Centralia Fireside Guard

Follow Us On:

Take a trip to the Mediterranean for heart health

Posted on Friday, February 8, 2019 at 6:48 am

In honor of American Heart Month, try a different approach to healthy eating, specifically the

A Greek quesadilla

A Greek quesadilla

Mediterranean diet.  For the first time, the Mediterranean diet is ranked 2019’s best overall diet by US News and World Report. This healthy eating plan is not a strict calorie-counting regimen, but a way of eating that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy, whole grains, legumes, fish and healthy fats.  If you‘d like your family to enjoy the healthful benefits of Mediterranean meals, these easy tips can get you started.

Dish Up Dairy Low-fat dairy is a flavorful part of meals and snacks on the Mediterranean diet, due to its versatility and variety. Choose strong-flavored cheeses like feta or parmesan in small portions to add flavor to your plate.  Enjoy plain, fermented or Greek yogurt as well as low fat milk, ricotta and mozzarella cheese.  “Dairy foods provide essential nutrients, including 8 grams of protein per serving.  It’s important to pair protein with other foods at meals and snacks to keep you fuller for longer, and adding dairy will do just that,” states Amanda Marsh, Nutrition Educator with St. Louis District Dairy Council.

Find More Fiber Fiber found in whole grains and legumes provides many health benefits, including lowering cholesterol and blood sugar. If you are growing tired of the same high fiber bread, swap it out for brown rice, bulgur, pinto beans or chickpeas.  Ancient grains, such as quinoa, amaranth, millet, farro, and spelt all have different tastes and textures.  Try a new variety each month as part of your meal planning.

Get Friendly with Fruits and Veggies The Mediterranean diet emphasizes 7 to 10 daily servings of fruits and vegetables, but how do you get all of those in?  Get creative when including them in meals and snacks.  Add spinach and peppers to your feta cheese omelet, pair fresh veggies with a seasoned yogurt based dip, and enjoy an apple with mozzarella cheese instead of crackers.  “Dairy compliments both fruits and vegetables, and can be a great way to sneak in extra servings, along with a punch of dairy nutrition,” states Marsh.

For more information on the Mediterranean diet, visit www.choosemyplate.gov.  For more information on dairy’s health benefits, visit www.stldairycouncil.org or contact Amanda Marsh with St. Louis District Dairy Council: call 314-835-9668 or e-mail amarsh@stldairycouncil.org.  For delicious and nutritious recipes, check us out on Facebook at STLDairyCouncil