International Mediterranean Diet Month: Eating the Mediterranean Way without Spending Too Much Money

Tomatoes, rosemary herb, garlic head, olive oil bottle
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May is International Mediterranean Diet Month. This traditional eating pattern of Greece, Southern Italy and Spain is both delicious AND healthy.

Key Points of the Mediterranean Way of Eating:

Large servings of vegetables are included every day.

Fruit (whatever is in season) is served for dessert.

Grains are unrefined, such as whole oats, bulgur, barley and quinoa.

Fish, beans and nuts are important protein sources.

Olive oil is used for cooking and is drizzled onto salads.

NOT included are heavily processed items (chips, fast foods, cereals, soda, etc.)

Many families have heard of the Mediterranean diet and would LOVE to try it, but think it is too expensive. Great news! There are ways to enjoy the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet

in a budget –friendly way. Money saved by NOT buying chips, cookies and soda is a PLUS!

This website is great for families who want to try the Mediterranean diet:

Lower Cost Mediterranean Foods to Try:


  • Canned, wild caught salmon

  • Canned tuna

  • Canned sardines

  • Frozen cod, Pollock

  • Dry, frozen or canned beans (kidney beans, garbanzo beans, lentils or cannellini beans)

  • Bulk bags of almonds



  • Cabbage (white and red)

  • Bags of whole carrots

  • Zucchini

  • Kale

  • Parsley


  • Collard greens

  • Spinach

  • Cauliflower

Canned (choose those with LESS than 300 mg sodium per serving)

  • Tomatoes

  • Beets



  • bulk bags of apples and whatever is in season at the time


  • store brand berries (WITHOUT added sugar)

Whole Grains

  • Whole oats

  • Whole grain pasta

  • Barley

  • 100% whole grain breads

Written by: Jenny Favret, MS, RD, LDN

Nutritionist, Duke Pediatrics Healthy Lifestyles Program

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