Did you know that the Mediterranean diet is currently the most well-researched and scientifically-backed diet out there? It is defined by a way of eating that reflects the traditional dietary habits of people who live in Mediterranean countries. Think Italy, Greece, France and Spain. It’s remarkable health benefits include a reduced risk of developing heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer, arthritis and osteoporosis. With these amazing benefits in mind, today we’re talking Mediterranean diet snack ideas to help you on your way to a longer, healthier life.
Mediterranean diet fundamentals
Plant foods are the most predominant food type within the Mediterranean diet. Particular emphasis is placed on regularly eating fruit, vegetables, extra-virgin olive oil, legumes, wholegrains, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. This makes it a diet that is typically abundant in micronutrients, fibre and quality fat sources.
Lean protein, particularly seafood, are also eaten regularly, as are smaller amounts of poultry, eggs and dairy. Red meats are eaten less frequently in comparison, and again, only in small amounts.
For anyone who is trying to adopt or maintain a healthy and balanced diet, snacks are a fantastic nutritional tool. They give us the opportunity to increase the variety of foods we eat every day and across the week. They also provide us with additional vitamins and minerals important for every aspect of our health.
Mediterranean diet snacks are generally a good source of fibre and protein, and can help us manage our appetite and energy levels throughout the day. Snacks are also extremely important for anyone engaging in strenuous exercise. What you snack on and when can significantly impact the quality of your training sessions, as well as support muscle recovery and synthesis afterwards.
Dietitian-approved Mediterranean diet snack foods
One medium piece of fruit, like a banana or apple, or two smaller fruits (think apricots, kiwis, etc) are the perfect snack serving size. They are loaded with fibre, antioxidants and micronutrients.
Of course! Not only are they versatile, they’re also incredibly delicious and low in calories. Some quick and easy options are carrot sticks, cucumber slices, capsicum, snow peas, green beans and cherry tomatoes. They’re especially good dipped in some hummus!
When making your choice in the dairy aisle, opt for Greek-style yoghurts that contain little or no added sugar. Greek yoghurt is a great post-workout snack because of its dose of protein. It also contains probiotics, which can promote a healthy gut.
Quality cheese is another protein-rich snack that can keep you feeling satisfied throughout the day. It will also provide you with a hit of calcium for bone health. Don’t overdo it, though; 20-40g is a good snack-size portion when it comes to cheese.
They’re a source of healthy fats, protein and fibre. Aim for a snack serve that is around 20-30 g, and keep a stash in your work bag and the car.
The key is to choose an option that contains
- Less than 10 g sugar per 100 g
- At least 3 g of fibre per serving
- 400-800 KJ per serving
Supermarkets are only becoming more and more aware of the importance of stocking health foods, so there are lots of great options packed with oats, nuts and seeds on the shelves.
Bring it all together with these Mediterranean diet snack ideas
- A piece of fruit with a small handful of mixed nuts and seeds
- Greek yoghurt sprinkled with chia seeds and berries
- Celery sticks with ricotta or cottage cheese
- Carrot and cucumber sticks with hummus or tzatziki
- Cheese slices with tomatoes and basil
- Snack-sized tin of 4-bean mix drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice and chopped herbs
- Roasted chickpeas
- 1 cup leftover homemade soup
- Snack-sized tin of salmon or tuna with capsicum and red onion
- Snack-sized tin of sardines on wholegrain, rye or sourdough toast
- Air-popped popcorn
- Apple slices with almond or peanut butter
- Brown rice cakes topped with salmon and avocado
- 2 boiled eggs, halved and sprinkled with dill or paprika.
If you need more guidance on how you can implement the Mediterranean diet into your life and on your budget, why not make an appointment with one of our expert, accredited dietitians? They offer telehealth services, so you can book in with us no matter where you’re from! And if you’re looking for even more delicious inspiration from the Med, our founder, Chloe McLeod, created a recipe you need to try!