The basics of our diet are really simple. The mediterranean diet is based around vegetables, legumes, fish, fruit, nuts and of course olive oil.
Our diet is really centered around vegetables. It makes up about half of our diet and we try to eat vegetables with all our lunches and dinners. We also eat meat, eggs, poultry, cheeses, fish, legumes, fruit, whole grains and nuts and oils. We also indulge, especially in occasional baked goods and desserts!
In our household extra virgin olive oil serves almost all of our oil needs. I was skeptical about so much oil, at first, but we living in Spain I have gotten used to it. We use it for all kinds of cooking, frying and drizzling (and even sometimes for baking, as in “cakes”).
MEAT, FISH AND POULTRY
I used to be a vegetarian so I thought it would be difficult to start preparing and eating meat on a regular basis. Actually, it was surprisingly easy. Eating meat and fish frequently is also a great excuse to look for the best quality items. I realized that if I made an effort to buy good quality meats and fish, and if they are prepared in a simple way the results are great. We eat some kind of meat or fish almost every day, so we keep the portions pretty small.
PASTA AND GRAINS
Pasta, grains and breads make up a very small part of our diet. At first this was hard. When our son was born we had pasta a couple of days a week. Now we eat a pasta dish once every couple of weeks. We eat rice now and then and I try to give the kids high-protein grains like quinoa.
We mostly eat fruits at breakfast, for snacks and for desert. When I was growing up, I did not consider fruit a desert, but now I like the idea. It gives us an excuse to have “desert” every night after dinner, and sometimes we make it fancy by adding whipped cream.
We eat a high volume of dairy products in my household. We have yogurt and cheese almost every day, and we eat eggs a few times a week. At first I added more eggs to our diet in order to diversify breakfast, but now we eat them for dinner too sometimes. People in Spain frequently eat the traditional “fritatta”, called “tortilla” at lunch or dinner.
When we began working with Melanie Silverman, she told us to generally strike fruit juice off of our shopping list. What a surprise, having grown up with orange juice at breakfast. I had always thought that fruit juice was a good alternative to soda for the kids. It turns out even 100% fruit juice has a lot of sugar, so our kids drink milk or water with dinner.