Usually, when you think of a diet, changing something in your lifestyle could also mean a pattern of eating.
When you talk about the Mediterranean diet, it's based on the eating habits of the traditional cuisine in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. They choose a plant-based but not 100% vegan or vegetarian because it includes fish and seafood several times a week. Sometimes you add some dairy, eggs, and poultry, but red meats and sugar are restricted or considerably moderated.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
So it's not a diet at all. It happens to be a pattern of eating that focuses on nutrient-rich, high-quality whole foods like:
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Legumes and beans
- Whole grains
- Healthy fats low in saturated fats, like olive oil
- Herbs and spices
- Seafood a few times a week
- Poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt in moderation
- Meats and sweets are restricted or in small portions
This way of eating is associated with a low incidence of chronic disease and longevity. It's been ranked Number 1 best overall diet by health experts yearly.
The Mediterranean diet has been linked to lower heart disease and correlated with:
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduced risk of diabetes
- Lower risk of stroke
- Reduced risk of developing certain types of cancer
- Reduced risk of developing cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.
Since the Mediterranean diet restricts sugar and processed foods, it's a favorite with many dietitians.
Some processed foods that involve canning or freezing are considered healthy and tolerated in moderation. The Mediterranean diet focuses on consuming fresh foods closest to their natural forms.
Cooking your meals at home will ensure you know what's in the dishes. When done right, the diet will provide all the needed phytonutrients, minerals, and vitamins with lots of protein and fiber, all essential components of good health.
Red wine is an accepted casual, moderate drink with meals on the Mediterranean diet. However, it's important to note that you shouldn't start drinking wine if you haven't had it before. Alcohol is associated with an increased risk of different kinds of cancers.
Weight Loss vs. Eating Healthy
Before you make a significant lifestyle change and switch diets overnight, you should check with your doctor and dietitian first to determine what the perfect diet would be, including portion control.
It's important to consider that certain foods that fit in this diet can have lots of calories like olive oil, olives, and nuts. Because of this, it's easy to consume too many calories, which would make you gain weight, which can be frustrating since you assume you can eat as much as you want “because it's healthy,” this is where dietitians can help.
The Mediterranean diet is a healthy way of eating but may not be the best diet for weight loss. Weight loss and health are two different goals independent of each other.
How Can Seniors Gradually Transition to Mediterranean Diet?
Making incremental changes over time might be best for seniors wanting to change their eating habits, first think about your goals, then start with 2-3 meals a week following the Mediterranean diet while at the same time cutting out processed foods and sweets.
Don't worry about following the diet “perfectly”; there is no such thing.
A meal kit delivery service can be a great way to source Mediterranean diet meals. They handle all the tasks of finding a recipe, planning the menu, creating a meal ingredient list, grocery shopping, prepping the ingredients, and cooking the meals.
Some of those tasks might have to be handled by someone else if you are aging and have mobility issues or have trouble balancing groceries and cooking.
You can maintain your health and independence by using a popular Mediterranean diet meal delivery service.
Should You Get a Prepared Meal or Meal Kit?
When you choose a Mediterranean meal delivery service, you'll want to consider if you prefer a prepared meal or if you like to prep and cook. Some services offer both, but most offer one or the other.
The heat and eat meals are the most straightforward option, pop them into the microwave or heat up in a pan quickly.
The meal kit services send all the ingredients to you pre-portioned and lightly prepped. You or your caregiver can follow the easy-to-follow instructions on the recipe card and cook the meal. These meals usually take about 30 minutes to prepare.
Should You Choose Frozen or Fresh?
Meal delivery services deliver their packages either fresh or frozen, and they stand firm on their reasons for doing so. Fresh may seem better at first, but it's not always the case, especially if you don't plan on eating all the meals right away.
The problem with frozen meals is that they can get a little watered down and bland when heated. If you don't prefer frozen or fresh, consider how long the meals need to last in the fridge or freezer when you choose.
Compare the Most Popular Mediterranean Diet Meal Delivery for Seniors
- HelloFresh – 14 Free Meals across 5 boxes Plus Free Shipping. See Review.
