Mediterranean Diet For Dummies
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The Mediterranean diet is a plant-based diet. The largest portion of meals in the Mediterranean is devoted to vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains. In fact, if you adopt a Mediterranean style of eating, your daily servings of fruits and vegetables will increase to between seven and ten servings a day. And while many diets eschew nuts, the healthy fats in nuts make them a popular component of Mediterranean cuisine.

As you modify your eating habits to incorporate more of these plant-based foods, you’ll want to know what a serving size is so that you can make sure you get what you need, without — as is the case with nuts, which are also calorie dense — getting too much.

Gauging serving sizes for fruits and vegetables

At every single meal and snack, choose at least a serving or two (or three!) of a fruit or vegetable. Do so not only for the nutrients and the taste, but also to help round out every meal and keep you satisfied with fiber.

What is a serving? This table shows you:

Food Serving Size
Fresh fruit ½ cup
Dried fruit ¼ cup
Raw vegetables 1 cup
Cooked vegetables ½ cup

If you don’t want to measure the amounts or remember these quantities, simply aim for 2 to 3 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of veggies every day.

Counting calories and fat grams in nuts

Nuts and seeds are nutrient-dense: They give you a lot of nutrition in a small package. Although that is positive in many regards, it can also backfire if you don’t keep your portions in check. When eating nuts and seeds, stick to one ounce per day, every day. The following table shows what an ounce of some favorite varieties gives you quantity-wise.

Quantities, Calories, and Fat Grams per Ounce of Nuts and Seeds
Nut Quantity Calories Fat (grams)
Pistachios 49 kernels 160 13
Almond 23 nuts 160 14
Sesame seeds 2 tablespoons 160 14
Hazelnuts 21 kernels 178 17
Walnuts 14 halves 185 18.5
Pine nuts 167 kernels 190 19
Source: Based on the USDA Nutrient Database

Instead of eating directly out of a large container or mindlessly pouring nuts or seeds into a recipe, always portion out a serving.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Rachel Berman, RD, a nationally recognized nutrition expert, has helped thousands of clients lose weight and improve their health. She is the Director of Nutrition and an editor at Health. As a contributor to numerous publications, and through appearances on various local and national radio and television health segments, she regularly shares her core philosophy of balance and moderation as well her passion about helping others develop a healthier relationship with food. Meri Raffetto, RD, LDN and Wendy Jo Peterson, MS, RD, coauthors of Mediterranean Diet Cookbook For Dummies, share this philosophy and are contributors to this book.

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