food and drink 13.8.2018 12:24 pm

Foods to avoid if you’re following a Mediterranean diet

Picture: iStock

Picture: iStock

If you’re eating thick crust, meaty, cheesy pizza then you’re on the American diet, not the Mediterranean one.

The true Mediterranean diet is a successful eating plan and lifestyle choice. It includes vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, grains and starches, some meat and eggs, and a little dairy. But there’s a potential downfall here.

The negative side of the Mediterranean diet is that we have a very limited knowledge of what real Mediterranean people actually eat, and their portion sizes – and these just happen to be the keys to this diet.

If your knowledge of Mediterranean food is based on what is served at take-away joints or restaurants, then you’re not well-equipped to cook for yourself on this diet.

While I fully support a well-balanced Mediterranean diet, I would suggest you do some research into good, healthy, portion-conscious recipes that can be your go-to meals for busy days.

Mediterranean food is all about fresh ingredients, full flavours, and good herbs and spices – all the things that make food really enjoyable. However, there are certain foods we would consider ‘Mediterranean’ that we should watch out for.

Picture: iStock

Here are some foods to avoid if you’re trying to follow the Mediterranean lifestyle for weight loss:

Cheesy, creamy risotto

Yes, risotto with lots of cheese and cream tastes amazing. But if you want to eat it as a normal meal, your portion size would have to be very small due to all of the calories from fats and carbs.

But if you truly love risotto, make a side dish portion for yourself. Cut the cheese content in half, and fill the rest of your plate with baked or steamed vegetables to ensure that you get all your essential vitamins and minerals.

Fried fish

… and anything else deep fried for that matter. ‘Fish and chips’ is only a healthy Mediterranean-inspired meal if you are grilling the fish, and the chips are a small portion of homemade potato wedges that have been baked in the oven, not deep fried.

Add a side salad including fresh tomatoes, cucumber, and a little fetta with an olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing for a nice refreshing addition to the meal.

Picture: iStock

Spaghetti carbonara

Spaghetti is a wonderful comfort food. But when eating comfort foods, we often end up eating portions which are far too big!

Creamy, cheesy carbonara sauce is packed with calories, and is a big no-no for a weight-loss diet (unless it’s your one and only cheat meal on a weekend).

If you’re really craving spaghetti and comfort, prepare a small portion of spaghetti (just enough for one serving per person so there aren’t any leftovers), and add a tomato-based sauce rather than a creamy one.

FILE PICTURE

File picture

Thick crust pizza

Pizza is awesome! It’s full of flavour, it has great texture, it has cheese, and it makes one feel full, warm and satisfied.

But pizza is not a healthy food choice, unless you have a few small slices of thin crust, vegetable pizza with a small quantity of cheese.

If you’re eating thick crust, meaty, cheesy pizza then you’re on the American diet, not the Mediterranean one. So choose your pizza wisely.

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