UNESCO’s Mediterranean food nutrition plan is recognized by UNESCO as a cultural heritage, nutritionists consider it a real salvation for humanity living in a frantic rhythm, and chefs use its principles to create spectacular dishes that are easy to reproduce in their own kitchen.
According to the definition of UNESCO, the Mediterranean food gastronomic style is based on the principles common to the cuisines of Italy, Morocco, Greece, Cyprus, Portugal, Croatia and Spain, does not require calorie counting and does not limit portion sizes. The secret of longevity and health of the inhabitants of these countries is in the balance of products.
A huge number of fruits and vegetables, olive oil, whole grain bread and pasta, seafood, combined with physical activity and optimism, formed over the centuries the basis for the health and longevity of the inhabitants of the Mediterranean food.
At the heart of the “food” of the Mediterranean pyramid – unrefined cereals, providing energy throughout the day.
Bulgur, brown brown rice, barley, millet, durum wheat pasta and whole grain bread appear in the diet of the average resident of the Mediterranean 8 times a day, whether it is risotto, pasta or crackers in a salad.
The next layer of the pyramid is vegetables and fruits, from 3 to 6 servings per day. The source of fat for all occasions is olive oil.
And another type of food for daily use is dairy products, with an emphasis on kefir, yogurt and fresh cheeses like ricotta or mozzarella. Additives from seeds, legumes, nuts and dried fruits fall into the same category – they are enough to eat once a day.
Seafood can appear on the table no more than 5-6 times a week, poultry – up to 4 times. Potatoes, beets and parsnips should be eaten no more than 3 servings per week, and eggs cut 4 pieces per week.
But the Mediterranean food diet does not exclude little joys: desserts and dark chocolate, like wine, are welcomed up to 3 times a week.
At the top of the pyramid is red meat. The inhabitants of the Mediterranean food eat veal, pork, beef no more than 4 times a month, while the portion is limited to 100 g of the finished product.
Transferring the whole family to a Mediterranean food diet is easier than it might seem at first glance. And even small changes can lead to big shifts towards good health. Where to begin?
For example, to increase the number of products of plant origin – to plan one meatless day a week, include salads with cereals and beans, hummus and sauces based on greens and nuts in the diet.
Eggplant with walnuts in yogurt sauce or zucchini baked with spices also fit into the concept, as do fried pumpkin flowers with ricotta. Avoid foods where fat cannot be replaced with olive oil.
From the point of view of the Mediterranean diet, the perfect lunch is a caprese salad with a glass of wine (although it might be worth putting it aside for dinner).
Italian cuisine as a whole can be the starting point for the transition to the Mediterranean food diet, because almost all products for it are available in Ukraine, and the dishes are simple, quick to prepare and tasty, largely due to the use of sauces.
For example, without a basic tomato sauce, you won’t get pasta bolognese, Margarita pizza (and almost all other types of pizza) or sautéed mussels. It’s easy to cook: Italian mamma don’t hide their culinary secret. Fresh tomatoes will make the sauce watery, sour and colorless.
Therefore, regardless of the season, Italians prepare the base sauce from tomatoes, canned in their own juice or first-class tomato paste – sterilization will preserve nutrients and at the same time make the taste saturated, and the texture dense. Then everything is simple – choose tomato paste AROat METRO.
Beat in a blender with a pair of garlic cloves and a generous handful of basil leaves. Unused sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days – it will significantly reduce the time for preparing dinner even on a busy weekday.
And if you add a few drops of balsamic cream sauce to such a tomato sauce, it will turn out to be unforgettably delicious.
Thick and fragrant cream made from boiled natural balsamic vinegar decorates any dish: they sprinkle meat in the last minutes of roasting, add to sauces with olive oil – including for Caesar salads, caprese and panzanella.
A few drops of KUHNE Balsamic cream sauce and chopped fresh basil will make the vegetable dish memorable, reveal the taste of strawberries in a new way and turn the ice cream into a delicious dessert.
Player substitution: without salt and meat
Another easy way to make your diet healthier in the spirit of the Mediterranean diet is to replace, if possible, meat with nuts. A vivid example is pasta with thick and hearty pesto sauce.
Pounded together fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and grated parmesan are hearty and able to transform boring salads, risottos and sandwiches.
The basic pesto recipe often becomes the starting point for gastronomic variations: basil greens can be replaced with parsley or arugula, almonds or walnuts can be used instead of pine nuts.
For example, in the recognizable taste of Barilla Traditional Basil Pesto sauceThe perfumery aroma of basil is smoothed by the sourness of spinach, and the texture is created by cashew nuts and grana padano cheese.
Balanced delicate, this sauce is good both in burgers and in salads, in pizza or with pasta. Yes, and in itself – with still warm bread or on croutons with soft cheese.
The use of salt in the Mediterranean food diet is reduced with herbs and spices, as well as brine cheeses like feta or mozzarella. You can also “salt” dishes with seasoned cheeses – grated parmesan or grana padano.
Choose fruits for dessert: fresh strawberries with mascarpone cream and a couple of drops of balsamic cream or figs baked with honey and gorgonzola seduce even more sweets.
An integral part of the Mediterranean food lifestyle, as well as the best fresh homemade products with minimal heat treatment and aromatic sauces, is physical activity and the habit of sharing a meal with your family or just nice people.
Laughing and heart-to-heart talks make you feel deeply grateful for each day you live and increase your satisfaction with a delicious and healthy meal.