Heading out to dinner tonight but don’t know where to go? If you want to stick to your weight-loss goals while dining out, a good bet is to choose a Mediterranean-style restaurant. Here’s why: Cuisines from countries like Greece, Lebanon, Israel, and Turkey rely on fresh produce, nutrient-dense and fiber-rich vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes, healthy portions of lean poultry, beef, and seafood, and good fats from extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, and avocado — all of which are staples of the South Beach Diet.
Health Benefits of Mediterranean Foods
According to the important Spanish study known as PREDIMED, which was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers found that those who followed a Mediterranean-style diet had better blood sugar, better blood pressure, and better ratios of good HDL cholesterol to bad LDL cholesterol than those in a low-fat diet group. This is why the general population in the Mediterranean has a lower incidence of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Since the basic principles of the South Beach Diet are similar to the Mediterranean way of eating, many people on our diet have experienced these same health benefits, in addition to weight loss.
On the Menu
When you’re dining out at a Greek or Middle Eastern restaurant, go for dishes like kebabs made with lean grilled meat (like lamb, sirloin steak, or skinless chicken breast) or seafood (such as shrimp, scallops, or salmon). For a healthy side dish, enjoy steamed vegetables on all Phases or whole-grain dishes like couscous and bulgur on Phase 2 and beyond. You can also choose dips like hummus or tzatziki (a yogurt, cucumber, and garlic dip) served with vegetable sticks or whole-wheat pita bread, depending on what Phase you are on. Many Mediterranean dishes also use flavorful blends of herbs and spices, adding to their appeal.