7 Best Tips for Mastering the Mediterranean Diet

Thinking about giving the Mediterranean Diet a try? Here's how to get started—and succeed—on this popular diet plan.

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Mediterranean appetizers table concept. Platter with antipasto selection, grilled vegetables, olives, nuts and roasted bread. Overhead view.; Shutterstock ID 1124263523; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOH

There’s the DASH Diet, the new Weight Watchers diet, and now everyone can’t stop talking about the Mediterranean Diet. According to the U.S News & World Report’s Best Diets List, the Mediterranean Diet is listed as number one for best overall diet, the best diet for diabetes, the best diet for healthy eating, and the number one easiest diet to follow. That’s a lot of praise for one diet, but is it actually worth it? We found out.

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Dinner with fried fish, potatoes and fresh salad; Shutterstock ID 400166998
Soloviova Liudmyla/Shutterstock

If you’re not familiar, with the Mediterranean Diet is basically what it sounds like, check what is the Mediterranean diet . The diet is based on the folks living along the Mediterranean Sea, who live longer and suffer less from cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

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Raw uncooked seabass fish with vegetables, grains, herbs and spices on chopping board over rustic wooden background, top view; Shutterstock ID 415721434
Foxys Forest Manufacture/ShutterstockFoxys Forest Manufacture/Shutterstock

Although the diet looks almost similar to the DASH Diet, there are a few small changes that make it unique. The Mediterranean Diet emphasizes more seafood, healthy fats and can include wine, while it decreases your intake of red meat, sugar and saturated fats. Does this sound like your type of diet? Here are a few pointers if you’re starting out for the first time.

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assortment of nuts; Shutterstock ID 225173110; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of Home
margouillat photo/Shutterstock

Snack on nuts or veggies

Don’t head to the vending machine for your snacks. Instead, make some of your own! Cut up some bell peppers or have a bag of nuts on hand for some easy snacking. You could even enjoy dried fruits, if you’re looking for something sweeter.

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Yogurt & Honey Fruit Cups
Taste of Home

Have some fruit for dessert

It’s nature’s candy! Fruit is full of good, healthy sugars (known as fructose) that will satisfy those sweet cravings you have late at night. Enjoy a bowl of mixed berries with a small drizzle of dark chocolate, slices of pear with some honey, apples with natural nut butter or these Yogurt and Honey Fruit Cups.

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Gorgeous young Women preparing dinner in a kitchen concept cooking, culinary, healthy lifestyle; Shutterstock ID 307780538

Plan out your meals

You’ll see success in any diet if you plan and prep your meals in advance (here are some products to help you get started). Take some time over the weekend to plan out what you want to eat (including those snacks!) during the week. When you have healthy foods ready on hand, eating healthier throughout your busy week will be much easier.

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Delicious grilled sea bream fish with rosemary, lemon and peppercorns on wooden background. Culinary healthy cooking.; Shutterstock ID 577296571; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOH

Eat more fish

Sure, it’s a bit costly compared to the usual red meat or chicken, but it’s full of nutrients that are great for your body (and overall weight loss). Try making a few dinners with salmon, cod or tilapia with our best-loved fish recipes.

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Olive oil
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Swap butter for olive oil

For the Mediterranean Diet, the recommended oil for everything is olive oil or extra-virgin olive oil. Instead of using butter (or even vegetable or coconut oil), swap it out with olive oil. It’s still great to cook with, or to drizzle over pasta or bread. Psst! Did you know the best olive oil doesn’t come from Italy.

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Homemade salad dressing vinaigrette with raspberry and pomegranate juice
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Make your own salad dressings

Speaking of olive oil, it’s a great base for your salad dressings. Save yourself from the extra sugar and salt in those store-bought dressings and make one of your own. Follow this easy guide to make your own vinaigrette.

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Wine Pour

Enjoy a little vino

Yes, wine is actually okay for you to enjoy on the Mediterranean Diet! Remember to drink in moderation—limit to one glass per day for women and two for men. Just be sure not to make any of these common wine mistakes.

Kiersten Hickman
Kiersten is a freelance journalist and content strategist who has covered food, health and lifestyle topics for nearly a decade. She covers a little bit of everything at Taste of Home, from testing recipe hacks to investigating TikTok trends. Her work has also appeared in EatingWell, Bustle, Eat This, Not That!, and The Everygirl, to name a few. Armed with a certificate in nutrition science from Stanford Medicine, she debunks nutrition myths and diet culture in "Forkful," her weekly newsletter on Substack. Her debut novel, "Safe Harbor," came out in 2023.