Family and Consumer Science staff member at NC Cooperative Extension, Brunswick County Center

We’re about a week into the New Year. How are you doing with that resolution to eat healthier? If that is a goal, but you’re not sure how to do it, consider a way that doesn’t involve excessive dieting, a major lifestyle change, or unusual foods. Sounds too good to be true? It isn’t. This is one resolution that you can keep. I’m talking about eating the “med” way or a Mediterranean-style diet.

The “Med Way” incorporates the basics of healthy eating that has been traditionally practiced in countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. This type of eating has been shown to promote health and decrease risks of many chronic diseases such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Eating the Med Way can decrease your risk of some forms of cancer.  It has been found to be more effective than a low-fat diet for weight loss. The Med Way also may decrease the risk of macular degeneration and dementia. Not only is it healthy eating, but delicious and satisfying.

Catfish, corn and quinoa stir fry, and greens with cilantro lime slaw.

Here are the basics:  

  • Get at least five cups of fruits and vegetables every day. 
  • Eat primarily plant-based foods. Replace red meat with plant proteins, such as beans and legumes often. 
  • Choose whole grain foods such as oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice and popcorn often.
  • Choose at least three-ounces of nuts and seeds per week. 
  • Swap the solid fats like butter and margarine in your diet for olive oil. 
  • Use herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor to foods.
  • Eat seafood at least three times per week. 
  • Be physically active. Aim for at least 150 minutes per week or 30 minutes each day.
  • Drink red wine in moderation (this is optional).
  • Limit yourself to no more than three servings per week of sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages.