Greek cuisine is renowned for its nourishing simplicity, and is considered among the finest and healthiest in the world.
Most traditional dishes avoid elaborate sauces, preferring the perfume of herb seasonings and the flavorings of fresh tomato sauce, garlic and citrus.
Nutritionists have long praised the Greeks’ use of unsaturated fats like olive oil and unprocessed sugars like honey, as well as pulses and vegetables, because the country lies at the top of longevity lists.
While there may be other lifestyle components involved, a typical Greek diet appears to be a major factor here.
Here follows 10 tips to Eat like a Greek no matter where you are around the world:
1 Eat a vegetarian meal at least twice a week.
Pick two days of the week and jump on that “meatless day” trend of skipping meat for a day for at least twice a week. Mondays could be a great choice for this cause since we normally over consume meat during weekends.
2 Limit red meat and poultry.
Red meat is only consumed a few times a month, and poultry and eggs once or twice a week in the Mediterranean. Instead, go for fish or seafood and the vast variety of bean dishes offered by the Greek cuisine..
3 Eat sea food once a week.
Skipping red meat for one more day of the week is a good choice, but consuming fish such as tuna, octopus and sardines which are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, is also a great benefit for brain and heart health.
4 Alcohol .. wine, ouzo, tsipouro /homemade.
Traditional Greek drinks – tsipouro, wine, retsina, ouzo – are made to be enjoyed with food. Whole genres of restaurants are built around this concept with the most famous ones being the “tsipouradika”. Such eateries all specialize in meze (tapas) to complement the drink. In Greece it is generally considered unthinkable to drink without something to nibble on
5 Substitute sugar with honey.
Honey is the liquid gold of nature. Needless to refer to the reasons, in every possible occasion use honey instead of sugar. Honey works great as a sweetener for your tea, it could be a great dessert served nuts, fruits and Greek yogurt. It is also a wonderful choice for breakfast as an alternative to jams.
6 Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
Every meal is an opportunity to consume fruits or vegetables. While fruits work great for snacking, vegetables are a great base for phenomenal salads (starter or side dish), super comfort veggie soups or inspiring veggie main courses. Don’t forget to combine them with legumes for maximum nutrition benefits.
7 Use good fats.
Extra virgin olive oil, nuts, sunflower seeds and olives are great sources of healthy fats for your daily meals.
8Say yes to yogurt.
Greek yogurt, that is. This creamy treat packs about twice as much protein as regular yogurt, and it’s also high in bone building calcium and stomach-soothing probiotics. Choose plain Greek yogurt over sugar-heavy flavored varieties, and sweeten it up with honey, or fresh fruit. Nuts, ground flaxseed, and wholegrain cereal can also add a savory and satisfying crunch.
9Flavor your dishes with feta.
This tangy cheese is a staple in Greek cuisine: Its semi-hard texture is great for both topping salads and baking into savory dishes, and it’s slightly lower in fat and calories than some cheeses and contains a high amount of B vitamins, phosphorus and calcium.
10Culture behind food.
Food is a huge part of the diet, yes, but don’t overlook the other ways the Greeks live their lives. When they sit down for a meal, they don’t sit in front of a television or eat in a rush; they sit down for a relaxed, leisurely meal with others, which may be just as important for your health as what’s on your plate. Daily exercise, sharing meals with others, and fostering a deep appreciation for the pleasures of eating healthy and delicious foods are vital elements to the Greek eating habits.