One of the most highly recommended diet plans for both weight loss and better overall health is the Mediterranean diet. This healthy plan is based on the premise of improving heart health while using foods generally found in Mediterranean countries. Following a Mediterranean diet plan has been proven to lead to an overall improvement in heart-related health issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Hypertension (a byproduct of high blood pressure) is also treated with this type of diet plan.
What Is A Mediterranean Diet?
There is not a specific diet that is called Mediterranean. Rather, it is an eating plan that features foods that are generally found naturally in this region, countries such as Italy, Greece, Spain and Middle East and Northern African nations. Meals are planned around vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Fish is used a lot in this type of diet and the intake of red meat is limited. Moderate amounts of dairy will be allowed but, as with red meat, the intake is restricted.
Meals are planned around plant based foods and involve the use of healthy fats. Olive oil and fatty fish are two basics in this style of diet plan, and nuts and seeds are added for additional healthy fats. Butter is used very infrequently, as are other unhealthy fats.
Getting started on a new diet plan, especially one that is very intensive like a Mediterranean diet, can be a real struggle. Not only is it hard to break life long eating habits, it’s also difficult to change cooking styles. That’s why we recommend starting out with cookbooks that are built around this diet plan. You can find excellent recipes for all types of meals and snacks, plus some of the cookbooks have weekly meal plans, helping you to plan and shop for all of the meals and snacks that you will be preparing for your new diet. Here are a few of our favorite cookbooks for either getting started or continuing on a Mediterranean diet.
The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook
We really like what this cookbook has to offer. There are 500 recipes here, all well written and with explanations to help you create the dishes while following a Mediterranean diet plan. Another plus is that the ingredients called for are very basic, you won’t have to special order any foods to make the recipes in this book.
Mediterranean Diet Meal Prep Cookbook
Here is another great cookbook for beginners who are just starting out on a Mediterranean diet. Not only are there some excellent recipes to be found but there is a 21 day meal planner that we think is a great way to get going on this diet. Besides the very useful 21 day meal planner there are sections for preparing foods aimed for active lifestyles. You will love these sections if you take a meal to work or want some diet friendly snacks during the day. Most of the recipes are also low sodium, giving the meals an extra health benefit.
Mediterranean Instant Pot Cookbook
We couldn’t list our favorite cookbooks without including at least one that uses an Instant Pot. Not only is Instant Pot the hottest kitchen appliance available, it is the perfect instrument to cook with when on a Mediterranean diet. This cookbook has a very nice assortment of recipes that have easy to follow, but specific, directions on how to use your Instant Pot. Not only are the recipes well written but there is a very nice assortment of cuisines and meals to be attempted.
The 30 Minute Mediterranean Diet Cookbook
A major stumbling point for many people who are trying a new diet plan is the amount of time needed to prepare meals. You are familiar with the food in your old diet plan, but this is new and it’s easy to get discouraged. This cookbook is perfect for overcoming the obstacle of time, each recipe is designed to be completed in 30 minutes or less. Containing over 100 tasty recipes, this is another well written and helpful cookbook for following a Mediterranean diet.
We have listed four of our favorite cookbooks for a Mediterranean diet but there are many more that are just as good. Remember to watch out for cookbooks that require exotic ingredients or contain complicated recipes. Those may be fine after you have been on the diet plan for a while but they are probably tough cookbooks to use to get started.