Eat Like a Mediterranean, Day 10

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Today is our last day in the series, “Eat Like a Mediterranean.”  It’s all about how we can make some simple adjustments to our diet in order to make it more reflective of the disease-busting Mediterranean dietary patterns.  There is so much that we can emulate from their eating patterns, which is actually more of a lifestyle than diet.  And today’s goal is just that: you need to view this way of eating as something you will do for the long-term (e.g., life), and incorporate it with that other positive lifestyle practices of the Mediterranean, which is engaging in activity every day (they walk to many more places than we do), and enjoying food sitting down in the company of others.

Mediterranean’s enjoy their food slowly, rarely rushed, over a number of courses.  More importantly, meals are centered around the company present, not necessarily the food being served.  Meals are truly communal, and it is in my opinion this is what is lacking for most Americans.  We are so busy rushing around these days that we neglect to sit down and eat, reflecting on the day with our family or friends, appreciating the food around us and where the food came from.  In America we seem to have a big disconnect with our food….and that really needs to stop.

I realize that most families or individuals have hectic lives, and adopting their diet and lifestyle completely to one that better reflects a Mediterranean pattern will be difficult.  But if you can make an effort for at least 3 dinners each week to sit down and enjoy slowly with others it will have a positive impact on your life.  The more days and meals you can add, the better – even if it’s just on the weekends to start.

Below is a great recipe that I created last week.  I chose tabbouleh because we have some great parsley growing in our herb garden right now and parsley is a powerful antioxidant and phytonutrient-rich herb.  I chose to totally take out using any bulgur or quinoa in this tabbouleh because honestly whenever I eat this side dish out, it drives me nuts that it’s mostly grain and hardly any parsley….but prepare this recipe however you wish (you can add and cook 1/2 to 1 cup of bulgur or quinoa and add to the recipe below).  I paired this side dish with some Greek marinated chicken tenders.  YUM!

Grain-less Tabbouleh

Serves 4

3 cups fresh parsley, cleaned, dried and chopped coarsely

2 green onions, chopped

1/2 red onion, chopped

2 large tomatoes, chopped

1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped

Juice of  1-1/2 lemons

2-4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Toss parsley, onions tomato and mint into a medium bowl.  Whisk together remaining ingredients and season; pour over parsley mixture.  Let sit and allow flavors to meld about 30 minutes in refrigerator.  Should keep for 3 days.

Chicken strips in marinade.

Chicken strips in marinade.

Greek Chicken Marinade

Serves 4

2 large chicken breasts, cut into 1″-inch thick strips

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

1 Tbsp dried oregano

2 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

Place chicken in a large plastic resealable bag.  Whisk together oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper.  Pour over chicken and let marinade 1-2 hours.  Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and grill chicken for about 5 minutes per side, or until chicken has reached an internal temp of 165 degrees F.

Grilling the chicken strips on a grill pan.

Grilling the chicken strips on a grill pan.

Serve chicken over a bed of tabbouleh and some fresh arugula or spinach salad!  YUM!

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