“Ask Ann” – a dietician’s take on the Mediterranean Diet

“Ask Ann” – a dietician’s take on the Mediterranean Diet

Ann Caldwell is a Registered Dietician at AAMC. At last week’s Nursing Strategic Retreat, she led a discussion on adopting a healthier diet by way of Mediterranean-style cooking. See her presentation, “Living the Mediterranean Way,” on the Energize section of theLink employee home web page.

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The Mediterranean diet is a heart-healthy eating plan that was developed long ago based on the traditional diets of people from countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea – Greece, Crete, and Southern Italy – all of whom had low prevalence rates of chronic disease and long life expectancy, despite limited access to medical care. 

Adapting a Mediterranean style of eating can help with the prevention of chronic diseases. It may reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and incidence of cancer. Much like MyPlate, the new symbol used to provide Americans with dietary guidance, the Mediterranean diet suggests that the majority of foods we eat should be vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. 

There are a few differences, however. In addition to the vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, the Mediterranean Diet encourages incorporating olive oil, beans, and nuts at every meal. Fish and seafood should be consumed often, at least twice a week. Poultry, cheese, eggs, and yogurt should only be eaten in moderate portions weekly, and meats (pork, and red meat), and sweets should be consumed less often. And of course, you can’t forget to be physically active!

Learn more about the Mediterranean eating plan at www.mayoclinic.com/health/mediterranean-diet/CL00011 and www.oldwayspt.org/mediterraneandiet

Delicious and healthy?! Sounds great! Do you have questions for Ann? Post them here…


  1. Posted by Denise, at Reply

    Will you consider posting a sample weekly menu (breakfast–lunch–dinner)? To give an idea of how to begin the implementation of diet that reflects this lifestyle may be helpful. Thanks

    • Posted by Monica, at Reply

      Denise, I can’t speak for Ann, but here is a great recipe using lentils–beans are a big part of the mediterranean diets: abcnews.go.com/GMA/Recipes/story?id=7039586

    • Posted by Ann Caldwell, at Reply

      One of the best resources for recipes and menus is www.oldwayspt.org

      The site has links to menus, recipes, 101 ways to Eat Well and ideas to start the journey to healthier eating.
      Please let me know if this is helpful.

      Eat Well – Ann

  2. Posted by Chad Dillard, at Reply

    Any ideas from people about how they are eating more veggies?

    • Posted by Ann Caldwell, at Reply

      I have had two nurses stop me to say they enjoyed the presentation and are “working on” making changes. I am meeting one over lunch to help her with specifics. We are working on recipes to share at the July 1st picnic and for the farmer’s market!

      Have fun in Cleveland:)

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