It’s a lot easier to stick to a Mediterranean diet in summer when all the farms and markets are abundant with fresh fruits and vegetables. Sticking to a Mediterranean diet In winter is not as easy.
One of the tenants of the Mediterranean diet is to eat with the seasons. That may be easier if you live in Greece or Southern Italy where the weather is milder. But living on the east coast of the United States is a different story.
However, I have faith in Mother Earth and know that she offers up the foods we need at this time of year. In the winter root vegetables are prevalent, as are leafy greens, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. Fruits like apples, pears, and various citrus like oranges, grapefruit, and lemons, are what our bodies need.
Here are tips for sticking to a Mediterranean diet in winter:
Soups – I love the warmth and comfort of soups in the cold weather. I make vegetable soups like Creamy Carrot, Roasted Butternut Squash, and chicken-based soups like Tortellini in Brodo, or Chicken Noodle. I even have my healing witches’ brew, Garlic Broth. Soups are nourishing and easy to make. They reheat easily too, so make a big batch and enjoy it twice.
Stews – My mother often made big pots of beef stew when I was growing up. I’ve taught myself how to make plant-based versions of a lot of my favorite dishes. Try my Portobello Mushroom Bourguignon. I outdid myself with that one.
Beans – You can “beef up” any meal by adding beans to the mix. They offer protein, iron, and fiber. They help make soups and stews hardier and keep you full longer. Try my Chickpea Soup with Greens or Pasta Fagioli. Beans are also wonderful on their own, and make great dips when blended. Try making hummus at home, or make the super easy Crostini with White Beans.
Whole Grains – You’ll hear a lot of talk about whole grains on the Mediterranean diet, but what does that actually mean? Whole grains have not been overly processed to remove the outer shell and inner layer, which reduces their nutritional value. Try my Mediterranean Chopped salad with whole grains, or Polenta with Wild Greens, or Farro Soup, the soup that fed the Roman Army.
Spices – It’s fun to play with different flavors throughout the seasons. In winter, enjoy the flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and allspice. They are not just for baking. Try them in your coffee or tea. Add them to stews.
I hope this helps you embrace the flavors of winter, and know that despite the lack of produce at the markets, you can still eat fulfilling and flavorful meals during winter while adhering to a Mediterranean diet.
*** You can find some of these recipes in my new cookbook, The Big Book of Mediterranean Diet Cooking. Check it out for more delicious, healthy Mediterranean diet recipes. Read more about my new cookbook here.