A How-To For Crafting the Ultimate Weight-Loss Salad

Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Lizzie Fuhr

We might not be able to make it to Greece or Southern Italy anytime soon| but we can bring the cuisine to us by celebrating Mediterranean Diet Month in our own kitchens. The healthy benefits of the Mediterranean diet are touted by numerous studies| and for good reason: it promotes heart health| good vision| and weight control| to name a few. An easy way to get the Mediterranean diet into your own life is by dressing up an everyday salad with elements of this regional cuisine.

Nuts| legumes| and seeds: The next time you are debating salad toppings| consider a handful of walnuts| a serving of chickpeas| or a sprinkle of sunflower seeds. The protein| fiber| and healthy fats contained in these small bites will help keep you full and energized throughout the day. Even better| center your entire salad around a legume| like this marinated chickpea salad.

Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Nicole Perry

Fresh vegetables: You’ll be hard-pressed to find any Mediterranean meal served without a good helping of vegetables. Foods like greens| eggplant| zucchini| artichokes| tomatoes| and cucumbers are popular choices| which is why our recipe for a caprese salad is a natural choice.

Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jenny Sugar

Whole grains: Whether it’s farro| brown rice| or spelt| add heart-healthy whole grains to your next salad. Nutrient-dense whole grains provide a hearty dose of vitamins| antioxidants| and fiber. Need some inspiration? Try this recipe for a Mediterranean quinoa salad.

Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Lizzie Fuhr

Olive oil: Whether it’s a main dish| roasted vegetables| or a bowl of pasta| olive oil is everywhere in the Mediterranean diet. Containing good-for-you monounsaturated fats| olive oil is also rich in antioxidants. To reap the most in healthy benefits| choose high-quality cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil that hasn’t been heated ¡ª exactly what you’ll find in this simple recipe for a garlic-dijon vinaigrette.

Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Nicole Perry

Fish: What’s a salad without a little extra protein? The Mediterranean diet takes the focus off beef and onto fish. Full of omega-3s| iron| and calcium| this tuna and farro salad recipe is a perfect combo of everything good about the Mediterranean diet. You can also try this simple recipe for roasted branzino that you can serve alongside a Mediterranean-inspired salad.

Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Nicole Perry