Meal Prep

Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan (7-Day Guide for Beginners)

If there was ever an absolute heart-healthy, delicious, and scientifically proven way to eat better it’s for sure the Mediterranean diet! For some simple recipes to get you started on your own Mediterranean diet meal plan check out these meal ideas below!
Example of Mediterranean Diet Foods


Everyone needs help coming up with meals sometimes. When you need Mediterranean diet recipes for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, there are classic and simple go-to’s you can rely on. By focusing on adding healthier foods, it’s easy to make meals you’ll look forward to eating. Start with what you want for your main dish and work around that! If you need some inspiration, we have a Mediterranean diet meal plan all worked out for you down below.  

Table of Contents 
What is the Mediterranean Diet?  
How to Eat Like You Live by the Mediterranean Sea 
Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan for the Week 
More Mediterranean Diet Recipes 
Your Gameplan for Eating Out on the Mediterranean Diet 


What is the Mediterranean Diet? 

The basis for the Mediterranean diet began when scientists in the 1960s and 1970s started looking at communities living by the Mediterranean Sea. They noticed that even impoverished locals living there lived longer and healthier lifestyles on average than wealthier citizens living in larger, more developed American cities like New York.  

The reason for this? People in New York indulged in rich diets composed of red meats and other fatty and processed foods. Even though people in countries like Italy, Spain, and Greece were eating high amounts of fat in their diets, they experienced less heart disease, obesity, mental decline, and other health issues like inflammation and eye disease.   

Science Supports the Mediterranean Diet as a Great Way to Stay Healthy 

Biologist Ancel Keys and chemist Margaret Keys were forerunners in publicizing their findings about the Mediterranean diet. Their Seven Countries Study results showed that following a Mediterranean-style diet could lead to a lower risk for cardiovascular diseases like hypertension, stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Though the study’s details are debated in some scientific circles today, nutritionists and doctors still support the Mediterranean diet as a solid way to lessen mortality rates and improve heart health.  


How to Eat As If You Live by the Mediterranean Sea 

The next best thing to actually living on the coast-side with warm sea breezes is eating like you do. You don’t need to live by the Mediterranean Sea to be as healthy as the people living there! 

Today a Mediterranean diet meal plan is defined as eating high amounts of olive oil, legumes, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fatty fish, a moderate amount of dairy and wine, and a low amount of non-fish meats. 

Here is a Mediterranean diet food list for the best foods that fulfill these categories: 

Fatty Fish  Vegetables Fruits Nuts/Seeds Whole Grains Legumes 
Herring Kale Apples Almonds Oats Beans 
Mackerel Tomatoes Pears Walnuts Brown Rice Peas 
Salmon Broccoli Oranges Macadamias Barley Lentils 
Sardines Spinach Mangoes Hazelnuts Buckwheat Chickpeas 
Trout Onions Melons Cashews Whole Wheat Peanuts 
Tuna Cauliflower Figs Sunflower Seeds Rye  
Cod Carrots Grapes Pumpkin Seeds Corn  
Mahi Mahi Brussels sprouts Lemons Pistachios Pita Bread  
Pollock Cucumbers Plums Pine Nuts Couscous  
Sea bass Sweet potatoes Strawberries Sesame Seeds Farro  
Shrimp Beets Blueberries  Quinoa  
Mussels Arugula Raspberries  Bulgur  
Crab Eggplant Cherries    
Oyster Squash Avocados    
Clams Garlic Apricots    
 Bell pepper Pomegranates    
 Zucchini Bananas    
 Asparagus Dates    
  Peaches    



The Mediterranean diet also considered olive oil and avocado oils large diet staples. Replacing butter and vegetable oils with these healthier fats can have a dramatic change in your health. Use them whenever you can! 

Limit Added Sugar and Processed Foods 

Processed foods like cookies, crackers, chips, white rice, bleached flour, and baked goods should be limited in your Mediterranean diet meal plan

Though this diet is more about what you add than what you take away, it’s always a good idea to stay away from foods that can hurt your health. These can include processed foods and foods with added sugars

  • Added sugars – (does not include naturally occurring sugars like fruit has!) Usually found in baked goods, sodas, fruit juices, and other prepackaged fast-grab snacks. Look for words ending in –ose like “maltose,” “glucose,” and “sucrose” as a hint, as well as syrup and molasses for an indicator that something has added sugars.  
  • Refined grains – Anything that isn’t whole grain: white breads and pasta, chips, crackers, pasta, etc. Even multi-grain foods are refined and are not as healthy as whole grain foods! 
  • Trans fats – #1 suspect containing trans fats are fried foods, but they can also be found in margarine, baked goods, pizza, coffee creamers, fast foods, and many packaged store foods. 
  • Refined Oils – Soybean oil, canola oil, and grapeseed oils are some examples 
  • Processed meats – Sausages, hot dogs, deli meats, beef jerky, bacon, and any other meat that has been preserved by smoking, salting, or curing.  

Poultry, eggs, and other dairy products should be limited to less than one serving a day to one serving a week. These are still healthy options but are not staples in a Mediterranean diet meal plan.  



What About Wine? 

Drinking a glass of red wine on the Mediterranean diet can be helpful against heart disease.

