Med diet = best diet.
One study even found that participants who followed Mediterranean diet recipes lost more weight than those on a low-fat diet. You know, NBD.
Mediterranean diet recipes emphasize plant-based foods, such as fruits and veggies, as well whole grains, nuts, legumes, and healthy fats, all of which are huge satiety-boosters. They also encourage the use of herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods, decreasing the odds of belly bloat. But most importantly, enjoying delicious foods (and the occasional glass of red) is considered a top priority, meaning you'll be more likely to stick to your weight-loss goals. (Dance your way fit with High-Intensity Dance Cardio, the first-ever socanomics DVD!)
Whether you're late to the party or an aficionado looking for new Mediterranean diet recipes to try, we asked a Greek cooking expert, a.k.a. Nikola Karvelas, chef of Nisi Estiatorio restaurant in New York City, for easy recipes that can help you lose weight.
Here are his drool-worthy Mediterranean diet recipes that your waistline will love as much as you do:
1. Nisi Salad
When you think of salad, you probably feel kind of blah. But this flavor-packed blend of peppers, onions, zucchini, and other veggies is incredibly satisfying. And besides being packed with veggies, this recipe also features bread and cheese (in small doses obviously)—so you won’t be craving carbs post-dinner.
1 romaine heart
1 eggplant, sliced
2 zucchini, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 white onion, sliced
2 barley rusks (or pita bread)
1 cup balsamic glaze
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup honey
2 thick round slices Greek manouri cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
Make it: Chop the romaine heart. Grill the eggplant, zucchini, peppers, and onion and cut into cubes. Dampen (but don't soak) barley rusks with water and break into bite-sized chunks. Toss ingredients together and set aside. Whisk together balsamic glaze, extra virgin olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper. Pour over salad. Top with a slice of manouri cheese and serve.
2. Shrimp Saganaki
When you’re trying to lose weight, protein is your friend. Besides building the lean muscle you need to fuel your metabolism, protein is also super filling. So you won’t be looking for donuts in the break room come 4 p.m. To get your protein fix on a Mediterranean diet, whip up this easy shrimp dish to serve along side your usual veggie du jour.
12 pieces of uncooked shrimp, any size
1 lb tomato sauce
1 Spanish onion, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Salt and pepper to tase
Make it: In a big pan, saute the olive oil and onion together, stirring it until the onion becomes a golden brown. Add the shrimp and then the tomato sauce, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer for roughly four minutes. Add feta and continue to simmer for two more minutes before serving. Serve with a side of pita bread.
3. Grilled Halloumi with Tomatoes and Basil
A hallmark of the Mediterranean diet is eating things like cheese and wine in moderation. This recipe, which puts this protein-rich cheese (seven grams per ounce, according to the FDA) on display is no exception. Add a few servings of steamed veggies to this Greek-style grilled cheese, and you’ve got a satisfying meal.
2 lb halloumi cheese, in slices
2 slices pita bread
16 basil leafs
2 tomatoes, extra ripe
Extra virgin olive oil
Freshly crushed pepper
Make it: Roughly chop the tomatoes and roast them in the oven until they become soft. In another hot pan, add the halloumi cheese and "grill" until soft. Warm the pita bread in the oven, and then top with roasted tomatoes, basil, and halloumi. Drizzle with olive oil and freshly crushed pepper.