Build your meals around nutrient-rich foods to make Mediterranean style meals focusing on:
Mostly plant foods, lean protein such as seafood or occasionally lean poultry, beans, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, mono fat.
Why? 1. Vegetables, fruits, seafood, lean poultry and whole grains have a low caloric density. Calorie density, also known as calories per pound, is how much energy, i.e. calories, is provided per unit measure of food. Choosing foods with a low calorie density can help with weight loss. 2. These foods are nutrient dense.
This is my favorite book containing a collection of quick to make grain bowls, stews and risottos, that will help you create meals using my build a meal template. The author showcases recipes for vegetarian and vegan meals as well as heartier ones with meat and seafood.
Vegetables ½ your plate
Salad greens or vegetable salads
Roasted asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, red pepper strips, mushrooms, etc.
Sautéed or stir fried mixed vegetables, kale, sugar snap peas
Broth based vegetable soup
Lean Protein ¼ of your plate
Shrimp, Salmon, Crab, Fish, Chicken or Turkey Breast, Egg Whites, Tofu and some tofu products, quinoa, Reduced Fat Cottage Cheese, Low Fat Greek Yogurt, Skim Milk
Healthy Carbs ¼ of your plate
Sweet potato or potato
Beans, peas, lentils, corn or green beans
Whole grain products: cereal, bread, tortillas, English muffins, pasta, crackers
Whole grains such as:
- Corn, including whole cornmeal and popcorn
- Oats, including oatmeal
- Rice, both brown rice and colored rice
- Sorghum (also called milo)
- Wheat, including varieties such as spelt, emmer, farro, einkorn, Kamut®, durum and forms such as bulgur, cracked wheat and wheatberries
- Wild rice
Products Spotlight: *Seeds of Change Quinoa and Brown Rice, precooked and microwavable *Barilla Whole Grain Pasta *Trader Joe’s Whole Grain Crispbread *Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Medley
Healthy Fat Small Amounts
Olive oil, olives, olive tapenade, canola oil
Avocado cream (see my blog)
Pesto, Costco’s Kirkland
Walnuts or almonds or other nuts
Seeds such as pumpkin, sesame, chia, hemp, flax, sunflower
Light salad dressing
Flavor Boosters Small amounts of the ones that are calorically dense
Rubs (Spike, El Gaucho, Salish Lodge, Rub with Love), Herbs and Spices, Ceylon Cinnamon, see here more Ceylon Cinnamon info, Turmeric, Salsa, Lemon, Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce, Barbecue Sauce, Sirracha, Chipotles in Adobo, Chili Sauce, mustard, Brummel and Brown Spread, vinegars, Miso, avocado cream, Reduced fat sharp cheddar, feta, goat cheese, reduced fat sour cream, dried fruits, Stevia and erythritol.
Foods to avoid: saturated fat, food colors, red meat, processed meat, deep fried foods, junky gluten-free products, agave (higher in fructose than other sugars), fast food, highly processed food, added sugar, refined grains like white flour, industrial vegetable oils, trans fats, fruit juice, alcohol, barbecued foods, high heat cooked food.