The Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Shopping List

Want to live longer and improve your health by eating some of your favorite foods?

Then the Mediterranean diet may be the diet for you.

Studies done by the American Heart Association show the beneficial effects the Mediterranean diet has on improving cardiovascular health and blood pressure while reducing your inflammatory response: factors that can lead to an increased lifespan.

A common question when starting this diet is, “What can you eat on the Mediterranean diet?”

Keep reading for the ultimate Mediterranean diet shopping list.

What Is the Mediterranean Diet?

As the name suggests, the Mediterranean diet is a style of eating that’s based on the traditional foods eaten by the people and countries of the regions surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.

The Mediterranean diet has shown to be effective in promoting weight loss, supporting heart health, and increasing longevity. For these reasons, it has been touted by many health professionals over the years.

The Mediterranean diet is characteristically non-restrictive, one of the many reasons it remains popular and effective.

Often considered a lifestyle over a diet, it emphasizes nutrient-dense foods while not foreboding any food group, in particular, suggesting everything in moderation.

Mediterranean Diet Basics

The Mediterranean food pyramid provides the basic guidelines for this pattern of eating.

The foundation for the pyramid emphasizes eating whole, plant-based foods, fresh, seasonal produce, whole grains, and healthy fats.

Near the top of the pyramid, the diet’s guidelines suggest a limited intake of processed, sugary foods and red meats.

The basis of the Mediterranean lifestyle model promotes healthy habits, meaning daily physical activity, cooking and enjoying meals communally, mindful eating practices, and getting plenty of sunlight and water.

Mediterranean Diet Meal Planning

Solid preparation, and knowing which Mediterranean diet foods to buy and stock your pantry with, is the key to succeeding in this lifestyle.

Since there is no one standard Mediterranean diet, there is no single “right” way to follow it.

Foods and eating styles included in the diet vary among the different countries and cultures it is based on, so there are only commonly suggested foods and cuisines.

You can adjust what you eat on the Mediterranean diet to best suit your individual needs.

The diet’s pyramid offers guidelines for suggested weekly servings of food groups; a useful tool when meal planning and to help ensure you’re staying on the right track.

Mediterranean Diet Shopping List

Below I’ve outlined some typical Mediterranean diet-approved foods to add to your grocery list so you can shop confidently, knowing you’ll fill your cart with delicious and nutrient-dense foods.

Fresh Fruits and Veggies

Fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables are the cornerstone of any good Mediterranean diet and you should aim to consume them daily.

Dark leafy greens – kale, spinach, and collard greens – are nutritional powerhouses found in several soups and baked dishes.

Other common vegetables include onions, eggplants, artichokes, mushrooms, broccoli, and cucumbers. Tomatoes are a staple element, used to make shakshuka, accompany a baked fish, or turned into a sauce.

Garlic is generously used in many dishes and sauces as a robust flavoring agent.

A squeeze of fresh citrus fruit, like lemon or orange, adds zest to many fish dishes. Likewise, dates, figs, and grapes are healthy dessert alternatives, while dried fruits are great Mediterranean diet snacks.

Whole Grains

Whole grains have a rich and celebrated history in the Mediterranean, and eating them comes with many added benefits. They are a great source of minerals, fiber, and B vitamins.

The popular grain, quinoa, can be a main dish, a side, or mixed in with salads. Tabouleh, a salad of Lebanese origin, is made with bulgur wheat.

Other traditional grains include farro, couscous, and barley. Daily suggested servings mean you can incorporate these delicious options into every meal.

Beans and Legumes

Beans and legumes are regularly eaten in the Mediterranean diet. They’re high in fiber and protein, low in fat, and friendly to any budget.

Chickpeas are a versatile staple in Mediterranean dishes. Turn them into hummus or falafel, or toss them into salads.

Lentils, cannellini, black and kidney beans are full of texture and flavor. Use them as a starting point for soup recipes.

Healthy Fats

The Mediterranean diet is rich in healthy fats, the most notable being olive oil. Olive oil is the primary oil of the Mediterranean and is used in everyday cooking, making dips, spreads, dressings and more.

Nuts and seeds are abundant in this diet – almonds, walnuts, and pistachios. Sesame seeds are the main ingredient in tahini and make hummus, dressings, and sauces.

Kalamata olives are dynamic and eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner in the Mediterranean diet. Grab them as a snack, throw them in a pasta or salad, or turn them into a delicious tapenade.

There is no need to cut out fats in this diet – these fat sources are great tasting, can improve heart health and satisfy hunger, keeping you full, longer.

Fish and Seafood

Fish and seafood are a feature in many Mediterranean dishes and carry a recommended two servings a week.

Rich in Omega 3’s, these proteins pair well with many of the diet’s other staples, such as grains, veggies, or legumes.

And you can use your unused fish stock to make a tasty seafood risotto.

Fresh Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices are used freely in Mediterranean cooking to add exciting aromas and create full-flavored meals.

They also carry a wealth of micronutrients and added health benefits.

Basil, coriander, cumin, mint, parsley, rosemary, sage, za’atar, oregano; the list is endless, and your reign in this arena, unlimited.


Eggs, dairy, and artisanal cheeses are encouraged to be savored in small amounts alongside the diet’s recommended items.

Particularly good for you, and common in the Mediterranean diet, are fermented cheeses like feta and fermented yogurt, like Greek yogurt. These contain powerful probiotics and support gut health.

Use feta cheese in salads, pecorino to top your pasta, and greek yogurt to whip up a creamy tzatziki sauce for dipping falafel or bread.

You should eat meats and sweets sparingly. Think of them as an indulgence, not a daily ritual. Red wine is a luxury of the Mediterranean diet and can even be taken daily in moderation.

So don’t be afraid to enjoy a glass with your dinner!

Bottom Line

The Mediterranean diet is a versatile way of eating and a lifestyle at its core and can be modified to meet the dietary needs of nearly anyone. So now you know what to eat on the Mediterranean diet.

Bring this Mediterranean diet shopping list with you the next time you head to the grocery store, and stock up on your favorite Mediterranean foods mentioned in this list.

Once you taste the flavors of the Mediterranean, you won’t be disappointed!

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