6 Swaps To Take Your Diet From Mainstream to Mediterranean

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Switch to olive oil

If you've already switched to olive oil for cooking, congratulations, that's a step in the right direction! But extra virgin olive oil is great for dressing vegetables and as a substitute for butter on whole grain bread, too.

Snack smarter

Overhauling a whole pattern of eating can be difficult, but small changes--such as choosing fruit and nuts for a snack--are not only more nutrient-dense than conventional snack foods, they'll also help keep you satisfied longer than sugary choices.

Red wine for soda

There's no doubt about it: a glass of red wine with dinner is a well-known component of the Mediterranean-style diet. Antioxidant rich red wine can help increase "good" cholesterol if taken in moderation, and this has been shown to have benefits for the heart. Instead of having a sugary (or even non-sugary) soda for dinner, try a glass of wine instead.

Fresh or frozen, fish is best

The Western diet is full of red meat, but a Mediterranean diet gets it animal protein largely from fatty fish. Try replacing a few of your lunch burgers every week with tuna, salmon, or other fish.

Get a yogurt mustache instead

Dairy foods are good for you, but a Mediterranean-style diet doesn't contain much milk. Instead, concentrate on getting your dairy from yogurt (add fruit and nuts to make it a more filling treat) and small amounts of high-quality cheese.

Socialization for solitude

A healthy diet includes more than just food choices. The Mediterranean diet focuses on the community aspect of mealtimes, too. Turn off the TV or step out from behind your desk; try to eat your meals and snacks in the presence of other people, and make the table a place for good conversation, relaxation, and engagement.