Skip to content

Want To Try A Mediterranean Diet? Here's Exactly What You Need To Buy

Liz Moody
Contributing Food Editor
By Liz Moody
Contributing Food Editor
Liz Moody is a food editor, recipe developer and green smoothie enthusiast. She received her creative writing and psychology degree from The University of California, Berkeley. Moody is the author of two cookbooks: Healthier Together and Glow Pops and the host of the Healthier Together podcast.
Image by mbg Creative x iStock
Last updated on April 28, 2022
Advertisement
This ad is displayed using third party content and we do not control its accessibility features.

The Mediterranean diet has long been lauded as one of the best choices for heart health.

While the name might conjure bright sunny days, olive-oil-drenched veggies, and fish fresh from the sea, it can be hard to figure out exactly what to put on your grocery list.

Never fear—we've compiled the ultimate Mediterranean diet shopping list for you to print out and bring to the store with you. Here's exactly what to get. 

The Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Shopping List

Fruit

The Mediterranean diet is rich in produce, and fruit is high on the list. While no fruit is off-limits, make sure you include as much diversity as possible.

You can go for fresh or frozen and add them to salads, smoothies, or just eat them plain.

Because you won't be eating a lot of cookies or cakes on the Med diet (white flour isn't encouraged when following the plan), fruit is also a great dessert option.

Cut up a fresh fig and drizzle it with local honey and top it with a bit of crushed pistachio.

Saute up an apple in a bit of olive oil with cinnamon, or make like restaurant revolutionary Alice Waters and eat a fresh piece, as ripe as possible, for nature's perfect treat.

Try these:

  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Blackberries
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Nectarines
  • Figs
Advertisement
This ad is displayed using third party content and we do not control its accessibility features.

Veggies

All veggies are acceptable and beloved on the Mediterranean diet, but it's ideal if you stick to what's seasonal to maintain as much of a connection to the land and your local region as possible.

In the fall and winter, lean toward Brussels sprouts, root vegetables, mushrooms, and kale.

In the spring and summer, try eating more asparagus, artichokes, and zucchini.

The best way to get in touch with what's in season? Join your CSA—it stands for community-supported agriculture, and it means that, for what's usually quite a reasonable price, you'll get a box of just-picked produce every week (for more on CSAs, including how to find one near you, check out this article).

You can also peruse your farmers market for fresh-from-the-field options.

Try these:

  • Brussels sprouts
  • Mushrooms
  • Kale
  • Asparagus
  • Artichokes
  • Zucchini
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Potatoes
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
Advertisement
This ad is displayed using third party content and we do not control its accessibility features.

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are staples of the Mediterranean diet. Toss 'em into a smoothie (soak them first if you don't have a high-powered blender) or use them to add crunch and interest to salads or grain dishes (yes, grains are allowed! More on that below!). 

Try these:

  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Cashews
  • Chia seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
Advertisement
This ad is displayed using third party content and we do not control its accessibility features.

Whole grains

You'll likely be happy to know that unlike many popular diets today, the Mediterranean diet embraces whole grains in all their glory.

Ideally, look for grains that haven't been processed at all. Use them as a base for grain salads or mixed with a milk of your choice for a hearty breakfast option (bonus points if you top your breakfast grain bowl with berries and some chopped nuts!). 

Try these:

  • Quinoa
  • Buckwheat
  • Wheat berries
  • Farro
  • Oats
Advertisement
This ad is displayed using third party content and we do not control its accessibility features.

Legumes

Legumes of all sorts are allowed on the Mediterranean diet. Either make them from scratch (with an Instant Pot, it's shockingly easy!), or look for cans that are BPA-free.

You can use any legumes to make salads with whatever fresh produce is in season, or roast chickpeas in the oven with spices and olive oil until they're crispy for a protein-packed snack.

Try these:

  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Black beans
  • White beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Navy beans

Healthy fats

Yes, yes—you knew we'd get to olive oil eventually. Look for extra-virgin olive oil—and for the most benefits, look for an olive oil that makes you cough a bit when you taste it.

That cough comes from the polyphenol content (aka the part that makes it healthy).

While some modern nutritionists don't cook with olive oil, the people living in the Mediterranean have for thousands of years—but if that makes you uncomfortable, use the olive oil raw in salad dressings or to finish dishes, and use avocado oil for high-heat cooking.

Healthy fat is celebrated in the Mediterranean diet, so you can also fill up on olives and avocados. 

Try these:

  • Olive oil
  • Olives
  • Avocado

Seafood

Speaking of healthy fat, you'll want to get your omega-3s in, which means it's seafood time.

Seafood is a staple of the Mediterranean diet, so eat anything fresh-caught in abundance.

While wild-caught fish is wonderful, farmed fish can also be a great option. 

If you're looking to avoid mercury, choose smaller fish that are lower on the food chain but still provide ample nutritional benefits—think sardines and anchovies versus tuna. 

Try these:

  • Salmon
  • Halibut
  • Cod
  • Trout
  • Sardines
  • Anchovies

Poultry and eggs

While red meat isn't typically a huge part of the Mediterranean diet, poultry and eggs are embraced. Mix up your poultry types and always look for eggs and poultry from pasture-raised animals for the most nutritional benefits.

Try these:

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Duck
  • Eggs

Dairy

You'll be happy to know that cheese and milk are both allowed on the Mediterranean diet.

If you're going for dairy, always make sure it's grass-fed or pastured, and think beyond the typical cow's milk variety.

People who live in the Mediterranean embrace sheep's and goat's milk, which offer different flavor profiles and can sometimes be easier to digest for people with lactose issues.

Try these: 

  • Sheep's milk
  • Goat's milk
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt

Spices and herbs

Mediterranean eaters embrace herbs and spices in abundance. In addition to packing a huge flavor punch, herbs and spices have tons of health benefits.

Use them liberally—use dried spices when cooking grains or to make a rub for seafood or poultry, or sprinkle your eggs with your favorite spice blends.

And don't sleep on fresh herbs—some roughly ripped basil can make fresh tomatoes pop, and fresh, torn mint makes a salad sing like nothing else.

Another Mediterranean staple? Making a tea from fresh herbs. Just steep whatever you have on hand—rosemary, mint, thyme, oregano; it all works!—in hot water for five to 10 minutes, then strain and sip up!

Try these:

  • Basil
  • Cumin
  • Mint
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Cinnamon
Want to turn your passion for wellbeing into a fulfilling career? Become a Certified Health Coach! Learn more here.
Liz Moody
Liz Moody
Contributing Food Editor

Liz Moody is an author, blogger and recipe developer living in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated with a creative writing and psychology degree from The University of California, Berkeley. Moody has written two cookbooks: Healthier Together: Recipes for Two—Nourish Your Body, Nourish Your Relationships and Glow Pops: Super-Easy Superfood Recipes to Help You Look and Feel Your Best. She also hosts the Healthier Together Podcast, where she chats with notable chefs, nutritionists, and best-selling authors about their paths to success. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Glamour, Food & Wine & Women’s Health.