Get started with Easy Mediterranean Meal Planning
If you have been following me or my blog for awhile, you know I am a big meal planner. I have been following a Mediterranean diet meal plan even since I found out about a hereditary health issue at a past appointment. We already eat pretty healthfully in our home, so making the switch to the Mediterranean Way of Eating was a pretty seamless transition. Menu planning and meal prepping helps so much in getting healthy food on the table. As we have embraced a homesteading lifestyle within this past year – the Mediterranean Way of eating goes right in line with the farm to table way that we want to eat so it has been a great fit. Having a Mediterranean food list for the pantry, refrigerator, and freezer is very helpful for success. Easy Mediterranean meal planning is all about having nutritious fresh foods prepped and ready to assemble meals.
Making changes and Swaps
The biggest change for me was adding whole grains back into my meals after being gluten free for so long (see * below). Whole grains are a very important part of the Mediterranean way of eating and I have really been enjoying them – especially having oats again. We traded the ghee and butter, we used to cook with for extra virgin olive oil and switched to whole grains. I cut down on my cheese consumption ( this was painful, I am from WI after all…lol) and use it much more sparingly, more like a condiment now. We switched out cane sugar for maple syrup, dates, and fresh fruits. Another big change is eating more fish and seafood and less red meat.
I hope that this guide is helpful for you as it is for me. It is packed with tips and tricks to help you plan healthy, delicious, meals for your family. Because we are homesteaders we have fresh eggs and a plentiful garden which we love to use in our meals, but anyone can eat this way with access to fresh foods. I can honestly say I have NEVER felt better, healthier and had more energy then I have since eating this way.
I also feel better when I eat less dairy so I use a lot of homemade cashew and almond milks to swap for milk or cream in my recipes. As for cheese, I eat goat or sheep cheese and cow cheese once in a while.
This way of eating would not be possible without pre-planning and meal prep. It seems like a lot of work at first but it is SO worth it. I hope you enjoy it.
- You may have seen my gluten free meal planning guide as well as several gluten free recipes – I wrote them when I was having a major wheat sensitivity – since then it has resolved, and through repairing my gut and I am able to tolerate it again. Even though I am no longer gluten free, and am now eating whole grains – I left them up on my blog because I still think they are great healthy resource for those who do need to be gluten free.
What you will not find here
This is a meal prep and meal plan idea guide – I have not included portion sizes, or any of that info because it varies from person to person.
*this blog contains affiliate links, as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases
Mediterranean MEAL PLANNING TIPS FOR BREAKFAST
Having breakfast foods prepped helps so much on busy mornings. Here are some of our favorites.
Oatmeal or another grain – Make up a big pot of hot cereal and have add ins like fresh or dried fruit and nuts out for each person to make their own. With Oatmeal, be sure you are using rolled oats or steel cut.
Muffins – I like to make a big batch of muffins every week ( I use the leftover nut pulp from making my coffee creamer) and freeze them to simply heat and eat during the week
Greek Yogurt, or Chia pudding – Start with yogurt, or chia pudding as your base and then add in delicious, healthful ingredients like fruit, nuts, and seeds as toppers.
Whole grain pancakes – make up some whole grain pancakes and freeze them. Pull them out as needed and top with fresh fruit.
Egg Cups, Fritattas, and egg bakes, great options for a protein and veggie packed breakfast, just be sure to add a grain such as a muffin or piece of whole grain toast.
Mediterranean MEAL PLANNING TIPS FOR LUNCH
For lunch, I usually eat leftovers morphed into one of the things mentioned below.
Salads – I love taking leftover chicken and making a fresh chicken salad, and adding garbanzo beans for extra protein and a grain such as quinoa or barley to make it a complete meal.
Grain Bowls – Grain bowls are so fun and there are a lot of ways to make them.
Whole grain Wraps – you can put pretty much anything in a wrap and will be delicious. I make buckwheat crepes or use whole wheat naan bread.
soups – leftover soups are a quick and easy lunch – I like make at least one homemade soup or chili a week. Don’t do the canned stuff, they are loaded with sodium and preservatives.
My beautiful sister Kristyn’s White Chicken Chili Recipe
Mediterranean MEAL PLANNING TIPS FOR DINNER
I like to plan out what I am going to have for dinner each night of the week and for the most part – I try to stick to it – even if the days sometimes get swapped around.
THEMED NIGHTS MAKE MEAL PLANNING FUN
Meatless Monday – we love to do spinach and mushroom lasagna or easy baked tomato goat cheese pasta and serve it with some whole grain garlic bread and a fresh salad
Greek Bowl night – we grill chicken, and serve with a selection of roasted veggies, cucumbers, chick peas, homemade tstziki sauce, kalamata olives, feta and fresh lettuce and each person can build their own
Taco night – This is fun to switch up. We do chicken tacos, fish tacos, and sometimes I make some delicious corn tortilla taquitos in the air fryer
Homemade Pizza Night – We make a homemade whole grain crust and pile on the veggies. Homemade chicken or turkey meatballs are a great protein addition.
