|by Carolyn Burris
Gold Standard for Healthy Eating: the Mediterranean Diet
A heart healthy eating plan that focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy oils is important to our body’s function and health. As with all heart healthy diets, fruits, vegetables and grains are key. With the Mediterranean diet, more emphasis is placed on whole grains rather than refined as well as fresh fruits and vegetables rather than juice or fruit drinks. Extra virgin olive oil is the principle source of fat in the Mediterranean diet, being used for cooking, baking and for salad dressings and drizzling on vegetables. Nuts, legumes and fish are encouraged to provide the main source of protein.
If this sounds like the diet for you, start by increasing your intake of vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Aim for half of your plate to be covered with non-starchy vegetables and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil after you have cooked them. Don’t forget that seasonings are the spice of life in the Mediterranean diet.
Roasted Vegetable Cheddar Quiche
- 2 cups roasted vegetables(medley of broccoli, zucchini, carrots, garlic, sweet potato, peppers)
- 4 oz. aged Cheddar cheese, grated
- 4 organic free-range eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup light cream, Half and Half Cream (or non-dairy sub)
- A pinch of nutmeg
- A pinch of Old Bay Seasoning
- 10 sweet grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- Chopped basil or parsley
- Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9-inch glass pie plate with extra virgin olive oil.
- Layer the roasted vegetables in the bottom of the pie plate (I layer the potatoes first.) Scatter most of the shredded cheese over the vegetables.
- In a large measuring cup or mixing bowl, use a fork to beat the eggs with the cream, and add a pinch of nutmeg. Pour the egg mixture all over the veggies and cheese, allowing it to seep in. (I lightly press down a bit with a thin silicone spatula to make sure the custard mixture sneaks in to all the nooks and crannies.)
- Press the halved tomatoes all over the top; sprinkle a tad more of the remaining cheese; dust lightly with basil or parsley.
- Bake the pie in the center of a pre-heated oven for 30 minutes, or until the center of the pie is set, and the edges are turning golden brown.
- Set on a wire rack to cool for five minutes before serving. This allows the pie to settle, and makes it easier to slice and serve.
- Serves 4-6 – light and tasty with a side of crisp greens or fruit salad drizzled in a raspberry vinaigrette.
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Carolyn Burris, an east Tennessee native, earned her Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Community and Public Health Nutrition at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her passion for helping those with nutritional needs brought her to Forum Health Knoxville. Carolyn particularly loves encouraging those struggling with food intolerance, obesity, fibromyalgia, and fatigue.