Here's What A Dietician Really Thinks About The Mediterranean Diet

If you scroll through TikTok, Instagram, or Pinterest, you've most likely seen posts about the Mediterranean diet. It might sound exotic, thinking about all those fabulous dishes from Greece, Italy, or Morocco. But the Mediterranean Diet isn't about gyros or falafel. "The Mediterranean diet emphasizes fresh, wholesome ingredients and encourages an active lifestyle," says Melissa Wasserman Baker, certified RDN and the founder of FoodQueries. "Therefore, it is often seen as a very sustainable and healthy way to eat for long-term health benefits." These benefits include promoting heart and brain health, protecting against certain types of cancer, and managing your weight.

The Mediterranean diet limits highly processed foods, which means you'll be spending some time in the kitchen. Baker says it's a great way to rekindle that love for cooking. "Preparing meals from scratch, using fresh ingredients, and focusing on well-balanced meals helps to remind us of the importance of traditional cooking methods," she said. "Additionally, this type of diet encourages mindful eating as well, which is a key aspect of overall health and wellness."

Common issues with the Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean Diet will have you basing your meals around vegetables, beans, and whole grains while including fatty fish such as tuna and salmon in moderation. Baker says these foods can add up on your grocery bill, so you'll need to budget accordingly. However, if you plan your meals in advance, you can buy your ingredients in bulk to save time and money. Preparing meals from scratch can also take a considerable amount of time and planning, Baker says. If you're already pressed for time, the Mediterranean diet might not be for you.

Because the Mediterranean diet prioritizes plants but limits dairy and red meat, some people could feel it's rather restrictive. After all, a juicy slice of pepperoni pizza isn't on the plan. Baker says that the Mediterranean diet could lead to boredom after a while. She suggests planning a wide variety of foods to break up the monotony. "Try exploring different recipes and incorporating seasonal produce so you don't get bored with the same old meals all the time," Baker says.

If you enjoy eating at restaurants, remember that those succulent items on the menu could tempt you to eat unhealthy food. Baker suggests making eating out a treat rather than a regular habit. After all, the Mediterranean diet is all about a healthy lifestyle that you can sustain for the long term.