, or canned (no salt added)
  • Fruit: select a variety – fresh, frozen, dried, or canned (in juice)
  • Grains (preferably whole grains): pasta, rice, bread, crackers
  • Beverages: tea, water, wine (if desired)
  • Other: olive oil, vinegar, herbs, spices, olives



 

The Cost of Following a Mediterranean Diet

Originally I was concerned that the Mediterranean Diet would be particularly expensive because of its emphasis on seafood. I was pleasantly surprised that I was still able to meet our normal grocery budget of $100 per week for our family of four (check out my series on Eating Well on a Budget if you want to know about how I do that) while shopping for the Mediterranean diet.

There are probably a few reasons I was able to easily stay within budget:

  • I had several Mediterranean Diet staples already in my pantry.
  • My family eats the same dinners, but lunches and breakfasts are often individual, so I wasn’t necessarily buying Mediterranean diet foods for all four of us for three meals per day all week. In addition to the foods pictured above, I purchased several items for the rest of my family that I won’t be eating.
  • While the Mediterranean Diet has some more expensive aspects (seafood, olive oil), it also has some lower-cost aspects (beans, pasta, rice, bread) and limits other higher-cost options like red meats. Altogether, they may balance each other out.

Since this is only the first week of shopping for a Mediterranean Diet, I’ll see in the upcoming weeks if it continues to match our normal grocery budget and keep you posted!



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Mediterranean Diet

 

You voted, and my next diet feature is the Mediterranean Diet!

 

The Mediterranean-style diet is often praised for its associations with improved longevity and low rates of chronic disease and certain cancers. The diet is based on the eating patterns of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, particularly Greece and southern Italy.1 The exact parameters of the Mediterranean diet are not entirely clear and vary somewhat depending on who you ask.2 Part of this stems from the fact that there are several different Mediterranean countries – each with their own unique culture. Their diets are distinct and therefore have different characteristics.

 

 

In general, however, there are some trends that are consistent. According to the American Heart Association and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the Mediterranean Diet includes:

  • high consumption of fruits, vegetables, bread and other cereals, potatoes, beans, nuts and seeds
  • fresh fruit as a daily dessert
  • olive oil as the prominent fat source
  • dairy products, fish and poultry in low to moderate amounts
  • less than 2 servings of red meat per week
  • 0-4 eggs per week
  • wine in low to moderate amounts1-2

 



 

The Fundación Dieta Mediterránea developed a food guide pyramid reflecting Mediterranean Diet recommendations as well:

 

 

Starting next Monday, I will be following these recommendations for 3 weeks and detailing the experience for you! I’ll be keeping tabs on how much it costs to follow, the challenges of following it, and more. Comment below with what you’d like to know about the Mediterranean Diet!

 



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References

1. Willet W C, et al. Mediterranean diet pyramid: a cultural model for healthy eating. June 1995. 61:6(1402S-1406S). https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/61.6.1402S.

2. American Heart Association. Mediterranean Diet. Reviewed April 2018. Accessed September 2019 at https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/mediterranean-diet.

Mediterranean Diet

 

Thanks to all of those who voted in the poll for my next featured diet! Your voices have been heard – my next feature will be…

 

the Mediterranean diet!

 

This diet, touted for its benefits for longevity and cardiovascular health, is a popular diet recommended by many doctors. In the coming weeks, I will be blogging about the research behind the Mediterranean diet. I will also follow the diet myself for 3 weeks to assess how easy it is to follow, how much it costs, and other lifestyle factors.

Mediterranean Diet