Of all the diet doctrines that promise a longer life, better health and a fitter body, the one we like most is the simple Mediterranean diet.
Brightly colored and bursting with flavor from fresh vegetables, herbs and olive oil, it requires no complicated cookbooks or special equipment and offers myriad ways to turn basic ingredients into satisfying meals.
And it turns out that eating Mediterranean style is also the experts’ choice for a healthy meal plan.
“It’s a very strong contender for best diet,” said physician David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, in a 2013 Washington Post interview in which nutritional experts evaluated different diets including Paleo, gluten-free, fasting and cleanses.
Marion Nestle, a widely published professor of nutrition at New York University, agreed: “People love Mediterranean diet plans. They are healthy and may advise eating less of certain foods, but they exclude nothing,” she told the Post.
Compared to some of the more drastic diets out there, Mediterranean cuisine is comfortingly familiar: Greek salads, shish kebab and chickpeas have long been established on the North American lunch and supper scene.
Less common here — apart from the “Greek omelet” found at diners — are the breakfast foods of Greece, southern Italy and other countries in the region. But our family is also very fond of eating breakfast Mediterranean style, with an array of fresh foods seasoned with herbs and spices: paprika, cumin, zahtar and of course, salt and chili.
These meals have inspired Ronit’s latest blend, Mediterranean Breakfast Seasoning. A spicier extension of traditional zahtar, it’s made with toasted thyme, Marash chili, sesame seeds, sumac and Maldon sea salt — and we sprinkle it on everything:
Eggs, hard-boiled or in an omelet made with cheese and/or herbs and seasoned with salt and a touch of chili;
Sliced tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil;
Fresh vegetables, dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper;
Labneh (strained yogurt “cheese”; you can also serve Greek yogurt).
Served with toasted bread on the side, these simple dishes make a traditional Mediterranean breakfast that will send you out the door ready for an epic day.
Craving something sweet with the savory? Stir a little of our granulated honey into your labneh or Greek yogurt, and you won’t have to deal with a sticky spoon and jar.
Other variations: In winter, serve the eggs with tomato sauce; in spring, add fresh baby greens to the vegetables; in summer, use heirloom tomatoes with fresh basil; in autumn, try making your own labneh by straining yogurt through cheesecloth (WikiHow has a recipe with photos).