The Mediterranean diet is heralded as a heart-healthy diet. A keto diet is effective for weight loss. Marry the two methods, and you maximize your benefits. This blog post shows you how to eat a Mediterranean style keto diet.
Mediterranean Keto Diet Foods – At-A-Glance
- Fish and Seafood
- Examples: wild-caught salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines, tuna, crab, shrimp, oysters, clams, and mussels
- Healthy Oils
- Examples: extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil
- Non-starchy Vegetables
- Examples: spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, eggplant, onions, and tomatoes
- High-fat Fruits
- Examples: avocados and olives
FOODS IN MODERATION
- Lean Meats
- Examples: chicken, turkey, pork, and lamb
- High-fat Dairy Products
- Examples: cheese, yogurt, and butter
- Examples: Brazil nuts, pecans, macadamias, walnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, and almonds
- Examples: sunflower, pumpkin, chia, and flaxseed
- Low-Carb Fruits
- Examples: blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries
Mediterranean Style Keto Diet [Video]
In this video, you’ll learn…
- The differences between a keto and Mediterranean diet.
- Foods to limit on a Mediterranean keto Diet.
- How to enjoy the staple foods in this diet!
Keto Diet vs. Mediterranean Diet
A keto diet aims to achieve a certain macronutrient breakdown. Specifically, a keto diet is defined as a very low carb diet that is high in fat and moderate in protein.
A Mediterranean diet has less of a focus on macros and more of a focus on choosing high-quality whole foods, particularly those high in Omega-3s, monounsaturated fat, vitamins, and minerals.
By knowing these characteristics, we can marry the two dieting styles to create a satisfying and healthy ketogenic diet. This union requires you to exclude certain foods that fit into a traditional keto diet.
Before I share the foods to avoid, you may want to download my list of 100 low carb foods. The list is not specific to a Mediterranean Keto diet, but it will get you close because there are only two food categories that you’ll need to modify.
Keto Foods to Limit or Avoid
To give your keto diet a Mediterranean spin, you’ll need to limit meat and dairy products.
Here is the list of keto foods to eat in moderation or avoid altogether:
- Poultry & Lean Meats (i.e., chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, etc.)
- Processed Meats (i.e., bacon, lunchmeats, etc.)
- Half & Half
- Sour Cream
Mediterranean Foods to Avoid
Just like there are certain keto-friendly foods that you must avoid, certain Mediterranean foods must be avoided for the marriage of these two diets to work. Those foods include:
- Whole Grains (i.e., oats, rice, & whole wheat bread or pasta)
- Legumes (i.e., beans, lentils, peanuts, etc.)
- Higher-Carb Fruits (i.e., grapes, bananas, etc.)
- Starchy Vegetables (i.e., potatoes, butternut squash, etc.).
Foods to Eat on a Mediterranean Keto Diet
Now we know which foods to limit or avoid. Let’s look at a list of foods that you can enjoy.
The staple foods for you to include in your Mediterranean Keto Diet are listed below:
- Fish and Seafood (i.e., wild-caught salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines, tuna, crab, shrimp, oysters, clams, mussels, etc.)
- Healthy Oils (i.e., extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil)
- Non-starchy Vegetables (i.e., spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, eggplant, onions, tomatoes, etc.)
- High-fat Fruits (i.e., avocados, olives, etc.)
You can round out your diet with moderate amounts of the following foods:
- Lean Meats (i.e., chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, etc.)
- High-fat Dairy Products (i.e., cheese, yogurt, butter, etc.)
- Nuts (i.e., Brazil nuts, pecans, macadamias, walnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, and almonds)
- Seeds (i.e., sunflower, pumpkin, chia, flaxseed, etc.)
- Low-Carb Fruits (i.e., blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, etc.)
How to Eat Mediterranean Keto Foods
Portions of fish and seafood are recommended four times a week or more. You want to choose high-quality, fatty fish for the most health benefits.
Lean meats, eggs, cheese, yogurt, nuts, and seeds should be eaten less frequently than fish but can be consumed as additional protein sources.
Non-starchy vegetables are naturally low in carbohydrates and a valuable food group for your Mediterranean Keto diet. It is recommended to have a meal-size salad each day and a large side of cooked vegetables with another meal.
A Mediterranean diet relies on plant foods and lean protein choices, but it is not a traditional low-fat diet because it emphasizes healthy oils.
The hero oil is extra virgin olive oil, and the sidekick is extra virgin avocado oil. A daily intake of at least two tablespoons or 30ml of olive oil is recommended. It can be used as a base for salad dressing or drizzled over your vegetable side dish. Avocado oil is the better choice for cooking because of its ability to withstand heat.
Adding oil to your food can be a hard concept to accept. But, the healthy monounsaturated fats that you get from these two oils provide your body with inflammation-fighting antioxidants and provide you with hunger satisfaction.
High-fat fruits, nuts, and seeds help you maximize your daily intake of healthy fats, and all three of these food groups can be added to your daily salad. A few salad topper ideas are slices of avocado, olives, pecans, walnuts, and sliced almonds. Seeds, like sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds, also make great additions to salad. Other seeds, like chia, hemp, and flaxseed, are easy ingredients to add to recipes.
Additional fun foods that can fit into your Mediterranean Keto diet include nut butters like almond butter or natural peanut butter, as well as low carb fruits like blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries. However, these foods are easy to overeat, so you will want to pay attention to your serving size to keep your carbohydrate intake low.
It’s good to note that even though much is written about the Mediterranean diet, it is surprising to learn that there is controversy about which foods belong in the diet. The variations happen because the diet is based on how people living in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea eat. Each country has its own variations, causing some confusion over the food list.
The recommendations in this video are based on the foods used in a 12-week study. During the study, 22 obese subjects with metabolic syndrome followed a ketogenic Mediterranean diet. After the diet, all the subjects were free of metabolic syndrome and had normal triglycerides and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. They also showed extremely significant improvement in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (1).
So we see that with just a few tweaks to your keto diet, you can tap into the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet. In a nutshell, the Mediterranean Keto Diet provides the macronutrient breakdown that favors fat loss but emphasizes lean proteins, unsaturated fats, and nutrient-rich non-starchy vegetables. I hope this was helpful and gives you a next step to elevate your keto diet.
Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week!
(1) Perez-Guisado, Joaquin, and Andres Munoz-Serrano. “A pilot study of the Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet: an effective therapy for the metabolic syndrome.” Journal of medicinal food 14.7-8 (2011): 681-687.