Pasta Night – We love pasta night, this could be whole grain lasagna, Alfredo,spaghetti and clam sauce, ramen
Build your own Baked potato Bar – I make sweet potatoes and russets and then set out all the yummy toppings
Soup and Sandwiches – Delicious homemade soup and sandwiches – we do oven subs, wraps, quesadillas and more
Appetizer Night – We love to mix it up for these – some fun choices are spanakopita, whole grain bruschetta, white bean dip with vegetables – use your imagination and have fun!
MY TRIED AND TRUE METHODS FOR Mediterranean Meal Planning
These are all the things that I do regularly to plan meals for my family.
PICK A DAY TO PREP FOOD FOR THE WEEK
I like to do this on the weekends, usually Sunday. I flip through cookbooks, blogs, and take inventory on what I have on hand and then make a list of the meals I am going to make. After I shop, I prep what I can ahead of time.
ALWAYS HAVE SOMETHING THAWING
I always have at least two or three kinds of protein thawing in the fridge, or some ready to go in the instant pot meals in the freezer so there is always something ready to cook.
Here I have two chicken breasts which is the perfect amount for any soup or chili ( for my family of 4) and ground lamb which could become meatballs, wraps, egg roll in a bowl, burgers and more.
COOK UP A BIG POT OF Brown RICE, Farro, Barley OR QUINOA for easy sides and fillers
Cooking up a big pot of brown rice or quinoa is perfect for creating easy bowls, wraps and side dishes for quick lunches or to round out a meal. Cook up a big batch and freeze in 1-2 cup portions to easily add to meals.
KEEP HEALTHY PANTRY STAPLES ON HAND
Below is a list of the things that I keep stocked in my pantry.
Dry whole grain pasta
onion and garlic
Canned and dry beans
Chicken Broth (if you make your own – awesome! If not find a low sodium brand with all whole food ingredients)
potatoes and sweet potatoes
Pasta sauce ( Rao’s Brand)
salsa ( we can salsa)
flavorful spice blends
dried fruit, seeds and nuts
Olive oil ( the extra virgin olive oil at Costco is a great deal)
nut butters, peanut, almond, cashew
whole wheat flour ( I use whole wheat Einkorn Flour)
KEEP HEALTHY OPTIONS IN THE FRIDGE
Eggs ( if you are a fellow homesteader reading this, yes I know most of us keep our fresh eggs on the counter – but if store bought, in the fridge they go!)
Whipped Goat Cheese
Cow Cheese – I like to have cheddar, Parmesan, Havarti, Swiss, and mozzarella
Mustard (I use Primal kitchen)
Elmhurst Milked Cashews ( this is something that I always have on hand to make dairy free cream sauces and soups)
Salad greens – I always have a big container of mixed greens as well as a smaller one of arugula – that is when I don’t have it freshly growing
Vegetables – I always have mushrooms, a bag of coleslaw mix, and other in season produce
Fruit – berries, lemons, limes, apples, oranges
Dates ( I use dates as a sweetener in my homemade coffee creamer)
KEEP HEALTHY OPTIONS IN THE FREEZER
whole grain bread
Fruit – berries, mangos, bananas
Mixed veggies, broccoli, peas, corn, green beans
whole wheat pizza crusts ( for homemade pizza night)
Protein such as chicken, venison
Wild caught fish – salmon, Cod, Mahi Mahi ( I do not recommend tilapia as a healthy fish option – research it!)
TIPS TO COOK ONCE, EAT TWICE
Revamp leftovers – Leftover grilled chicken or beef can become nachos, enchiladas, hash, bowls, wraps, salads and more.
Add Beans or lentils – When making ground meat, adding a can of beans or some lentils will easily double it, making it cost effective, and delicious! We do this a lot for taco meat. Tacos night one and then nachos, enchiladas or bowls another night.
Double the recipe – When making things like lasagna, double the recipe. Cook one and put the other in the freezer.
Freeze soups, stews and chili – All three of these freeze very well and it is so nice to be able to pull out a homemade soup whenever you want one.
CLEAN YOUR PRODUCE AND CUT OR CHOP SO IT IS READY TO GO
I like to throw all of my produce in a bowl with Thieves fruit and veggie soak and then dry and transfer to glass storage containers for easy access throughout the week.
Take fruit like berries out of the plastic containers they came in and and store in glass.
I hope you enjoyed the ultimate guide to Easy Mediterranean meal planning. Please let me know which tip or trick you found useful in the comments!
WANT MORE EASY AND DELICIOUS RECIPES?
Join our FREE farm to table recipe recipe sharing community HERE for nightly What’s for dinner inspiration, and a community of people who love delicious and healthy food. ( Please note as this is a recipes sharing community – not everything posted in this group will be Mediterranean diet friendly – however, everything that I post will.)
Never miss a recipe – subscribe to Homesteading and Hungry Here