Living Well Eating Smart: Mediterranean Month

Not only is it rated one of the best diets overall and easiest to follow from the U.S. News & World Report, the Mediterranean Diet provides an abundance of colors, textures, nutrition and flavor. If you’re new to following a Mediterranean style of eating, get your taste buds ready for one of the tastiest, most gratifying meal plans yet.

Created in partnership with the non-profit Oldways, the Harvard School of Public Health and the World Health Organization, theMediterranean Diet Pyramid emphasizes the meal patterns of countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.

A Mediterranean Diet is shown to have positive impacts on health, such as reducing the risk of heart disease, arthritis and colorectal cancer. How? Well, it’s partially lifestyle – being active every day, and making meals a social event. But it’s also crafting recipes rich in vegetables, beans, lentils, whole grains, fruit and liquid oils, while sensibly weaving in seafood, dairy and meats throughout the week.

To get started, focus on:

* Making nuts and olive oil your primary source of fat.
* Embellishing dishes with the flavor of the Mediterranean right from your kitchen. Make herbs and spices your culinary muse!
* Combining vegetables, fruits and lean cuts of meat in recipes like in the one below.

Mediterranean Chicken Salad

Serves- 6

WHAT YOU NEED:
1 pound Chicken Thighs
1 large rib celery, diced 1/4 inch
1/2 cup red onion, diced 1/4 inch
1/2 English cucumber, diced 1/4 inch
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, sliced
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup jarred roasted red bell peppers, diced 1/4 inch
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tablespoon capers, coarsely chopped
1 to 2 cloves garlic, very finely minced
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
– Salt and pepper, to taste
– Green leaf lettuce or Bibb lettuce leaves

HOW TO MAKE IT:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
3. Bake chicken in oven until fully cooked, 45-60 minutes, or until the internal temperature of thighs reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit with an instant-read food thermometer.
4. Allow chicken to cool. Dice into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces and transfer to a large bowl.
5. Add all remaining ingredients to bowl, except lettuce, stirring to combine. NOTE: This mixture can also be used to make sandwiches.
6. Let salad rest for 10 to 15 minutes and serve on a bed of lettuce greens or in lettuce cups.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: Calories 180, Total Fat 15 g, Saturated Fat 3 g, Cholesterol 70 mg, Sodium 410 mg, Carbohydrates 7 g, Fiber 1 g, Protein 13 g

Recipe and image from Smart Chicken. Visit www.smartchicken.com for more chicken recipe-inspirations.

About the Author: Carrie Taylor is the lead registered dietitian nutritionist for the Living Well Eating Smart program at Big Y Foods. Have a nutrition question? E-mail livingwell@bigy.com or write Living Well at 2145 Roosevelt Ave, PO Box 7840, Springfield, MA 01102.

This article originally appeared here via Google News