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Hello! Vanessa here today. Karen is going discuss the finer points of the Mediterranean diet with you this week. When we see the word "diet", it's not a huge stretch to imagine that you'll be learning about numbers: ounces, grams, calories, etc. HOWEVER, a big thing to remember with regard to the Mediterranean diet is that it is best defined as a lifestyle and not a diet. There's not a set plan.

It's got a whole lot of buzz around it, and some of it is due to the fact that it IS a lifestyle - not only does this mean that you doesn't have to worry about consuming specific portions etc. but it also brings to mind relaxing in the Mediterranean - which just the mere idea of is probably improving our health and increasing our longevity by at least a few minutes. (Fun fact: the photo accompanying this post is of my family's home village in Sicily and just looking at it improves my day.)

I bring this up just to remind you that the benefits reported with this lifestyle are most likely due to a holistic relationship between food, culture, weather, human connection, physical activity and genetics - it's difficult and probably ill-advised to tease out one aspect as being more important than another.

That all being said, if you'd like to work on introducing some Mediterranean flair to your plate, I've got some time-saving ways to do so, as well as some cookbook and website recommendations below. Tutti a tavola a mangiare!

Ingredients that you find in this style of eating that typically take very little cooking time and/or preparation would include: 

  • Frozen vegetables and/or pre-cut vegetables 
  • Canned beans and lentils 
  • Quick cooking grains such as pastas, quinoa, shelf-stable pre-cooked rice, bulgur, and polenta. You can also find frozen grain pilafs and Trader Joe has 10-minute farro and barley. 
  • Eggs, canned salmon, tuna, sardines, and anchovies
  • Plain yogurt and Greek yogurt as well as cheeses like feta, cottage, farmers, and ricotta 
  • Fresh, dried, and frozen fruits 
  • Olive oil, walnuts, pistachios, almonds, pine nuts 

There are dozens of cookbooks and probably thousands of recipe blogs online, but here are some that may fit your needs of quick and easy Mediterranean: 


Instant Pot Cookery 

Mediterranean Instant Pot by America's Test Kitchen (ATK recipes are always very well-tested) 

Air Fryer Cookery 

Mediterranean Air Fryer cookbook