Many people think that the Mediterranean Diet is a specific dietary plan, but actually it is a style of eating that originates from countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. This diet approach has been shown to lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, a pressing health problem in the United States. Read below to find out what contributes to a Mediterranean dietary lifestyle and how you can practice this healthy way of eating in the Rutgers dining halls.
Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are consumed more often than highly processed foods.Create your own Mediterranean combo in the dining halls by filling your tray with assorted veggies, dried fruit, chickpeas, and whole grains like quinoa or brown rice.
Water is the main beverage of choice and meals are rarely eaten on the go. By choosing water with your next meal and sitting down with friends (rather than opting for takeout) at the dining hall, you are already practicing a key part of a Mediterranean lifestyle.
Fish is eaten more frequently than meat. Fish is highly regarded as a lean protein source and a variety of fish is served daily in the dining halls. All other meats are eaten in limited quantities. No need to cut meat completely out of your diet, just practice moderation and portion control.
Consumption of healthy fat is key. Remember, not all fats are created equal. Healthy fats found in nuts and olive oil are Mediterranean staples. Try swapping creamy dressings or condiments for olive oil and add nuts instead of croutons. Every dining hall has a variety of nuts available and a bottle of olive oil at the salad bar.
There are various nutritional benefits of the Mediterranean lifestyle. For example, the Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFAs) found in olive oil and nuts aid healthy blood cholesterol levels, which may lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Fish contains heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, the consumption of whole plant foods boosts fiber, vitamins, and mineral content, contributing to the overall health and functioning of your body.