The Mediterranean diet is widely recognized as one of the healthiest and most delicious ways of eating. It is especially beneficial for menopausal women looking to optimize their health. With an emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats, the Mediterranean diet makes for plenty of easy, nutritious snacks. From hummus and veggies to Greek yogurt and berries, these snacks are sure to satisfy your hunger while helping you stay on track with your health goals.
Mediterranean Diet for Menopause
As I have written in a previous post, adapting your diet towards the Mediterranean style of eating is highly recommended for women in the menopausal transition. Decreasing levels of estrogen can have a major impact on our metabolism. Lower levels of estrogen can result in higher levels of cortisol and low-grade inflammation. Over time this can set us up for an increased chance of developing certain health conditions such as heart disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes.
The good news is that the Mediterranean diet has been shown to help prevent all of those conditions. No need for restriction or deprivation. Imagine. An enjoyable, satisfying, and sustainable way of eating that is good for our health. Yay!
Are snacks a good idea?
Our metabolisms do best when we fuel our bodies regularly and reliably through the active part of our day. The purpose of a snack is to help boost our energy and focus, ensure we get all our daily nutrients while providing pleasure and satisfaction. If your meals are more than 5-6 hours apart, I generally recommend adding a snack in between. This can really help take the edge off your hunger and stabilize blood sugar levels. You want to come to the next meal ready to eat but not ravenous, then you can eat your meal slowly and fully enjoy it.
Easy Mediterranean Diet Snack Ideas
Incorporating the core foods from the Mediterranean diet is a great way to ensure that your snacks are nutritious as well delicious. The following ideas are great options to get your started:
- Hummus and veggies: Hummus is a delicious and easy- snack that’s packed with plant-based protein and fiber. Simply scoop some hummus onto a plate and serve it with your favorite veggies, such as carrots, cucumbers, or bell peppers.
- Tzatziki and pita chips: Tzatziki is a refreshing and tasty dip made from strained, plain Greek yogurt, cucumbers, and herbs. Serve it up with some crunchy homemade pita chips.
- Dolmas (stuffed grape leaves): Dolmas are a great snack option often served in the Mediterranean region. They’re made by stuffing grape leaves with a mixture of rice, fresh herbs, and sometimes ground meat. You can easily find jarred dolmas at the grocery store or make your own at home.
- Baba ghanoush dip with sliced peppers: Baba ghanoush is a Middle Eastern eggplant dip mixed with garlic, lemon juice, and tahini (a paste made from ground sesame seeds) to create a creamy and flavorful dip. It can be found in the deli section of many grocery stores.
- Whole grain bread drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and topped with fresh tomatoes and basil.
- Small handful of olives: the Mediterranean style of eating relies heavily on olive oils and a daily intake of olives. For a more satisfying snack try cheese or almond stuffed olives.
- Roasted chickpeas: Roasted chickpeas are a good source of fiber and easy to make at home. Season the chickpeas with a variety of different herbs and spices, such as cumin, paprika, garlic, or chili powder, and then simply bake in the oven or air fryer until crispy and crunchy.
- Whole grain crackers topped with smashed avocado and tomato slices.
- Handful of trail mix: nuts, dried fruit, chocolate, coconut, pretzels, seeds, candy -there is no limit to the combinations you can make.
- Feta cheese and melon chunks. Sweet and salty deliciousness. My favorite is watermelon.
- Stuffed dates: a popular appetizer or snack in many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries, they can be made in various flavors and styles. Common fillings for stuffed dates include cheese, nuts, herbs and chocolate.
- Avocado toast: a no fuss option that is packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, protein and fibre. Top with lime juice or some sun-dried tomatoes for an extra kick.
- Greek yogurt with maple syrup and berries: Greek yogurt tends to be higher in protein than other yogurts making this a delicious and sustaining snack.
- Fresh fruit slices and your favorite nut butter: think peanut butter and banana or cashew butter and apple. Yum.
- Bean salad: throw together a can of mixed beans with some chopped peppers, cucumber, tomato and scallions and punch it up with a tangy salad dressing. Fast and delish.
- Hard boiled egg sprinkled with a seedy mix (pumpkin, sunflower seeds, hemp or sesame).
- Pistachios: are yummy on their own but you can also toss them into some yogurt or pair with a handful of dried fruit.
- Cottage cheese topped with blueberries or raspberries with pistachios, almonds or walnuts.
- Smoked salmon roll ups: spread a bit of cream cheese on a slices of smoked salmon, squeeze with fresh lemon, roll up and enjoy.
- Whole grain crackers slathered with ricotta cheese topped with (jarred) roasted red peppers.
- Edamame pods: frozen edamame shells are already cooked they just need a few minutes of reheating. Try them with a splash of your favorite vinegar and a light sprinkle of salt. Almost better than a bag of chips!
- Tuna veggie melt: upgrade your usual tuna salad by adding kalamata olives and sun-dried tomatoes.
- Date bars (matrimonial cake): homemade or store bought, oats and medjool dates make a winning combination. A delicious way to enjoy a sweet treat.
- Smoothie: many Mediterranean foods create delicious smoothies: Greek yogurt, fruits, nut butters, and fresh veggies are great ingredients.
- Stuffed figs: think creamy goat cheese and crunchy almonds or pumpkin seeds.
- Creamy avocado dip: Mash the avocado with herbs and sour cream and serve with veggies or your favorite tortilla chips.
- Dried apricots and hickory smoked almonds.
- Hummus stuffed bell peppers: fill mini bell pepper halves with hummus and top with a sprinkle of feta and chives. A crispy, creamy treat.
- Fig bars(Fig Newtons): delicious fig fruit wrapped in a tasty tender biscuit-these cookies hold up well when packed to go.
- Peanut butter and pretzels. Salty, creamy satisfaction.
There you go. 30 tasty Mediterranean snacks to get you started. With its wide variety of fresh fruit, veggies, whole grains and healthy fats, creating healthy snacks on the Mediterranean diet is easy and delicious. Have these ideas have sparked your imagination for other combinations? Share your own Mediterranean diet-inspired snacks below.