- Dig In & Recipes
- Health & Wellness
Building a Mediterranean Pantry
Author: be well™ with Big Y® Registered Dietitian Team
The main components of a Mediterranean lifestyle, such as following a Mediterranean diet that's full of a variety of flavors while enjoying meals with family and friends (even virtually!), meet the recommendations made by the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines and the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
With plant-based foods such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, oils, dry beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas, nuts and spices as the base of meals, plus meat, seafood and dairy as accompaniments, the best aspect of following a Mediterranean lifestyle is that you and your family are not following a diet at all. Rather, you are making more of a shift in how you think about building meals (and your pantry)!
Here are some favorite go-to pantry must-haves from the Oldways Mediterranean Foods Alliance to add more flavor and nutrition to your family's meals.
Choose mostly whole grain options such as those that contain the word "whole" as the first ingredient (e.g.: whole wheat bread).
Aim for oily fish containing heart-healthy omega-3 fats most often.
LIQUID OILS AND FATS
Store in a cool, dark place so they last longer.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
HERBS AND SPICES
Fresh herbs and spices add flavor without adding fat or salt.
DRY BEANS, PEAS, LENTILS AND CHICKPEAS
Add fiber and protein to meals and eat in place of meat at least one meal a week.
Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
DAIRY AND EGGS
Sprinkle in flavor and nutrition, such as vitamin D and calcium, to meals.
NUTS AND SEEDS
Enjoy as butters or as-is for protein, fiber and heart-healthy fats.
Choose fresh, frozen, dried, canned and 100% fruit juice varieties without added sugars.
Choose fresh, frozen, canned and 100% vegetable juice options.
Tomatoes (fresh, canned and sauce)