If you’ve always been curious about the Mediterranean diet, now’s the ideal time to start implementing it into your lifestyle. Especially if you’re trying to lose weight, the MedDiet has scientific evidence behind it that proves it can aid in your weight-loss efforts. By following this delicious eating regimen, you can also decrease your risk of many health issues, including heart disease, certain cancers, and type-2 diabetes. That’s why we spoke with Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN—the founder and director of Real Nutrition, a New York City-based private practice dedicated to healthfully and successfully guiding clients to their optimal nutrition, weight, and overall wellness, who shares with us nine of her best-recommended Mediterranean diet snacks for weight loss.
The MedDiet requires you to eat plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, along with eggs, nuts, legumes, olive oil, whole grains, fish, poultry, and certain dairy products. There are also some items you should avoid, including foods that are high in sugar, processed oils, sodium, saturated fats, and red meat.
“This diet is helpful for weight loss because it is rich in plants,” Shapiro explains. “Eating more plants has been shown to help with weight loss. Plants are high in fiber and low in calories and fat, therefore the more you eat, the more full you stay on fewer calories. This diet also removes processed foods, encourages lean protein from seafood, and promotes heart-healthy fats. These foods help to keep you full longer, help to manage blood sugar levels which keeps cravings for processed foods and sugars at bay, and decrease inflammation.”
Now, let’s get into the best Mediterranean diet snacks for weight loss.
1. Sliced Apple With Greek Yogurt and Hemp Seeds
This tasty treat offers plenty of fiber, protein, antioxidants, and heart-healthy fats, Shapiro tells us. You don’t have to part with dairy completely when following the MedDiet. In fact, you can enjoy products such as unprocessed cheese and Greek yogurt.
Dietitians rave about Greek yogurt as a healthy snack or breakfast option for weight loss—and for good reason. One container of plain nonfat Greek yogurt (156 g) is only 92 calories and provides a whopping 16 grams of protein to keep you fuller for longer. It also offers essential vitamins and minerals, including 173 mg of calcium and 220 mg of potassium.
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2. Whole Wheat Toast + Avocado + Sliced Tomatoes + Drizzle of Olive Oil
Slathering some whole-wheat toast with fresh avocado and topping it with sliced tomatoes and a drizzle of olive oil is an incredibly tasty, weight-loss-friendly snack. “[It’s] high in fiber, low in sugar, [and] rich in heart-healthy fats that decrease inflammation and promote satiety,” Shapiro tells us.
One cup of sliced avocado offers almost 10 grams of fiber and three grams of protein, both of which promote satiety. In addition, one slice of whole-wheat bread provides around four grams of protein and two grams of fiber.
3. Almond-Stuffed Dates
Keeping organic Medjool dates on hand, like Joolies, when you’re craving a sweet yet healthy snack is always a good idea. Make sure to store them in a glass canister with a tight-fitting lid so they’re easily accessible.
You’ve likely added dates to fresh fruit smoothies in the past, but what about stuffing them with almonds? Shapiro says this snack is “sweet yet unprocessed [and] rich in nutrients, heart-healthy fats, and fiber.” One pitted Medjool date provides almost two grams of fiber and one gram of protein.
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4. A Quarter-Cup of Hummus + Cut-up Veggies
Something as simple as homemade hummus with cut-up veggies like carrots, bell peppers, and celery can satisfy your cravings in a healthy way. Shapiro says this snack option is an excellent plant-based protein source that provides heart-healthy fats, antioxidants, and plenty of fiber. Just two tablespoons of hummus offers two grams of fiber and three grams of protein.
4. Whole Wheat Toast + Smoked Salmon + Cream Cheese
In addition to avocado toast, another whole wheat toast option that will support your weight loss efforts is complete with low-fat or nonfat cream cheese and smoked salmon. “Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and fiber will keep blood sugar balanced and inflammation down,” Shapiro tells us.
5. Fifty Pistachios
Who can resist a handful of pistachios? These salty, crunchy nuts hit the spot when you’re in the mood for something savory—especially when you need a snack on the go. “[Pistachios are a] plant-based complete protein that is also rich in fiber, has a large and satisfying portion size, [and is] rich in healthy fats and antioxidants,” Shapiro explains.
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6. A Cup of Lentil Soup Topped With Half of an Avocado
As previously stated, lentils are a staple in the Mediterranean diet. And there’s no denying that a cup of lentil soup will hit the spot on a chilly fall or winter’s day.
“Lentils are a great source of plant-based protein that are easier to digest than other legumes and are rich in fiber and antioxidants,” says Shapiro. “Topped with avocado that contains healthy fats, you’ll feel satisfied for hours.”
7. Fresh Berries and Yogurt
Sweet yet tart, fresh berries with yogurt provide a low-sugar snack that will kick unhealthy cravings to the curb. “Berries are low in sugar, high in fiber, and are a great source of antioxidants that promote longevity,” Shapiro points out. “Pair that with Greek yogurt that is low in sugar and high in protein.”
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8. Dark Chocolate + Almonds + Dried Unsweetened Cherries
You may be surprised to see chocolate on this list. However, according to research, dark chocolate can help you lower your weight and BMI. That’s what makes it a healthy yet satisfying snack. Pair your dark chocolate with dried unsweetened cherries and almonds, and you have a keeper!
“Sweet, rich in antioxidants, low in added sugar, [and] high in healthy fats and protein, this is a sweet treat people of all ages will enjoy,” Shapiro says.
If you’re picturing movie popcorn that’s drowning in warm butter and salt, think again. Prepare your own at home for a healthy treat. “A favorite among my clients, popcorn is a high-volume snack that is rich in fiber, crunchy, and satisfying,” Shapiro reveals. “[You can] pop your own for maximum health in an air popper, but there are many healthy brands available popped in avocado oil, too!”
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