Start the day with the delicious flavors of the Mediterranean — fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, lean proteins, healthy fats — and you’re doing it right. Eating a Mediterranean (Med) style breakfast is not only nourishing and satisfying, it’s important for health, performance, mindset, and the environment.
The Med-style diet is recommended by many health organizations, including the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association. It’s also one of the easiest and most versatile ways of eating, making breakfast a meal you won’t want to miss.
Following a Med-style dietary pattern is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, certain cancers, metabolic syndrome, and mental health disorders, like depression and cognitive decline, according to a study in the journal Nutrients (2019). It’s healthy for the planet too, according to a study in the Spanish journal Nutricion Hospitalaria (2018), which concludes that the Med-style diet is environmentally friendly. It was also deemed affordable and supportive of cultural heritage.
Skipping breakfast is common among American adults, and though evidence is limited on the health risk and benefits, research has shown that this is associated with significant increase in risk of death from cardiovascular disease (Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2019). A study in the journal Nutrients (2019) found that a regular meal pattern, including breakfast, may provide physiological benefits such as reduced inflammation, improved circadian rhythm, and increased resistance to stress.
What does a Med-style breakfast look like?
Based on the traditional diets of the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, like Greece, Italy, and Turkey, the Med-style diet has many different versions, which makes it so easy to personalize. This mostly plant-based eating pattern includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, olive oil, fish, seafood, and smaller amounts of lean animal protein, like poultry. The Med-style plan doesn’t have rules for portion size or amounts — it’s a guidance to include nutrient-rich, health-promoting foods — allowing for individual choices.
A Med-style breakfast can be sweet or savory, geographically authentic, or traditional American fare with a fun twist.
If you’re an oatmeal lover, add sliced fruit, nuts, and a dollop of Greek yogurt, and you’ve got a Med-approved breakfast. Or, top a slice of whole-grain toast with avocado, tomato, or spinach and call it done (and amazing!). Ethnic options include Israeli shakshuka — a skillet casserole with eggs, tomatoes, onions and peppers — or an Italian egg and vegetable frittata.
The combinations are endless, giving the Med-style breakfast staying power. Whether your breakfast is on the fly or leisurely, adventuresome or routine, the Med diet kicks off the day with good health and good eats.