Cooking light is all relative to what it is your diet already consists of. However, it is a change that can have drastic health benefits for you and your family. Things like switching from butter to olive oil, complex carbohydrate items to whole grains, and red meat to fish are simple ideas but have been proven to increase overall health and well-being.
These methods all encompass the Mediterranean Diet and style of cooking. Cooking light and healthy can be easy as long as you know what types of foods to be cooking in the first place! Here are the staples of the Mediterranean diet as a reference for your future cooking endeavors:
•Oilve Oil - “The ultimate fat.” Contains monosaturated fats, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents, Omega-3 fatty acids, and can help decrease the risk of heart disease.
•Vegetables - Full of antioxidants, vitamins, fiber, potassium, calcium, B-carotene, folate. Things like peppers, tomatoes, spinach, eggplant, artichokes, broccoli, rabe, and dark leafy greens are some of the best.
•Fruits - Any color, any shape, any form. Apples, grapes, pomegranates, bananas are super fruits.
•Legumes/Grains - Contain high fiber, magnesium, vitamins E & D, protein, calcium, iron, zinc, and folate. Some of the best are chickpeas, lentils, and whole grain products.
•Fish/Shellfish - Fantastic sources of protein, high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Stick with things like tuna, salmon, bass, squid, and shrimp.
•Red Wine - In moderation (one or two small glasses daily), has proven to have a ton of health benefits. Increases HDL, helps digestion and absorption of nutrients, and can help regulate blood sugar.
•Nuts - Perfect snack! Monosaturated fats, high in amino acids, protein, and fiber. Vitamins E, folate, calcium, and magnesium all present in these super snacks.
•Low/Non Fat Dairy - Feta and goat cheeses, yogurts, skim milk, cottage cheese, other reduced or non fat dairy items.
•Red Meat - IN MODERATION…Consume lean cuts of meat like lamb or veal.
To make the change in your diet to that of the Mediterranean style is really simple. This is because the food types, cooking methods, and even tastes are very much familiar to most, if not all of us. The changes needed should be small, gradual yet deliberate and must be sustainable to ensure comfortable success for the long term.
Stick to these super foods and healthy cooking will become easier than you thought. It doesn’t take a huge change, just a different way of thinking about foods to make a big difference.
Eat, Drink, and BE Mediterranean!
Eat Better, Fresher, Smarter