How to Follow the Mediterranean Diet

Last Updated on June 19, 2022 by Ellen Christian

Considering a Mediterranean Diet for heart health? Are you concerned about the cost? The cost of Mediterranean Diet plans and other healthy eating diet plans may be a larger factor for families with rising economic cuts.  

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How to Follow the Mediterranean Diet for Heart Health

Mediterranean Diet for Heart Health

We have a fixed grocery budget.  Even when food prices go up, our grocery budget stays the same.  For the past several months, I have watched the prices in the grocery store inch up slowly.

When the prices aren’t going up, the sizes are going down. One can of tuna fish used to be enough.  We now need to purchase two cans.

It’s no secret to most people that healthier food costs more money than processed foods.  I would love to fill my grocery cart with only fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains each week.  

I find myself adding in fillers to stretch the meals to feed a few more servings.  Some of those fillers aren’t as healthy as I’d like.  Diets like the Mediterranean diet encourage you to eat more whole foods and less processed and commercially prepared foods.  

Examples of those Mediterranean diet foods are:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Fish and poultry
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts, beans, and lentils
  • Olive oil

What is the Mediterranean Diet

What you’ll notice is missing in the list above are processed foods and dairy products.  The Mediterranean Diet doesn’t have dairy as a major focus.  When it is included, it’s generally in the form of cheese and yogurt.  

Sweets and desserts are limited to special occasions.  When you look at this list, you may think it’s impossible to follow given the cost of Mediterranean diet plans.  However, there are foods that you will commonly find coupons for that will fit into the Mediterranean diet plan.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fresh fruit may be your first thought.  Canned fruit in 100% natural juices can also be an occasional option.  Stay away from heavy syrup and anything marked light or low sugar because that will have preservatives and artificial ingredients.  

Look at the ingredients list before you choose. Avoided added sugar. When considering what fruits and vegetables to buy, fresh is always best, but canned is certainly an option. Look at the marked down section and consider gardening and farmer’s markets in your area.

Fish and Poultry

Buying in bulk is a great way to get a lower price per pound on healthy fish and protein. Make sure that you divide it and package it in serving sized packages when you get home to limit food waste. You can also consider canned meats like tuna and chunk chicken to keep the cost down.

a white plate with fish, tomatoes, avocado and lemon

Whole Grains

There are many pasta brands that offer whole grain versions.  Brown rice is now available from a variety of brands as well.  Carbs should not play a huge part of your diet.  When you do include them, choose the whole grain version. Most cereal brands have whole grain cereals.  Steel cut oats are a very affordable healthy option.

Dairy Products

Dairy plays a small part in the Mediterranean diet.  Eating yogurt is an option.  I love yogurt for breakfast but I’m careful what I choose.  

Avoid the yogurts with artificial colors, sweeteners and heavily processed add ins like candy, yogurt, and cookie pieces. The Mediterranean diet recommends whole yogurts instead of fat-free.

My choices probably don’t come as a surprise to you.  Most people know what they need to do to eat healthier. It’s not always possible to make a huge change all at once.

I try to make healthier choices each time I go to the grocery store. I choose the healthiest product I can based on what I want to buy. Following the Mediterranean Diet for heart health is a great option.

How to follow the Mediterranean Diet for Heart Health

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23 thoughts on “How to Follow the Mediterranean Diet”

  1. Honestly I LOVE Mediterranean food. I really wish I could grow half of this in my backyard but sadly I don't have a green thumb :(
    • I would love to have a huge garden too, Marina!  We have a small garden every year thankfully but that's about all I can manage.
  2. I'm not much of a coupon person. I tend to stick to the outside aisles, fresh fruits and veggies and lean meats. Hard to find coupons for many of those items. We try to grow as much as we can during the summer, and I try to freeze and preserve as much as I can. We buy most of our meat from local farmers, grass fed whenever possible and we raise our own chickens. That's the bonus of living in the country!
    • We do the same here too, Linette.  With my back issues we are trying a container garden this year.  Our chickens keep us in eggs and we have several fruit trees.  I do love country living.
  3. My local grocery store is so overpriced, it's not even funny. We're spending a record amount on groceries and this really needs to change. I think it will be worth the gas money driving a little further and of course using great resources like coupons! Thanks for the wonderful post ;)
    • I always check to see if there is a coupon for what I want to buy.  I have found them for Cuties (oranges), cherry tomatoes, Greek yogurt, etc. There aren't as many for healthy foods but they do exist thankfully.
  4. I shop at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and some more local chain stores... each have their benefits and cost savers. I just make it a priority to spend money on healthy options... but we still have splurges here and there of not as healthy foods. Everything in moderation :-)
    • I really wish we had Trader Joe's or Whole Foods in Vermont. My only option is the farmer's market in the summer or our local grocery store.
  5. I could seriously live strictly by the Mediterranean diet however the other member of my family would rebel. So I try to sneak in a few of my choices each week.
    • I think so too.  I just need to make sure I have a menu plan and stick to it when I shop. I guess it's like anything else, lack of planning is not good.
  6. The think with a lot of what is on the Meditteranean food diet is that a lot can be purchases in bulk - like the olive oil, grains, and lentils/nuts etc. Those are my favourite kinds of food anyway - and it does end up being fairly inexpensive, yet packed with nutrients and delicious flavours! I can't comment on the price of the meat products, since I don't eat meat, but I haven't noticed the price of the things I've mentioned has changed in the last 10 years or so that I've been on my own.
    • That's true! I do wish we had stores where would could buy bulk in our area. I guess that's one of the hazards of small town living. I'll have to drive to the city and check out or health food store one of these days.
      • Sorry about my spelling in my previous post! :P Definitely - you can save a lot by buying those things in huge quantities. They don't 'go bad' for a really long time and tend to keep/store well. 
        • That's true. Our little grocery stores just don't have bulk options available. I'm lucky I can find half the healthy things I want let alone finding them bulk :)
  7. What do you mean cotton candy is not a plant!??! :D I find shopping at the farmer's market helps stretch my grocery budget. 
    • We love the Farmer's Market! Ours is only open from Basically late May to early October but I visit it often when it is.
  8. I think buying processed food is more expensive. I find a lot, for cheap at local farmers markets and such. Even growing some things on my own. I do think a Mediterranean Diet is affordable.
  9. it is sad that buying healthy foods is so much more expensive than processed foods. thanks for the tip about how to save money!
  10. I try to shop the outer aisles in the grocery store and avoid anything processed. I wish our store had more selection because I find the lack of selection really sad. I guess that goes with living in a small town.
  11. I don't coupon as a regular practice. I purchase mostly whole foods like you mentioned - it's healthier but more expensive. In my area, we have a "wholesale to the public" produce market. When I shop there I walk out with a bag full of produce for under $10 - the same items at the grocery store would cost more than double. You should check to see if you have one in your area  - or maybe a CSA?
    • I live in a fairly rural area so we don't have anything like that.  I do garden in the summer though to help with fruits and veggies.

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