New Year's Resolutions: tips & tricks
to eat better with the Mediterranean Diet
One of the most common New Year's resolution is to eat better. However, changing food habits from day to day is often difficult, especially if you’re trying to move away from the convenience of processed and takeout foods. The Mediterranean Diet can be an inexpensive as well as a satisfying and very healthy way to eat that has nothing to do with food deprivation and bland, tasteless recipes: that's why it can really help you to make this the year you finally achieve your goal and begin a journey to a healthier and longer life.
Take advantage of extra virgin olive oil benefits,
the Italian liquid gold
Many dietitians agree: Extra Virgin Olive Oil has plenty of benefits and it definitely is one of the world's healthiest oils. It's not by chance that people living in regions where olive oil is a staple part of the diet, tend to live longer and are less likely to suffer from cardiovascular diseases.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil has indeed powerful cardio-protective properties: it helps lowering the blood pressure and preventing atherosclerosis, thus reducing the risk of stroke. Also, a massive number of studies have shown it protects against type-2 diabetes, may improve bone health and can help prevent the outbreak of certain cancers.
If you want to eat better and take advantage of extra virgin olive oil benefits, it must replace saturated fats, which raise the level of the so-called “bad cholesterol” and are linked to a series of health problem. We suggest to use extra virgin olive oil raw to dress salads and vegetables, drizzled over pasta and to create always different bruschetta.
Amaze everybody with healthy pasta recipes
that are tasty as well
There's a false myth about Pasta that states it makes you fat and should not be eaten when on a diet. However, it is a staple of the Mediterranean diet and there are lot of healthy pasta recipes that can help you eat better in an easy, tasty and inexpensive way.
Whether you want to lost weight or simply desire to pay more attention to the food you eat, you don’t have to completely avoid Pasta. Indeed, it is a nutritious food and a real source of energy that contains almost no fat, cholesterol and sodium with a low glycemic index. Foods with a low glycemic index are broken down slowly in the body and release their carbohydrate gradually, so they can help you feel full longer after eating and avoid cravings between the meals.
However, needless to say, any food will make you fat if you consume too much of it, so you should follow this golden secrets to eat better when having pasta:
- Carefully weigh the portions: in Italy, people does not normally eat more than 3 ounces and a half, nothing to do with the 300 or 400 grams you see in most Italian restaurants in the United States.
- Cook Pasta al dente. Not only it has better texture and taste, but it also has a lower glycemic index than overcooked pasta... in a nutshell, it will help you not to gain weigh.
- Opt for simple condiments with extra-virgin olive oiland vegetables and don't forget to add a bit of protein. There are a lot of healthy pasta recipes you can try, from the pasta with pesto to the pasta with tuna sauce.
Prefer seasonal products and easy recipes
Because of modern agriculture and food processing techniques, most foods are available year round and therefore we forget that food availability changes with the seasons. Although technology makes it possible for us to eat tomatoes in the dead of winter, that doesn’t mean we should do it: indeed, seasonal food is richer in nutrients, has a better taste and usually costs less.
However, there's a way to enjoy the taste of seasonal food even during long and cold winter: that’s the Italian tradition of preserves. Italian farmers have known for a long time that the best time to eat vegetables is when they are at the peak of their ripeness. Therefore, summer products are hand-picked and transformed into a variety of recipes, from the tomato sauce to "sottaceti" (vegetables preserved in vinegar) or "sottoli" (when they are preserved in extra virgin olive oil) or artisan jam.
There's a lot of easy recipes that can help us to eat better using both seasonal food and preserves: from fresh salads with vegetables, to pasta salads with sauces and under oil vegetables, not to mention the delicious desserts and crostata with fruit jams... it seems incredible but the Mediterranean diet could not be further from the "everyday" meaning of diet. Indeed, it is a series of habits and advices that can be adapted to lot of recipes and to everyone's taste: that's why it will be so easy to stick to your New Year's resolution!
The last secret?
Eating is better together
The last secret of the Mediterranean diet has nothing to do with healthy ingredients and easy recipes: one of the pillars of the Mediterranean diet is to give meals their importance. People around the Mediterranean sea do not rush when eating, do not eat on the sofa or - even worse - when walking or driving.
Italians and the others know it well: it's better together. That's why meals - and especially dinner - is a really important moment of the day, when the whole family gathers to the table to share food and tell each other about their day, their problems or their success.
Meals really are quality time spent with the loved ones and this definitely means eat better: try to take time to eat together and switch tv and smartphones off. You'll immediately notice that not only you'll appreciate more the moments spent with your family or friends, but you'll also appreciate more the food you eat and - being focused on what you eat - you'll eat better and less!