- BistroMD – Weekly subscription with 5-day and 7-day programs available. Avg cost $6.78-$9.74, Shipping – $19.95 per order, ready-made meals – heat/eat
- Dinnerly – Dinnerly brings recipes and ingredients to your door for unfussy, affordable weeknight meals. It is the first subscription meal kit service to offer $4.49 per serving.
- Marley Spoon – Marley Spoon and Martha Sturarsends the recipes of your choice and the fresh, pre-portioned ingredients you need to cook them directly to your door
- Silver Cuisine – The meals are catered to older adults, but anyone would enjoy them. Silver Cuisine specializes in the tastes of mature diners and focuses on nutritional quality, taste, and portion sizes. They offer over 50 meals that are aligned with the Mediterranean diet philosophy.
- NutriSystem – Lose up to 18 lbs FAST! Lose weight fast! Money back guaranteed.
- MagicKitchen – Customers can order from a full menu of easy-to-prepare Gourmet Meals – Soups, Entrees, Desserts & more delivered to their home.
- Omaha Steaks – Wide variety of the finest quality USDA-approved, grain-fed beef and other gourmet foods including seafood, pork, poultry, side dishes, appetizers, complete meals and desserts.
- Lobster Anywhere – Trusted source for the best Maine lobster delivery to your front door, overnight, guaranteed.
- Trifecta – Trifecta sources, manufacturers, and distributes fully cooked meals.
- Home Bistro – They offer a lineup of 10 Mediterranean heat and eat meals, arriving frozen at your doorstep. The meals are designed to be boiled in a bag.
- Home Chef – A top meal kit company that delivers fresh ingredients and easy-follow recipes can mix and match the meals to create 26 weekly choices. You can easily create your Mediterranean meal plan. You'll find lots of fish, poultry, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. They also have smoothies you can add to any heart-friendly meals.
- Freshly – Each meal is chef-prepared by a qualified chef and delivered fresh to you. The ingredients are fresh; the meals are packed immediately; you heat and eat as soon as it arrives. They have a large selection of protein-focused meals but no breakfast or snack options.
Top Companies that Deliver Mediterranean Diet Meals to Seniors
Only a few meal delivery services offer Mediterranean meal plans for seniors, but many conform to the diet without calling them that. You can customize a plant-based, vegan or vegetarian diet to make it Mediterranean by adding a few servings of fish or lean meats per week.
- Easy-to-follow recipes with clear nutritional info.
- Farm to table sourcing of high-quality ingredients.
- Most meals are ready in under 30 minutes.
One of the most extensive meal kit delivery services in the market, HelloFresh offers various Mediterranean-friendly meals to subscribers, although they don't label them as such. The meal plans start at only $7.49 per meal and fall into four categories:
- Meat & Veggies
- Calorie Smart
Each option is available for 2 or 4 people, and you can choose from two to five meals per week. HelloFresh offers a selection of Italian, Mexican, African, Thai, French, and Irish options.
- Fully prepared meals, heat and eat
- Perfectly portioned to promote healthy weight loss or other health goals.
- A bariatric doctor designs menus
- More than 150 meals to choose from weekly.
A bariatric specialist developed BistroMD to offer weight loss programs to fit a wide variety of health needs and preferences.
These specialized programs include:
- Woman's program
- Men's program
- Heart-healthy program
- Gluten-free program
- Diabetic-friendly program
- Vegetarian program
- Menopause program
Even though the heart-healthy program isn't labeled as a specific Mediterranean diet, it follows the principles of this eating approach.
Some seniors choose BistroMD to lose weight, and the company reports that, on average, the members lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week.
The heart-healthy program offers many plan options:
- The complete program, seven days. The program has seven breakfasts, seven lunches, six dinners, and My Night, which is described as a “structured break to practice what you learn.” The current cost is $142.46 per week.
- Lunches and dinners, seven days. This program includes seven lunches and seven dinners. The current cost is $119.96 per week.
- Lunches and dinners, five days. This program includes five lunches and five dinners.
BistroMD is currently offering, for a limited time, 25% off plus free shipping for new members.
When this diet first originated, the people in the Mediterranean lived this lifestyle of eating from the land, laboring, and walking everywhere they went daily, and their stress levels were lower.
This diet is strictly limited to Mediterranean dishes meaning Greek or Italian foods, but you can still get the benefits.