Med Month Part 1 – Change Your Protein

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Change Your Protein

May is Med Month and this is the first of five articles where we will discuss what it means to eat the Med Way. The Mediterranean Diet, or the Med Way eating pattern, is the historical eating pattern of those that lived around the Mediterranean Sea but is not necessarily representative of the region’s current population’s eating pattern. Changing your protein is arguably the most impactful dietary change you can make. In this article, we will look at simple step 1 – ‘Change Your Protein’. Make sure to check out the recipe demonstration video below, this is one of my favorite Med Way recipes!

The Med Way recommends the following for protein consumption:

  • Limit meat (beef, pork, and lamb) to 2 – 3 servings per month (1 serving is 4 – 6 ounces)
  • Limit/eliminate highly processed meat (cold cuts/deli meat)
  • Choose white meat poultry
  • Increase fish and seafood (2 – 3 times per week)
    • At least 1 serving should be high-fat fish such as salmon
    • Steamed, baked, broiled, or sauteed
    • Limit or eliminate fried recipes
  • Increase plant protein
    • Beans and legumes
    • Nuts and seeds
  • Limit of 7 eggs per week
  • 1 – 2 servings of dairy per day
    • Yogurt – Choose low-fat or fat-free.
    • Cheese in small amounts.
    • Milk in small amounts – Choose skim or low-fat milk.

Should you be concerned about mercury in fish?

No! There are plenty of varieties of fish that are considered low-mercury.

Food chain chart

To expand further on this, pregnant women and young children should not consume raw fish or high-mercury fish.

Pregnant woman

If you’re concerned about the source of the fish you’re consuming use to determine the safety and quality of various fish and seafood sources.

Consuming More Plant-Based Protein

Eating more plant-based proteins (i.e. beans and legumes) is a great way to improve your health. Beans and legumes are:

  • Lower in calories and higher in fiber than other sources of protein.
  • Provide a sense of fullness / satiety.
  • Much more economical/affordable source of protein than animal-based protein

Here’s an easy way to prepare beans that will reduce gas and bloating:

  • Soak beans for 48 hours in the refrigerator.
    • Drain and rinse well (doing this 2-3 times will help with gas and bloating)
  • Put in a slow cooker with vegetable or chicken stock and water (can add vegetables or seasonings as desired).
  • Cook 8-10 hours on low.

Here are some wonderful recipes that you can try while ‘Changing Your Protein’

Mushroom Beef Tacos

White Bean Hummus

Hummus and carrots

Quinoa Pinto Bean Burger

Tuna Burger

All of the Med Way recipes from our Med Instead of Meds Program