Med Month Part 2 – Swap Your Fats & Snack on Nuts and Seeds

— Written By

Swap Your Fats

May is Med Month and this is the second 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. In this article, we will look at simple steps 2 – ‘Swap Your Fats’ and 5 – ‘Snack on Nuts and Seeds’. Make sure to watch the recipe demonstration video below to see a part 2 recipe, Rosemary Chili Walnuts.

The Med Way recommends to choose olive oil and canola oil over saturated fats (e.g., butter, margarine, lard, etc.). The goal is to consume 4 tablespoons of olive or canola oil per day while keeping within your calorie budget. Fat is an integral part of our diet and consumption of dietary fat DOES NOT correlate to an increase in body fat. What matters is the type of fat you consume.

Saturated fat facts


Our sources of fat should be high in unsaturated fats and low in saturated fats. The chart below will help you determine whether the fat source you are using meets this criterion. When looking at the chart you will notice that there are fat sources with higher unsaturated fat and lower saturated fat than olive oil and canola oil. So why would we recommend those 2? Simply because they are the most affordable sources that meet our high in unsaturated fats and low in saturated fats.

Oil comparison chart

You may have noticed that coconut oil is the last fat source on the list, this is surprising to many when learning about eating the Med Way. If you would like to read more on what research says about coconut oil check out this article.

You may be wondering how you can meet that 4 tablespoons of fat per day. Here are a few ideas:

Med Tips

A very simple way to cut down on saturated fat and sugar in your diet is to avoid store-bought dressings by making your own vinaigrettes at home. It’s super simple!

Salad Dressing 101:

  1. Start with a jar with a screw-top lid.
  2. Add acid.
  3. Add oil.
    1. Med Tip – Start with half acid / half oil and add more oil as needed based on your specific taste preferences.
  4. Add seasoning.
  5. Shake and serve.
  6. Store in your refrigerator for a few weeks.
    1. Med Tip – When serving again, take out of the refrigerator a few minutes before serving to allow dressing to re-liquefy.

Not sure what to look for when you’re purchasing olive oil? Check out this olive oil purchasing guide to help you get the right oil for you!

Snack on Nuts and Seeds

The Med Way recommends replacing common snack foods, such as granola bars and protein bars, with nuts and seeds. Which nuts and seeds should you choose?


Pick your favorites and aim for at least 3 ounces of nuts and seeds per week. How much is one ounce?


In addition to snacking you can add seeds to salads and grain dishes and top fruit with nuts and seeds. 

Looking for recipes that will help you follow this recommendation? Check out Med Instead of Meds – Recipes

I recommend:

Olive Oil Toast

Olive Oil Deviled Eggs

Oven Roasted Vegetables

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Written By

Zach Troutman, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionZach TroutmanExtension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences Call Zach Email Zach N.C. Cooperative Extension, Lincoln County Center
Updated on May 22, 2020
Was the information on this page helpful? Yes check No close
Scannable QR Code to Access Electronic Version