Mediterranean diets are one way to lose weight and keep your cardiovascular system in good health. These diet plans are preferred by many because they can enjoy Italian-based accompaniments like a glass of red wine with dinner and small dessert every day. What many do not realize is that the typical American’s idea of “Mediterranean” is often based on the common Italian foods we knew as kids. However, a real Mediterranean diet is heavy on fish and seafood topped with light sauces, rather than huge helpings of pasta and heavy sauces at each meal.
Avoid Americanized Portions
Authentic Italian meals rarely consist of heaping mounds of pasta flooded with a heavy marinara sauce and served with large slices of garlic bread. Research shows that in a real Italian diet, people eat several small meals in a day. Each of these meals contains much smaller portions than Americans expect to see. Fruits, nuts, and fresh vegetables make up the largest part of meals, which do not center around large meat dishes.
More Fish, Less Red Meat
The Italians eat more fish and seafood than any other European countries. The nutrients in fish can help you develop a stronger immune system and overall improved health. Italians eat very little red meat in their regular diet. If you believe that spaghetti with meatballs is a cornerstone of the Italian diet, you will be sadly surprised to learn that Italians eat meat maybe once a week. Many meals do not include meat dishes at all, but rely on cheese for protein.
Moderation is the Key
The power behind the Mediterranean diet is moderation. Italians like to eat a wide variety of foods in smaller portions so that they can enjoy several different flavors at each meal. If you only eat a plate of baked pasta at lunch, you are missing the benefits that come with a true Mediterranean diet. The best way to approach Mediterranean food is to plan to eat a small amount of something from each food group at each meal. Think about foods that are natural to the Italian climate, especially fresh fruits and vegetables. Pay attention to flavors and spices to ensure a greater variety of tastes and textures.
Pasta should be Used Sparingly
The American idea of Italian food generally starts with pasta. While Italians do eat some pasta every day, they usually only have it with one meal. The pasta is never the central feature of the dish, either. If you really want to start a Mediterranean diet, you can’t go straight for the spaghetti and pizza. The most successful and healthy Italian diets contain a measured amount of all healthy foods available to residents of the Mediterranean.
Jessica Bosari writes on topics important to dieters and discusses top weight loss diet programs at WeightLossTriumph.com. The site is a helpful resource for those seeking Nutrisystem promos and coupons or the Medifast savings coupon for March.
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