Mediterranean Diet Month

Nutrition Advice from your Pawling Hannaford Dietitian

While many other diets have waxed and waned in popularity, the Mediterranean diet remains prevalent and backed by science for its benefits to our health. Since it was first introduced 20 years ago as a diet that reduces cardiac risk and improves overall wellness, science has continued to emerge that puts the Mediterranean diet on the top of the list for chronic disease prevention.

While the Mediterranean diet includes eating guidelines (it wouldn’t be a diet if it didn’t!), it’s also about a lifestyle and an approach to eating that most Americans struggle to adopt. The foundation of the diet is about slowing down to appreciate food (slooowly) and encourages connections with others, a concept that our “face in our cell phone” culture struggles with.

In addition to being about how we eat, the Mediterranean diet is also about what we eat. A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, olives, legumes, beans, nuts, seeds and other foods rich in fiber, vitamins/minerals, and monounsaturated fats is the emphasis of this way of eating. You may have also heard that fish is a significant part of the diet, with the recommended intake being three times per week (or less along with a fish oil supplement). While the diet includes dairy rich foods like cheese, yogurt and milk, it suggests eating these foods in sensible portions. Like other dietary guidance, low intake of red meat and sweets is recommended. Last, you have likely heard that the Mediterranean diet includes consumption of red wine. While there are some benefits to consuming red wine, it’s important note that it is not a significant or necessary part of the Mediterranean diet. If you would like to see what the Mediterranean Food Guide Pyramid looks like, please visit online.

It’s clear that the way we eat and the foods we choose benefit us, especially when we adhere closely to the Mediterranean diet. In fact, recent studies have shown that individuals who do this benefit more from low intensity and leisure exercise like walking. It makes sense then, for us to encourage our friends to exercise with us so that we can benefit from both exercise and social interaction at once (just some friendly advice from your dietitian!).

If you’re interested in learning more about the Mediterranean Diet, please check out the webinar I recently co-hosted that dives deeper into the current science and shows you how to incorporate this way of eating into your own lifestyle. Download it free of charge at

As your local Hannaford Dietitian, I’m pleased to be sharing my advice and simple tips. Please visit for my in-store schedule of classes, demonstrations, and store tours or call (845) 855-0553 for more information.


Bring the Mediterranean Diet to your table in less than 15 minutes with flavorful recipe. Visit for more recipes and information about the Guiding Stars nutrition guidance program.

Cod Packets with Zucchini, Tomato & Mint (2 Guiding Stars)


2 sm. zucchini, thinly sliced

2 (6 oz) boneless, skinless cod fillets

1/8 t. kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 sm. red chili, thinly sliced

1 med. clove garlic, chopped

8 leaves fresh basil

12 leaves fresh mint

16 cherry tomatoes

2 T. olive oil

2 T. dry white wine


Preheat the oven to 450º F. Tear off two large rectangles of parchment or foil. Divide the zucchini between the two and spread them out in a small pile on half of the parchment, leaving an inch border.

On top of each bed of zucchini, place the cod, and season with salt and pepper. Top each with half the sliced chili pieces, garlic, basil, mint and tomatoes. Over each packet, spoon 1 tablespoon of olive oil and wine.

Fold the bare half of the foil or parchment over and begin crimping the edges all the way around. Place the sealed packets on a baking sheet, and bake until fish is cooked, about 12 minutes. Serve packets directly on dinner plates and open at the table.