Bring Mediter­ranean to your ta­ble

Truro Daily News - - Colchester County - Jen­nifer Fer­gu­son

You may have heard the buzz about the Mediter­ranean way of eat­ing. It’s a diet based on tra­di­tional foods from coun­tries that sur­round the Mediter­ranean Sea, such as Italy, Greece, Spain, Turkey and Le­banon. Each of­fers fresh, dis­tinc­tive and de­li­cious flavours. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Re­search shows eat­ing the Mediter­ranean way can re­duce your risk of heart dis­ease and other chronic dis­eases. You don’t have to travel to get started; your gro­cery store is wait­ing for you to dis­cover all the Mediter­ranean flavours it has to of­fer. Your taste buds, and your heart, will thank you!

A Solid Foun­da­tion

Eat­ing to­gether is an im­por­tant part of the Mediter­ranean meal. It’s a great time to en­joy food and catch up on the events of the day with fam­ily and friends. Even when sched­ules are busy, try set­ting aside time to share a meal around the ta­ble with the peo­ple you care about.

Fo­cus on Plant-based Foods Tra­di­tional Mediter­ranean meals are planned around plant-based foods. Foods eaten daily:

• Veg­eta­bles and fruit

• Whole grains

• Nuts and seeds

• Beans and lentils

• Herbs and spices

• Olive oil Foods eaten daily to weekly:

• Fish and seafood (at least twice per week)

• Poul­try and eggs

• Dairy prod­ucts such as plain Greek yo­gurt and small amounts of flavour­ful cheese Foods eaten less of­ten:

• Meats and sweets are eaten less of­ten and are in­stead, used to add flavour and va­ri­ety to meals. Tips for Get­ting Started

You can make Mediter­raneanin­spired meals from the com­fort of your kitchen!

• Fill half your plate with veg­eta­bles at lunch and din­ner.

• Fo­cus on fruit at break­fast and for desserts.

• Choose whole grains more of­ten. Try some­thing dif­fer­ent like bul­gur, wild rice or farro.

• Use olive oil in­stead of but­ter or short­en­ing.

• Plan a veg­e­tar­ian meal at least once a week or add beans, lentils, nuts and seeds to dishes you al­ready make.

• Flavour food with gar­lic, herbs, spices and lemon zest in­stead of salt.

Mediter­ranean Made Easy

• New to us­ing legumes? Start with lentils. They are small in size and have a mild flavour. Try adding dried lentils to soup. They cook quickly and don’t need to be soaked ahead of time. Also try adding canned lentils (drained and rinsed) to sal­ads or pasta sauces.

• Spread hum­mus on sand­wiches or use as a dip for raw veg­eta­bles and whole wheat pita bread.

• Add a new zip to your dip. Try tzatziki (yo­gurt and cu­cum­ber dip) in­stead of your old standby.

• Sprin­kle nuts on yo­gurt, oat­meal, ce­real or stir fry.

• Use pesto as a mari­nade for chicken or toss with hot pasta.

• Make pizza by spread­ing pesto or tomato sauce on a whole grain pizza crust. Add left­over chicken, feta cheese and your favourite veg­gies. It’s quicker than take out!

• Look for freeze dried herbs and herb pastes in the pro­duce depart­ment. You will have the taste of fresh herbs with­out the chop­ping, and no waste!

Hun­gry for more? Like @ Sobeys­di­eti­tian on Face­book and Twit­ter for more tasty tips and recipes or re­ceive our sched­ule of events and Healthy Bits & Bites Newslet­ter di­rectly to your in­box. Reg­is­ter at www. sobeysphar­ /newslet­ter.

Nu­tri­tion Events

Want to learn more about giv­ing your meals a Mediter­ranean twist? Join Jen­nifer for a free class on plant-based meals. Tues­day, Sept. 11, 2 to 3:30 p.m. Call 902895-7382 to reg­is­ter.

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