Clean Out Your Pantry and Enjoy the Flavors of the Mediterranean
Many of us have had a lot of extra time on our hands these days. So, if you still have some at-home chores and are feeling inspired for even more spring cleaning, why not lighten things up with a taste of the Mediterranean?
May is Mediterranean Diet Month. The Mediterranean diet is touted as being one of the healthiest diets on the planet, high in fruits and vegetables, fish and pulses/beans, grains like rice and couscous and lots of olive oil. It’s recognized by the WHO as a healthy, sustainable diet as well as an intangible cultural asset by the United National Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.
With some simple changes, you can replace the humdrum of a bland diet with pops of flavor, color, and bite-sized health. And, this can be done on a tight budget.
Clear the pantry and fridge and make way for some phenomenal flavor.
- Try something new like baked kale chips, baked pita triangles, homemade corn tortilla chips, with hummus and babaghanoush. Make a salad of feta, olives, cucumbers and peppers dressed with herb olive oil dressing to portion out in small servings. This will satisfy those snack cravings with something equally delicious but way more nutritious.
- Replace red meats with beans, lentils, and chickpeas in your soups, sauces, pasta dishes, and even as the base for veggie burgers. Pulses are less expensive than red meat and are heart healthier.
- Substitute ice cream with full fat plain yogurt topped with fresh berries and or other fruits. Drizzle with honey for a touch of added sweetness!
- Redefine fast food. It’s just as easy to make an omelet with spinach, feta cheese, and chives served with a crusty bread or pita as it is to drive to pick up some fast food. Simplify meals by saving time in the kitchen, having cut up veggies or baked pita triangles and yogurt or hummus dip on hand. Much of our eating habits depend on convenience. Make it easy to eat well.
- Replace salt with spices. Give a try at starting a little herb garden in your home! Pick started plants with your favorite flavors – thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil, cilantro – to have them on hand to spice up your favorite dishes. Mediterranean diets are low on salt but big on flavor.
- Olive oil is a must! Olive oil is packed with healthy monounsaturated fats. Drizzle it on thick-cut tomatoes with basil and feta cheese, use it as a base for salad dressings and kale chips, drizzle it on toast, and sauté your veggies in it. It can even be used in some of your baking! Olive oil is a mainstay of the Mediterranean diet.
Finding smart ways to bring the Mediterranean to your table is not only heart-healthy but also better for your budget. Healthy, low-cost choices can turn your pantry into a nutritional, flavorful experience! It just takes a little imagination.
Since travel is pretty much off the table for most of us right now, why not bring the Mediterranean to you?