Yes, a small amount of red wine is permitted on the Mediterranean diet! About one glass a day can lower inflammation in the body due to its high level of antioxidants. There is some debate about how effective red wine can be against heart disease, so it’s perfectly okay to skip this! However, if you want to imbibe in some Friday-night socializing, red wine is the healthiest and most preferred option on the Mediterranean diet.  

 
Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan for the Week 

This is meant to give you a starting point! If you’re totally lost, these recipes are all Mediterranean diet-approved and are ready to go for any beginner. But you should feel free to alter them and change them to fit your dietary needs and personal preferences. 


Sunday 

Breakfast – whole-grain toast topped with almond butter and sliced bananas 

Lunch – garlic shrimp zoodles garnished with parsley and avocado slices 

Dinner – baked lemon salmon with roasted brussels sprouts 

Snack – a whole pear, sliced 

Dessert – pitted Medjool dates stuffed with peanut butter and peanuts and dipped in melted chocolate. (Great as a Snickers copycat!) 

Monday 

Breakfast – mushroom, tomato, and onion omelet  

Lunch – Caprese grilled sandwich with portobello mushroom “bread,” slices of mozzarella, tomato slices, balsamic vinegar, and fresh basil.  

Dinner – salad with arugula and kale, olives, feta cheese, farro, grilled chicken, and cherry tomatoes 

Snack – baby carrots with spicy hummus 

Dessert – chia pudding 

Tuesday 

Breakfast – oatmeal with raisins, walnuts, apple slices, and blueberries 

Lunch – baby kale, pear, and carrot salad drizzled with olive oil 

Dinner – sea bass, tomato, and avocado ceviche  

Snack – Greek yogurt topped with nuts 

Dessert – cottage cheese with peach slices  

Wednesday 

Breakfast – sautéed vegetables and scrambled eggs 

Lunch – roasted halibut and mixed grilled veggies 

Dinner – quinoa, black bean, and tomato stuffed roasted bell peppers 

Snack – sliced bell peppers and guacamole 

Dessert – olive oil cake topped with a small dollop of low-fat whipped cream or berries 

Thursday  

Breakfast – cauliflower chicken and vegetable wrap  

Lunch – whole grain sandwich with cucumber, bell pepper, onion, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, hummus, shredded carrots, and baby spinach 

Dinner – pesto marinated cod with white bean salad 

Snack – a bowl of mixed berries 

Dessert – strawberry nice cream topped with dark chocolate shavings 

Friday 

Breakfast – chickpea quinoa breakfast bowl 

Lunch – tuna salad lettuce wraps 

Dinner – salmon, crab, and sweet potato fish cakes 

Snack – a half cup of mixed nuts 

Dessert – baked peaches sprinkled with cinnamon, served with a scoop of dairy-free vanilla ice cream 

Saturday 

Breakfast – Greek yogurt parfait with pomegranate seeds, whole grain granola, and mint leaves 

Lunch – farro bowl with grilled salmon, squash, bell peppers, feta cheese, and tzatziki 

Dinner – broiled salmon with brown rice and garlic asparagus 

Snack – a small bunch of fresh grapes 

Dessert – fudgy “brownies” made from dates, cocoa powder, oat milk, and wheat sourdough 


More Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan Recipes 

More Mediterranean diet recipes like our Mediterranean salmon dish available on our Five Step Chef page!

Want step-by-step recipes instead? Check out our 5 Step Chef page for even more Mediterranean diet meal recipes! 

Breakfast 

Mediterranean Egg Frittata 

Tomato Basil Pesto Tofu Scramble 

Avocado Pancakes 

Smoked Salmon Egg Muffins 


Lunch 

Mediterranean Protein Bowl 

Savory Chickpea Pancakes with Kale 

Sesame Tofu Poke Bowl 

Turmeric Dill Tuna Salad 


Dinner 

Turmeric Flax Porridge 

Cauliflower Totchos 

Fried Cauliflower Rice with Mushrooms and Toasted Cashews 

Salmon Meatballs with Coconut Cream Sauce 


Your Gameplan for Eating Out on the Mediterranean Diet 

The Mediterranean diet is as much a lifestyle adaptation as it is a diet, which means that you should enjoy the experience of eating as well as the food. Eating with friends and family helps you slow down and make healthier meal choices, so never fear a night of eating out! 

Many menus will have food you can still eat while you’re on the Mediterranean diet. Look at their “healthy” meal sections if they have one, as these will likely be full of vegetables and healthy proteins. Overall, these are the best tips for choosing better dishes when you’re eating out: 

  • Choose meals that have fish as their main dish 
  • Choose whole-grain options whenever you can! 
  • Avoid fried dishes (“crispy,” “battered,” “golden”) and instead opt for baked or grilled options 
  • Drink water before and during your meal instead of soda to feel fuller and digest better 
  • Order your meal before everyone else so you aren’t tempted to change your order! 
  • Make healthy swaps whenever possible – Ask for the vegetable side option over french fries or use olive oil instead of dressing 
  • Ask for sauces and dressings on the side 
  • Avoid the tempting breadbasket or ask your server to skip bringing it entirely 
  • Order a salad to start instead of another appetizer 
  • Do your research! Just because a menu claims a dish is “paleo-friendly,” sugar-free, low-carb, or low-calorie, make sure you read the menu description to confirm it aligns with your diet. 

Want a shortcut? Let us do the cooking for you. Get delicious, Mediterranean diet meals from our physician-approved menus delivered to your door.