Celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian shares 7 of his top tips for following the Mediterranean diet

Celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian is a fan of the Mediterranean diet. Paul Zimmerman / Getty Images; Photography Marie Sonmez / Shuttershock

  • Partnering with Genova Premium Tuna, Geoffrey Zakarian shared tips for following the popular diet.

  • Keeping your pantry stocked with basic items and keeping fresh produce on hand can make eating easier.

  • Make sure to go for high quality ingredients, like extra virgin olive oil.

  • Visit the Insider homepage for more stories.

Known for his roles in “The Kitchen”, “Chopped” and “Iron Chef”, celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian has been a promoter of the Mediterranean diet long before it was fashionable.

Oil-packed tuna was a staple from Zakarian’s childhood, and his meals still often revolve around fish, seasonal fruits and vegetables, and healthy staples.

Her favorite way of eating led to her partnership with Genova Premium tuna, which celebrates Mediterranean Diet Month by offering a free meal kit which features a recipe from the famous chef.

This flexible plan based on fish, healthy fats, whole grains, and fresh produce, and Zakarian shared some of his top tips for integrate the popular way of eating into your lifestyle.

Fill your pantry with Mediterranean staples

Zakarian suggested completely revamping your pantry. before diving into the Mediterranean style of eating.

“If you don’t have the ingredients on hand, you’re going to ruin everything,” he told Insider. “Every three or four months you want to take stock of what you have in your pantry and make sure that when you open your pantry you walk in, everything around you will be good for you, no. ? Or 90% of it, at least. “

You can start by stocking up on canned fish, beans and legumes, as well as whole grains ready to be prepared.

Focus on high quality ingredients

olive oil

Whether you are shopping to restock your pantry or fill the fridge with fresh produce, high quality ingredients, like real extra virgin olive oil, are essential.

“Spend the extra money, buy the best produce, because it will be the most nutritious,” Zakarian said. “It will be the least loaded with conservatives.”

Zakarian added that you need to properly store your ingredients to get the most out of every penny spent.

“Make sure you store your olive oil in small amounts and keep it cool,” he told Insider. “A big mistake people make is putting it outside near the oven or near the stove, and it goes rancid very quickly.”

Limit red meat by relying on fish, beans, and legumes

Although red meat is part of the Mediterranean diet in moderation, you can also modify your meals to focus on other sources of protein.

“If you want red meat, you just add it once or twice a week, so you can eat it, but it’s not the staple,” Zakarian said.

Zakarian suggested opting for protein sources such as nuts, legumes, eggs, some poultry, and fresh and canned fish, such as Genova Premium Tuna.

He said that Genova Premium Tuna is a good choice because it only has three ingredients.

“It’s albacore, or it’s yellowfin tuna, olive oil and salt, that’s all,” he explained. “That’s why it’s so pure. There are no conservatives. There is nothing else in there.”

Incorporate lots of fresh produce into your meals


Dried or fresh fruit makes a great garnish for yogurt bowls. Shutterstock

The favorable Mediterranean climate gives a lot of delicious fruits and vegetables, so you need to incorporate these foods into your diet to embrace this way of eating.

Once your pantry is fully stocked with nuts, beans, legumes, canned fish, and whole grains, you can focus your weekly groceries on fresh fruits and vegetables to whip up hearty, nutritious meals without overdoing it. think.

“We just add protein and fresh veg, and we have great food every day of the week,” Zakarian told Insider.

Everyone go out for breakfast

Breakfast is an afterthought as many people don’t have time to cook an elaborate dish before work, but Zakarian said the morning meal is important to enjoy all the benefits of the Mediterranean diet.

“Breakfast is where you bring all of these wonderful veggies,” Zakarian told Insider. “… We can make a beautiful bowl of yogurt with wonderful dried fruits and all the fresh fruits that the Mediterranean produces.”

He also suggested using feta cheese and tomatoes in your breakfast dishes to make eggs in purgatory, a popular dish of poached eggs in a spicy tomato sauce.

The chef also suggested adding dried papaya, dried figs, dried dates and granola to the yogurt bowls for a “supercharged” and “vitamin” breakfast that “won’t leave you hungry.”

“We can make a beautiful bowl of yogurt with wonderful dried fruit and all the fresh fruit that the Mediterranean produces,” he told Insider.

Don’t skimp on dips and sauces


Dips like tzatziki can easily enhance your meals and snacks. Nomadneshot / Shuttershock

The Mediterranean diet includes a lot of tasty dips and sauces it can help keep your taste buds from getting bored.

Zakarian suggested using Mediterranean staples like nuts, canned or fresh chickpeas, vegetables, and yogurt to make spreads like pesto, hummus, and baba ghanoush (an eggplant-based dip. ).

“And it’s endless, endless what you can do with tzatziki and yogurt, hummus and beetroot hummus and all kinds of grilled vegetable dips,” he said.

Keep it simple and let the natural flavors shine

The Mediterranean diet contains naturally tasty foods like olives, fish, eggplants, grapes and tomatoes, so the secret to preparing delicious meals is to let these ingredients shine.

Plus, these must-have foods pack your meals with flavor and nuance while providing the nutrition you need.

“People have always asked me what’s the last thing on Earth you would have to eat if it was just one kitchen,” Zakarian said. “I would say Mediterranean cuisine because this cuisine offers everything on the planet that is good for you.”

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