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Family Health

A Sea of Reasons for the Mediterranean Diet

Oldways, a non-profit group dedicated to improving health through the exploration of heritage, began celebrating National Mediterranean Diet Month in May, 2009. Learn how this simple way of eating can help you and your family improve your health for good.

The Mediterranean Diet isn’t a weight loss plan or “diet” in that sense of the word. It is a great way to improve your health and you may even lose some weight along the way, but it’s actually a lifestyle that embraces healthier foods, activities, meals with friends and families and flavor. Research shows that those who eat the Med Diet are among the healthiest individuals. In fact, medical findings show the Mediterranean Diet will:
  • Lengthen your life 
  • Improve Brain Function
  • Defend you from chronic diseases
  • Fight certain cancers
  • Lower your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure and elevated "bad" cholesterol levels
  • Protect you from diabetes
  • Aid your weight loss and management efforts
  •  Keep away depression
  • Safeguard you from Alzheimer's disease
  • Ward off Parkinson's disease
  • Improve rheumatoid arthritis
  • Improve eye health
  • Reduce risk of dental disease
  • Help you breathe better
  • Lead to healthier babies
  • Lead to improved fertility

The Med Diet in Eight Simple Steps

1. Eat lots of vegetables
    • Create a simple plate of sliced fresh tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and
      crumbled feta, or squeeze lemon over sautéed spinach

2. Change the way you think about meat
    • Use meat as a garnish or flavoring agent, not an entree

3. Always eat breakfast
    • Start your day with fiber-rich foods like fruit and whole grains

4. Eat seafood twice a week
    • Look for fish high in omega-3 fatty acids (tuna, salmon, herring) and
      shellfish like oysters, mussels and clams

5. Cook a vegetarian meal at least one night a week
    • Build dishes around beans, whole grains and vegetables with spices and

6. Use only good fats
    • Include olive oil, nuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, olives and avocados in
      your meals

7. Enjoy some dairy products
    • But not too much. Reach for Greek or plain yogurt (not sugar-filled
      varieties) and small amounts of cheese

8. Eat fresh fruit for dessert
    • Save cookies, cakes and ice cream for special occasions and let fresh
      oranges, grapes, apples, pomegranates, figs and dates curb your sweet

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