It’s official – it’s COLD!!! We’re dressing in layers and taking advantage of every opportunity to stay inside. Our hibernation is going to last a few months because winter is only just beginning. Though a select few may be lucky enough to jet away to a warmer climate, the rest of us need to be a bit more creative. So if you can’t physically get away, give your taste buds a vacation!
While some may think that “vacation eating” is synonymous with splurging, many exotic destinations are home to healthy cuisines that produce some of the longest life-spans in the world. The Mediterranean diet, filled with the perfect combination of natural, unprocessed foods is one of the most heart-healthy around.
Here’s your packing list for your Mediterranean vacation:
Fruits & Vegetables: Sweet peppers, cabbage, kale, tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, dates, figs, pomegranates and more. Plant foods, minimally processed and rich in anti-oxidants, are a permanent fixture on the Mediterranean plate at every meal.
Beans: Whether it’s fava, Lima, garbanzo, lentil or red beans, these legumes are all abundant in the Mediterranean diet. These tiny whole foods are packed with protein and fiber. They also infuse a signature flavor and texture characteristic of traditional Mediterranean cuisine.
Whole Grains: Unrefined grains such as barley, couscous, whole wheat pita and pasta,are common in the Mediterranean diet. Keeping these grains intact allows them to be digested more slowly thereby maintaining a more stable blood sugar.
Healthy fats: Unlike butter or shortening, olive oil and grapeseed oil are high in monounsaturated fats. Increased consumption of monounsaturated fats may decrease blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Lean proteins: Substitute fins for fur! Try fish in lieu of other sources of animal protein to help lower overall fat intake. Omega 3 rich fish, such as sardines and salmon, can help to lower our blood pressure and make us feel as if we are really on a vacation!
Here at Smart Lunches, we know that all of our “lunchers” deserve a Mediterranean vacation! Check out the Mediterranean Platter that’s on the menu the week of January 26th. We may not be able to get you a respite from the cold, but at least we can deliver a Mediterranean lunch to your school!