How to Bring The Mediterranean Diet to Your Table
TheMediterranean Diet is everywhere. Its health benefits are making headlines from coast to coast and cooks everywhere are incorporating it into creative and fun recipes. But the Mediterranean Diet is not just about recipes or lowering cholesterol. It’s a blueprint for a healthy lifestyle that includes time spent with family and friends.
The Mediterranean Diet reflects a way of eating that is traditional in the countries that surround the Mediterranean. In these cultures, meals are carefully prepared and are savored. Family and friends come to together to enjoy the delicious flavors and textures of their food and enjoy a sense of community.
But you don’t need to travel any further than your local grocer, such as Sara’s Market and Bakery in Richardson (add website link), to bring the remarkable cultural and health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet to your table every day. Sara’s offers a complete selection of produce and products. Click here for a downloadable shopping list.
And here are great tips to to get started
To get your family involved in preparing meals, take them around the world without leaving the kitchen.Schedule theme nights such as “A Night in Tuscany” and make a hearty soup with beans and farro. Experiment with the different flavors of each region and get your kids excited about trying new dishes. AND let your kids help prepare the meals. If your children don’t learn basic kitchen skills they’ll regret it later in life and won’t have a legacy to pass along to their children.
If hamburgers are popular in your household, try substituting Mediterranean wraps with spicy hummus or pitas stuffed with tabbouli and falafel.
Mediterranean vegetables are very versatile, so experiment with different cooking methods. Kids often prefer a raw or roasted carrot to a steamed one. Green almonds are in season now and can be found at markets like Sara’s this spring. These fuzzy green delicacies will surely intrigue them and please them as snacks. Eggplant that is sliced, brushed with olive oil and lightly browned on both sides under the broiler may have more appeal than when it is sautéed – and soft. Try serving potatos as healthy, oven-baked fries rather than mashed with butter and cream.
Make your own trail mix. The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid recommends eating small amounts of nuts in order to benefit from their healthy proteins, fats, and fiber. In a large bowl, combine peanuts, chopped walnuts, almonds, raisins, dried cranberries or blueberries, and whole grain cereal. Package it in “snack-size” zip-lock bags to have on hand for car trips and lunch boxes.
Add veggies to the foods your kids already like. If pancakes are popular, add some grated carrots, or shredded zucchini to the batter. Toss frozen peas and corn with pasta or mac and cheese. Or, add diced sautéed onions, peppers and feta to scrambled eggs.
Dice up apples and strawberries or toss a few blueberries into the morning meal. If your child is looking for a savory snack, offer up black or green olives as nutritious option. Stock up on clementines, grapes, pears, and melon for after school munching. Encourage kids to eat fresh fruit rather than drinking fruit juice for a better source of fiber, which is often lacking in their diets.
When kids need an after-school snack, offer up small bowls of Mediterranean dips like hummuis, tzatziki, baba ghannouj, and spicy muhammara. Pair the dips with an ever changing variety of fresh vegetables, or offer whole grain pita bread for dipping.
Additional tips and recipes can be found at http://www.livestrong.com/article/340564-mediterranean-diet-for-kids/” \l “ixzz2R8dOFqg8