The Mediterranean Diet:
Simple, right? Absolutely! Keep your shopping list limited to these foods for love, family, and health:
Some follow a strict Mediterranean diet to reduce risks of heart disease; some to lower unhealthy cholesterol and increase healthy cholesterol. Others follow this diet to manage weight, or dietary restrictions and allergies. Preventative health: let’s keep ourselves out of trouble before we need to manage trouble, right?
No Cook Cooking + Maybe a little Grilling and Roasting for fun!
We, our families and friends, eat this way, without so much calling it a diet. We do so first because it tastes delicious! These are genuinely the foods our bodies crave. We do it because it’s easy, simple, quick, no-recipe-needed cooking (or what we teasingly call Shana cooking: otherwise known as vegetable chopping.) And we do it because because we can; we have access to fresh food. We’re lucky, and we appreciate that.
But honestly, my favorite part of eating this way? Especially after a long week like this one, leading into a long week like next one, where so many things have gone, well, not exactly the way we planned nor anticipated nor prepared for them to, and it’s just nice to be able to feed everyone at least, without that too being stressful, requiring a lot of planning, and with plenty of room for error built-in. I’m not sure about you my friends, but I am just barely making it this week. And yet, we all ate, and ate well. So there’s that small win!
Life Lessons For and From Kids in Food and Choices
I get teased for not often saying enough no to kids…but there’s me, right there…end of my rope this week, fully photo-documented: “No Grace, you may not eat ALL of the chocolate. Nope. Not all at once. Not right now. I see that look on your unicorn-tattooed face, Sweets. I’m serious. Don’t do it.”
But guess what? She did it. I Love Her More. It was dark chocolate. She’ll live. Just like Pax lived to tell the Tadpole Tale, and therefore I Love Him More, too. Kids and food and fun just make my heart explode with love and joy!
When the kids ask for more of things that are good for them anyway, well, there’s something to be said for that. So stock your pantry and your fridge with things they don’t need permission to eat nor forgiveness for having eaten. We’ll work on lessons in moderation later. All good things in time…
Food | Friends| Love | Keeping it simple
Preparing 3 healthy meals a day and snacks for a family is work and it’s expensive. But it’s also an investment in health and love. Sharing family meals, preparing them together, and with friends too, is absolutely one of my favorite ways that we all genuinely slow down for a few hot minutes, love one another, listen to one another, and really connect and laugh. And I’m not sure about you, but a few daily doses of that exercise genuinely help me get through whatever else life brings us every day. And that glass of red wine; that helps too!
Many of my friends don’t love to cook. I go on again and off again with my own love of it. What we all share unfortunately is that there aren’t enough hours in the day, ever, for any of us. And then there are the food allergies (legit) and the picky eaters, and all the preferences. Gracie told me the other day, in explaining why one of her very favorite foods is no longer on the list of acceptable foods, “Mom, my taste buds just change sometimes.” Well, OK then. #truthfromasixyearold
Survival in our Family Kitchen:
This is our survival strategy for meals, it’s super simple: protein+fruit/veggie+grain+legume. Done.
Family style, make your own plate, choose as you wish. That keeps it fun and happy. No thank you bites: everyone has to try a bite of everything. Just one. But then go right ahead and pile your plate with whatever you wish. Self-serve is fun and happy. Balance, right? Survival is always in the balance.
All Three Meals + Snacks
20 minutes or less – prep to table!
I’m not kidding. These are our go-to meals and they also all happen to be Mediterranean-concept-based. Give them a try? And…heck yes, send us yours. We’re always looking for new inspiration and ways to change things up a bit, and for new ideas!
5 Mediterranean Diet Breakfast Ideas
1/ Greek Yogurt + Granola + Raspberries + Honey
2/ Smoothie (Banana Strawberry Mango Spinach) + Toast with jam
3/ Whole Grain Gluten Free Waffles + Strawberries
4/ Muffin Tin Omelettes + Mixed Berries and Melon
5/ Mini Whole Grain Morning Muffins + we add dark chocolate chips to ours + Sliced Citrus
5 Mediterranean Diet Lunch Ideas
Often, the kids pack their own lunches. Under guidance of course, or Grace’s box would just be filled with Salmon and Chocolate Chips. Next school year, I’m upping allowance by a dollar/week each if they each pack lunches for everyone one morning. By a second dollar if they each choose a morning to prepare breakfast for everyone. And by a third dollar/week each if they also plan a dinner. They will go into the school year at 6, 8, and 10 years old, and I’m so excited about next year’s chore charts! This is totally in their skill set; I’m actually not sure why I didn’t do it this past year. And honestly, they love doing this, I appreciate the help, and I love seeing them feel good about contributing…and they have way better ideas than I do!
Bento Boxes | The YUMBOX
We use bento boxes for lunches. They are a life-saver, plastic bag-saver, and even have cheat sheets built-in so that if you forget what you should be eating, you can just follow the cute little section titles!!! So easy. And the portions sizes are perfect.
The kids make their own choices often. If I make these choices, here are 5 of my go-to lunch combos:
1/ Manchego Cheese + Apples + Carrots + Hummus + Glutino Crackers + Dark Chocolate Bits
2/ Yogurt + Granola + Strawberries + Gluten Free Pretzels + Raspberries + Almonds + Dark Chocolate
3/ Shrimp + Cocktail Sauce + Pear Slices + Popcorn + Broccoli + Watermelon
4/ Leftover Protein from last night’s dinner (Chicken, Fish, Pork) + Garbanzo or White Beans +Sliced Red Peppers + Orange Slices + Gluten Free Pretzels + Dried Apricots
5/ Mixed Super Greens + Balsamic Dip + Crackers + Pistachios + Romano Cheese + Olives + Dried Cranberries
Our 5 Mediterranean Diet Go-To Easy Dinners (20 minutes or Less/No Recipe Needed)
1/ Grilled Shrimp + Quinoa + Salad + Watermelon
2/ Grilled Chicken + Couscous + Brussels + Peppers
3/ Roasted Salmon + Lentils + Brocolli + Roasted Potatoes
4/ Grilled Pork Chops in Orange Sauce (just clean the grill pan with OJ) + Brown Rice + Green Beans/Asparagus
5/ Grilled Grouper + Couscous + Arugula Salad + Cauliflower
None of these require a recipe. Just salt, pepper, olive oil, and the tools above to cook them. However, if you are interested in a few of our favorite recipes and/or recipe books, we love these:
Favorite Mediterranean Diet Cook Books
Favorite Online/Easy to follow/Mediterranean Based Recipes
I’m all good with Wine and Cheese (from a goat or sheep.) My own favorites are Manchego, Soft Goat, and Montenebro. And I especially love those with olives, or figs, set on a gorgeous tray.
The kids ALL love when we ‘spice’ Whirly Popped Popcorn with either a homemade Indian spice mix, Sugar in the Raw + Cinnamon, or Rosemary + Parmesan. This is our favorite popping corn, it’s so delicious!
They also all love when our mom’s bake apples for them. So simple. So yummy!
And we’re all always happy to pick at berries and chocolate dumped on a table, thank you Shana Auntie!
Bon Apetit, Buen Provecho, Buona Mangiata, Kali Oreksi! And in all the languages: Let’s just eat! xoxo A