Why Lidia Bastianich Is A Big Fan Of The Mediterranean Diet

Anyone who has looked into how to maintain a balanced eating regimen has likely heard about the Mediterranean diet, as many experts recommend it. In fact, it is consistently at the top of the list of best diets ranking by the U.S. News and World Report. Another person on board with this specific diet? Renowned chef, television host, and cookbook author Lidia Bastianich.

In an interview with Eating Well, Bastianich had nothing but praise for the Mediterranean diet. The chef explained, "You have vegetables, legumes, carbohydrates and proteins. Eating well takes that balance into consideration."

If you're unfamiliar, the Mediterranean diet places emphasis on whole grains, legumes, fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds. It also encourages the consumption of fats that are actually good for you and promote a healthy heart — aka unsaturated fats — and discourages the consumption of processed foods and refined grains (like white flour or white bread).

Where to start with your Mediterranean diet

Once you've decided to dive into this new eating routine, you'll need to load your kitchen with pantry staples for a Mediterranean diet. First and foremost: extra virgin olive oil. Since olive oil is considered a healthy fat, you'll want to keep it on hand to cook with or use in a salad dressing, and with a focus on fruits and veggies, you'll definitely be making plenty of salads. Other staples include various nuts, which are perfect for snacking on, avocados, olives, and jarred artichokes, which can be integrated into various meals such as pasta. Speaking of pasta, you can reach for whole wheat pasta next time you're at the grocery store, as regular pasta unfortunately falls into the refined grain category.

Then, when it comes to buying perishable food, skip over the red meat and reach for poultry or seafood, like fish including salmon and tuna, instead. Other perishable items that align with the diet include eggs and dairy. Finally, don't forget about the legumes: lentils, beans, or chickpeas. Herbs and spices are preferred over salt, so you'll want to stock up on your favorite spices, as well as herbs such as rosemary and basil.