At the start of the year, the Mediterranean diet was named the “best” diet for 2019 — and as a Registered Dietitian and longtime fan, I wholeheartedly agreed.
The Mediterranean diet is less of a diet in the traditional sense and more like a series of general healthy eating guidelines. It encourages you to put whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, and healthy fats like olive oil, seafood, nuts, and avocado at the center of your plate. It also allows for a moderate amount of dairy, eggs, and lean protein like chicken. Red meat, sweets, and processed foods are not 100% restricted, but instead they are considered “sometimes” foods to enjoy on occasion.
This weekend’s Power Hour celebrates this feel-good diet. Carve out about two hours for meal prep on Sunday, and you’ll be rewarded with an entire week of wholesome breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.
Kitchn Meal Prep Plan
This meal prep plan is for anyone who is either already following the Mediterranean diet or curious about giving it a try. It focuses on the foods the diet encourages you to consume the most of — whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, and healthy fats like fish and olive oil — and includes a moderate amount of dairy, eggs, and chicken.
Meal Prep Goals
- Breakfast: An easy grab-and-go option that can be mixed and matched throughout the week to limit boredom (five days).
- Lunch: Vegetable-focused meals that have enough protein and fiber in them to make them satisfying. They also need to be packable (five days).
- Dinner: Quick, colorful meals that include healthy fats, whole grains, and more veggies (four days).
- Nutritional Goals: A well-balanced week of eating that’s full of feel-good ingredients but doesn’t feel restrictive.
Meal Prep Plan Snapshot
- Feeds: Two people
- Prep Time: About 2 hours
- Meals Covered: About 75% (no Friday night dinner or weekend meals)
- Weeknight Cooking Required? Moderate (25 to 30 minutes of light cooking to bring dinner together)
- How To Make Easy Muesli
- Mix-and-match additions: Greek yogurt, whole milk or almond milk, fresh fruit
- Sourdough Mushroom Portobello Mushroom Sandwiches
- Cauliflower Rice Lunch Bowl with Sweet Potatoes and Chickpeas
- Greek Salad topped with a Hard-Boiled Egg
- Spicy Shrimp Skillet with Tomatoes & White Beans
- Sheet Pan Roasted Tomatoes & Mushrooms over Creamy Polenta
- Easy, Healthy Greek Salmon Salad
- Roasted Tomatoes & Mushrooms tossed with whole-wheat pasta
This week’s shopping list is full of feel-good ingredients that are key parts of the Mediterranean diet like vegetables, whole grains, beans, and seafood. It assumes staples like olive oil, salt, and pepper are already on hand.
- Produce: 5 bananas, sweet potatoes (1 1/2 pounds), cauliflower rice, bunch of cilantro, 2 limes, 1 avocado, 4 portobello mushrooms (about 1 pound total), baby spinach, garlic, cherry tomatoes (3 pints), bunch of parsley, thyme, cremini mushrooms (1 pound), 1 lemon, small red onion, 2 medium heads butter lettuce, 1 medium English cucumber
- Meat & Seafood: 2 frozen (6-ounce) salmon fillets, frozen shrimp (1/2 pound)
- Refrigerated: Plain whole-milk Greek yogurt, whole milk, feta cheese (1 pound), goat cheese (4 ounces), small wedge of Parmesan cheese, unsalted butter
- Pantry: Old-fashioned rolled oats, wheat bran, ground cinnamon, sliced almonds, pecans, pepitas, unsweetened coconut flakes, dried apricots, dried cherries, ground turmeric, 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, 1 (16-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, red pepper flakes, 1 (15-ounce) can white beans, balsamic vinegar, polenta, red wine vinegar, dried oregano, kalamata olives, whole-wheat pasta
- Other: Dry white wine, loaf of whole-grain sourdough bread
Power Hour: How I Get the Prep Done
A Week of Simple Mediterranean-Style Meals
We alternate between sprinkling the muesli over Greek yogurt, simmering it with milk for a quick oatmeal, and just eating with cold milk as cereal. All variations get topped with half a banana.
- Monday and Wednesday, Sourdough Portobello Mushroom Sandwiches: In the morning, I assemble two sandwiches using the cooked mushrooms and remaining ingredients called for in the recipe. I spread goat cheese on the bread in place of mayo to add more protein and flavor. Both sandwiches get wrapped up; one goes to my husband and one stays in the fridge for me to grab later.
- Tuesday and Friday, Cauliflower Rice Lunch Bowl with Sweet Potatoes and Chickpeas: We each reach for a pre-packed cauliflower rice lunch bowl.
- Thursday, Greek Salad topped with a Hard-Boiled Egg: I pack a container with half the remaining undressed salad from the previous night’s dinner. I peel a hard-boiled egg, slice it in half, and add it to the container. I also pack up some of the leftover Greek vinaigrette in a small jar. My husband takes the two containers and assembles his salad at his desk. I’ll take the remaining salad, egg, and vinaigrette and make the same at home.
- Monday, Spicy Shrimp Skillet with Tomatoes & White Beans: I make a half recipe of the shrimp skillet and we enjoy it with a couple of slices of the sourdough bread.
- Tuesday, Sheet Pan Roasted Tomatoes & Mushrooms over Creamy Polenta: I make a half recipe of creamy polenta. I re-warm half the roasted tomatoes and mushrooms and serve it on top. At the end of the night, I transfer the salmon from the freezer to the fridge to let it defrost overnight for dinner tomorrow.
- Wednesday, Easy, Healthy Greek Salmon Salad: I make the full salad but bake just two pieces of salmon. I reserve half of the salad, undressed, and remaining vinaigrette to be used for lunch the next day.
- Thursday, Roasted Tomatoes & Mushrooms tossed with whole-wheat pasta: I boil some whole-wheat pasta, rewarm the remaining tomatoes and mushrooms, and toss it together for a lazy dinner.
- Friday: It’s pizza night! We head out to our favorite neighborhood spot.
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Power Hour Meal Prep is the series where we help you put it all together. We show you how to eat well during the week with an hour or two of Power Hour prep over the weekend. Every plan is different; mix and match to find your own personal sweet spot.
Kitchn Meal Prep Plan
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