Mediterranean Diet Week 5: Protein

Proteins are our bodies building blocks that help heal wounds, build muscle, and grow our hair and nails. And that is only the tip of the iceberg on the functions of protein. Here in America we seem to think that protein is good so more must be better, when in reality protein should be eaten in moderation just like everything else. Our bodies require a certain amount of protein each day, no more, no less. If more protein is eaten than our body needs, then that extra protein will be turned into fat.

Protein is not the star of the show in the Mediterranean Diet. Instead, it is one of the supporting roles. No diet is complete without protein, and the Mediterranean Diet limits protein to about ¼ of the plate. Protein can be found in animal-based foods and plant-based foods. The Mediterranean Diet includes lean protein sources that are lower in saturated fat. Fish and poultry are eaten at least two times a week and red meat is typically limited to a few times a month. Other sources of protein come from low-fat dairy, eggs, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

Roasted Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)

Protein should be included at all meals and snacks.

  • Pair nut butter with an apple or banana for a snack

  • Eat low-fat cheese with whole grain crackers

  • Top low-fat, plain Greek yogurt with fruit

  • Have low-fat milk with your cereal or oatmeal at breakfast

  • Top your salad with nuts and seeds

  • Grill chicken or fish for dinner

  • Make eggs in the morning for a filling breakfast

  • Eat hummus and whole grain crackers for a snack

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