An article by nutritionist Taru (ArcticNut) for Lunch BXD with recipe ideas by the Lunch BXD kitchen.
What is the Mediterranean diet? It’s a diet which follows the traditional, healthy eating habits of people from countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. It varies by region and has many definitions but it’s largely based on vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, cereal grains, olive oil and fish.
As numerous studies have shown over the years, the Mediterranean diet is proven to be a healthy option especially for cardiovascular health – meaning the heart and blood veins. A recent study found that people following a Mediterranean diet had 30% lower risk of heart disease and stroke. Recently, a new study showed that the Mediterranean diet even helps to slow down the cognitive decline and even diseases like Alzheimer’s. So keep the olive oil flowing and popping those healthy nuts!
The Mediterranean diet consists mainly of starchy foods, such as pasta and bread, plenty of fruits and vegetables, some fish and choosing products made from vegetable and plant oils, such as olive oil. The diet includes very little meat. The diet is actually pretty similar to the UK government’s eatwell plate model, which includes foods from all food groups and the amounts that are beneficial to you of each group.
Following a Mediterranean diet is quite simple and it shouldn’t be considered as a diet, rather a way of healthy living.
At Lunch BXD we create dishes from all types of cuisines and diets but are never restrictive in the menus we create. First and foremost the dishes most be flavoursome and tasty and then we look into ensuring they are balanced and great for you too. The Mediterranean diet works perfectly for inspiration in our lunch boxes as it includes lots of fresh, vibrant flavours and slow-releasing energy ingredients. One of our most popular lunch boxes is a healthy take on the Spanish classic ‘paella’ using quinoa as the basis (rather than a white carbohydrates) with warming spices and fresh vegetables and plenty of lemon and herbs.
‘Chorizo & Prawn Quinoa Paella’
Ingredients (serves 2)
1 red onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 red peppers
1 red chilli
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp paprika
1 tablespoon curly parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato puree
300 ml white wine
80g red & white quinoa
800ml vegetable stock
12 king prawns
1 lemon zest & juice
Bring pan of vegetable stock to boil, turn down to simmer and add the red & white quinoa, cook for 12 mins, until ready. Drain.
Heat a little olive oil in a shallow pan and add the onion, peppers, chorizo, garlic and chilli. Fry over a high heat for 3 mins and then a low heat for a further 3 minutes until the onion and pepper is soft.
Add the spices and tomato puree for a further minute, followed by the wine and then the rest of the ingredients. Allow the mixture to bubble away until the prawns have just turned pink, and then take off the heat and season with salt, pepper and lemon and garnish with parsley. You may want to add a splash of water.
Serve with an extra lemon wedge on the side and a sprinkle of chopped parsley.