Healthy Eating

Mediterranean Diet 101

Including a sample one-day meal plan!

By: Lexy Parsons

According to data from the US News and World Report, the Mediterranean diet has been deemed the healthiest way to eat in 2023. And if you think that’s impressive, it’s not the first time the Mediterranean Diet has won this title! Clearly, there’s something to be said about this healthy eating plan! Now that we have your attention, you may be wondering, what is the Mediterranean Diet? And, why is it so healthy? We’re so glad you asked. Ahead, we’re breaking down all you need to know in this Mediterranean Diet 101 guide. Learn the fundamentals of this healthy diet plan, the best Mediterranean Diet foods, and gain access to a one-day sample Mediterranean Diet meal plan!

What is the Mediterranean Diet?

So, what makes the Mediterranean Diet one of the healthiest diet plans? Well, for starters, it’s rich in good-for-you nutrients like colorful fruits and veggies, whole grains, legumes, healthy fats, and lean proteins. And unlike most diet plans, the Mediterranean Diet doesn’t come with too many restrictions. In fact, there are no hard-and-fast rules here. Instead, the Mediterranean Diet encourages an abundance of fresh foods while advising against processed, refined, and artificial foods. The idea is to eat foods in their least processed form without cutting out any macronutrients. Essentially, the Mediterranean Diet is a nutrient-dense balanced diet! 

Why is the Mediterranean Diet so Healthy?

Based on research, eating this way has proven to be quite beneficial. According to various studies, the Mediterranean Diet has been shown to:

Mediterranean Diet 101: The Top Mediterranean Diet Food List

Wondering what to eat on a Mediterranean Diet? Here are the best Mediterranean diet foods:


Enjoy all veggies liberally, including:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Spinach 
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Zucchini
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Peppers
  • Turnips
  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Sweet potatoes 
  • Potatoes


Enjoy all fruits liberally, including:

  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Medjool dates
  • Berries (including strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries)
  • Melon
  • Papaya 
  • Figs
  • Grapes
  • Mango
  • Pineapple
  • Kiwi
  • Oranges

Meat, Eggs, & Dairy

When possible, opt for pasture-raised and grass-fed

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Duck
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Milk

Fish & Seafood

When possible, opt for wild-caught fish and seafood such as:

  • Salmon
  • Oysters
  • Mackerel 
  • Crab
  • Tuna
  • Shrimp
  • Haddock
  • Trout

Nuts, Seeds, & Nut Butters

  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Pistachios
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Cashews
  • Brazil nuts
  • Hemp seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Tahini
  • All nut and seed butter (unsweetened)

Healthy Fats & Oils 

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Avocado oil 
  • Olives
  • Avocado 

Whole Grains 

  • Oats
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Bulgur
  • Barley
  • Farro
  • Millet
  • Whole-grain bread

Beans & Legumes

  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Black beans
  • Kidney beans
  • White beans

Herbs & Spices 

  • Ginger 
  • Turmeric 
  • Rosemary 
  • Mint
  • Cilantro 
  • Parsley 
  • Basil
  • Black pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg

Sample 1-Day Eating Plan for a Mediterranean Diet 

To help you get started, our Mediterranean Diet 101 guide provides you with a sample one-day Mediterranean Diet eating plan. Follow these recipe ideas or use them as inspiration!


  • Avocado toast on whole-grain bread topped with a hard-boiled egg, tomatoes, and arugula
  • Greek yogurt breakfast bowl with fresh fruit, unsweetened muesli, and a drizzle of nut butter or honey
  • A warming bowl of old-fashioned oats made with almond milk and cinnamon and topped with fresh berries
  • Mixed berry smoothie made with nut milk, Greek yogurt, banana, spinach, and nut butter


  • Turkey sandwich on whole-grain bread filled with avocado, greens, tomato, cucumber, and carrots 
  • Kale salad filled with grilled chicken or salmon, sliced oranges, avocado, a serving of nuts and seeds, and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette
  • Cold quinoa salad made filled with cucumber, tomatoes, olives, parsley, cilantro, and roasted chickpeas or a side of hummus 
  • Greek salad made with red onion, olives, tomatoes, cucumber, and feta, served over salad greens or whole-grain pasta 


  • Chickpea pasta served with fresh marinara, basil, oregano, zucchini, mushrooms, and onion, with the option to add cheese or lean protein such as chicken breast
  • Stuffed peppers made with lean ground turkey and veggies 
  • Greek-inspired grilled chicken or veggie skewers served with Greek yogurt tzatziki and a side salad
  • Mediterranean flatbread topped with marinara, artichokes, olives, tomatoes, and any additional roasted veggies, protein, or cheese of choice 

The Takeaway

As you’ve learned in our Mediterranean 101 guide, the Mediterranean Diet is a non-restrictive healthy eating style that incorporates a variety of good-for-you nutrients. The best part? You can make this diet plan your own by tailoring it to you and your individual needs. So long as you’re limiting processed and refined foods and incorporating wholesome nutrients (like the aforementioned list), there’s no right or wrong way to navigate this healthy eating plan. No wonder it’s considered the healthiest diet in America!