The principle that guides the Mediterranean Diet is that a plant-based diet that only includes small amounts of meat is the healthiest way to eat. The focal points of the Mediterranean Diet include fruits, vegetables, olive oil, whole grains, beans, seeds and nuts. Nuts are a good source of unsaturated fat, which boosts the health of your heart, and most varieties can be included in your healthy eating plan if you're following the Mediterranean Diet.
A handful of almonds makes a tasty and nutritious snack, but it also aligns with the nutritional principles of the Mediterranean Diet. While plain almonds are acceptable, you can incorporate them into your Mediterranean Diet plan in a variety of nutritious ways. Toss raw almonds with olive oil and your favorite herbs and spices and roast them for a tasty snack. Add chopped almonds to your morning bowl of steel-cut oats, or scatter them over a leafy green salad. Combine finely chopped almonds with diced onions, minced garlic and a drizzle of olive oil to make a healthy topping for grilled fish.
Walnuts contain a good dose of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which makes them a nutritious addition to your Mediterranean Diet plan. A handful plain is a good way to incorporate them into your diet, but you might also enjoy them stirred into low-fat Greek yogurt and topped with diced apples and unsweetened raisins. Chopped walnuts enhance the flavor of grilled chicken and fish, as well. Scatter walnuts over a fruit salad to add a pleasant crunch, as well as a good dose of nutrition.
Most nuts are approved as part of a healthy Mediterranean Diet. Pistachios jazz up the taste of plain yogurt, while pecans pair well with fresh fruit and yogurt for a tasty and nutritious dessert. Add chopped macadamia nuts to homemade bread or muffins, or grind cashews in your food processor and use them as a breading for grilled chicken. Puree any kind of nuts with a tiny drizzle of oil to make homemade nut butters that can replace your usual peanut butter on sandwiches and toast.
Nuts to Avoid
While nuts in their raw or roasted form are generally nutritious, there are certain kinds of nuts that you'll need to skip to adhere to the principles of the Mediterranean Diet. Skip nuts that have been candied because they contain added sugar, which isn't good for you. You should also skip honey-roasted nuts, because they also contain added sugar. Heavily salted nuts are a Mediterranean Diet no-no, as well, because too much salt can lead to high blood pressure.
Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.