Going Mediterranean with Dairy
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans focused renewed attention on helping Americans choose healthy eating styles to follow, but some may be unfamiliar with one of the newest eating styles: The Healthy Mediterranean-Style Pattern. It includes more fruit and seafood than the Healthy U.S.-Style Pattern.
Although the Mediterranean eating style may not appear to emphasize dairy foods as much as other foods, new research is helping define the role of dairy foods in a healthy Mediterranean eating style.
A Mediterranean style of eating is based on traditional foods of the 21 countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. It abounds in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seafood, poultry, fermented dairy foods like yogurt and cheese, nuts, legumes and fats such as olive oil or avocado. Whether originating in Greece, Italy, Spain, Morocco or Egypt, there are a tremendous variety of foods to try.
With that in mind, let’s explore some tempting ways milk, yogurt and cheese can be used to enhance your own Mediterranean style meals. If you love food as I do, you will be inspired by the tremendous variety of foods to try from different countries in the Mediterranean region.
- Mediterranean Breakfast Couscous: Couscous goes from the dinner table to the breakfast bar with this easy Mediterranean recipe made with low-fat milk. Cinnamon, apricots and currants make it morning friendly.
- Tzatziki: A cool and creamy traditional Greek cucumber dip made with Greek yogurt that compliments grilled meats and vegetables or can be served as an appetizer or snack with pita bread triangles.
- Roasted Red Pepper Olive Tapenade and Toast: A versatile dish with slices of fresh mozzarella cheese that can be served as an appetizer, side dish, breakfast or light lunch.
- Quinoa and Turkey Stuffed Peppers: This satisfying, one-dish meal uses feta and mozzarella cheese in the filling.
- Salmon with Yogurt, Spinach, Lemon and Capers: Salmon fillets are baked with a spinach Greek yogurt sauce in this traditional main dish from Crete.
- Feta Cheese Pancake (Tiganopita me Feta): Here’s a recipe the kids can help with. Serve as bread with a Mediterranean-style meal.
Embrace the Mediterranean-lifestyle by dressing salads with Greek yogurt, adding part-skim mozzarella to salads and sandwiches or using low-fat milk in your lattes, smoothies or on its own as a beverage with your meal.