The World's Healthiest Diet
For details on how to follow the Mediterranean diet, we turned to dietician Wendy Bazilian, author of The SuperFoods Rx Diet, who creates nutritious menus for her clients.
1. Know the percentages. Your diet should have about 50 percent carbohydrates from vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains; 35 percent fats from healthy oils, nuts, seeds, and fish; and 15 percent protein from legumes, fish, nuts, dairy, poultry, and eggs.
2. Count calories. To lose weight, a 150-pound woman should eat about 1,400 calories a day. For maintenance, up the count to 1,800.
3. Limit red meat and sweets. Get no more than 8 percent of daily calories as saturated fat -- that means just 3 to 4 ounces of beef or lamb per week (12 to 16 ounces a month max, if you prefer a few big meals). Limit rich desserts to a few times per week. Otherwise, have fresh or frozen fruit.
4. Eat poultry, eggs, and fish, but not every day. Have chicken, turkey, or eggs every other day; serve fish at least twice a week.
5. Switch to non- or low-fat dairy. Get two to three 8-ounce servings of milk or yogurt daily for calcium and other nutrients. And limit butter.
6. Focus on healthy fats and carbs. "The lion's share of fat comes from what's found naturally in such foods as olive oil, nuts, avocado, and fish," says Dr. Bazilian. Base your diet on healthy, whole-grain carbs -- pasta, bread, cereal, tortillas, and brown rice. Save white flour and white rice for special occasions.
Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, March 2010.