Best Foods I Buy After Tracking For 2 Years

  • I have been following the Mediterranean diet for 2 years and buy a lot of staples to keep in my pantry.
  • Olive oil, Greek yogurt, whole grains, and peanut butter are ingredients that I store on a regular basis.
  • Other essentials of the Mediterranean diet include foods high in healthy fats and protein.

My grocery store was once filled with processed waste and sugary snacks, but once I switch to the Mediterranean diet, it looks more like a vegetable patch filled with colors and lots of leaves.

The Mediterranean diet, which has been named the healthiest way to eat for five years in a row, emphasizes whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, and healthy fats. My main sources of protein are fish, seafood, and eggs (although you can also eat white meat like chicken). Dairy products, in the form of yogurt or cheese, appear on the menu a few times a week.

In my two years of following the Mediterranean diet, I cut out red and white meat (I always eat fish) and swapped processed purchases for fresh food.

Here’s what I tend to buy every time I go to the grocery store for all of my diet needs:

Olive oil is a staple in almost all plate

Olive oil can be used in everything from soups to baked dishes.

Jennifer barton


Olive oil is the staple ingredient in everything I eat on the


mediterranean diet

. I use the most affordable cooking oil I can find, whether it’s frying fish, making vegetable soup, or baking.

I’ll also splash the finest olive oils (ideally when they’re on sale) and use them to drizzle on leaves, whole grain salads, pasta dishes, seafood, and grilled vegetables.

I usually buy the largest size I can find for the best value because I use so much olive oil.

Greek yogurt adds the perfect amount of protein

Cartons of Greek yogurt on shelf in grocery store

Greek yogurt adds the perfect amount of creaminess to any recipe.

Jennifer barton


While plain yogurt isn’t as exciting as its flavored counterpart, the low-sugar, low-protein Greek-style version is still my grocery pick.

I like to garnish yogurt with fruits like blueberries and pomegranate seeds, sometimes with a drizzle of honey as a staple for breakfast or dessert.

Greek yogurt is also great as a dip for savory dishes and can add creaminess to salad dressings. It’s delicious mixed with olive oil, lemon, white wine vinegar, garlic, and some herbs, like cilantro. I recently discovered that you can add Greek yogurt to soups for extra creaminess.

Now that I’ve been eating Greek yogurt for so long, I don’t even miss the fruity and super-sweetness anymore.

Canned tuna is an affordable alternative to fresh fish

packet of fresh salmon fillet

Fresh fish adds protein to the Mediterranean diet.

Jennifer barton


Fish is a big part of the Mediterranean diet which is delicious and nutritious, but it can be expensive.

Fresh fish is my indulgence, but, with the right herbs, frozen or canned tuna does the job just as well at a fraction of the cost.

I will have tuna for lunch twice a week. I’m going to make a Nicoise salad with spinach leaves, a few hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, a few potatoes and a vinaigrette made with olive oil, lemon juice and mustard. It’s so easy to prepare and it tastes the same as those salads from Nice that I used to eat in French bistros.

I also always stock up on canned sardines. They’re great when toasted with lemon juice and served on whole wheat bread.

Onions and garlic are my favorite way to add flavor

My cupboards are always full of red and white onions and shallots. I also keep the shallots in the refrigerator.

I use onions in most of the meals I prepare: soups, stews, pasta, protein dishes, omelets, the list goes on.

Garlic is another essential ingredient. I’ve found that if you add more garlic to a dish, you need less salt. Plus, it’s purely anecdotal, but I’m pretty sure the more garlic I eat the less sugar I crave.

I enhance my dishes with fresh and dried herbs

Fresh herbs sit on shelves in the grocery store

Herbs add flavor and spice up my favorite dishes.

Jennifer barton


I often try to save money on food by looking for frozen or canned alternatives, or in the case of herbs, dry instead of fresh.

I use a lot of dry herbs in my cooking, but will always buy fresh ones too. My taste buds have started to get used to that extra fresh dill in an omelet or a pinch of cilantro in a salad. My new favorite side dish is a combination of cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, and chickpeas.

The diet exposed me to a ton of herbs that I had never eaten before, which is one of my favorite things about it. For example, I sprinkled sumac, a tangy purple-colored spice, on some house fries the other day and it was delicious.

Peanut butter is a delicious way to add healthy fats to smoothies and soups

Can of peanut and other nut butters on shelf

Peanut butter is my favorite healthy fat to add to the Mediterranean diet.

Jennifer barton


One of the best things about the Med Diet is that all of those “high fat” foods like peanut butter that you crave but aren’t supposed to eat are encouraged in this one.

Peanut butter is one of my favorite snacks – I eat it with a spoon, mix it into smoothies, spread it on celery or apples, or I spread it on whole wheat pita bread. It’s delicious, and I always buy the biggest tub I can find.

Peanut butter also adds exceptional texture and flavor to tasty recipes. English chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has a great butternut squash soup with peanut butter recipe. I use olive oil instead of butter to make it suitable for the Med diet.

Tahini is a versatile essential

Similar to yogurt, tahini, a sesame paste, has become a staple of the cabinet for me.

I add homemade hummus tahini, mix it to soups, use it as a sauce and spread it on whole wheat pita with falafel.

You can add lemon juice and honey to turn the tahini into a dressing or use it for cooking.

Pre-cooked whole grains like rice and quinoa save a lot of cooking time

Whole grain packets

Whole grains fill in and add fiber.

Jennifer barton


No trip to the grocery store is complete without a few whole grains.

I tend to buy a mix of precooked packs so that if I have a busy work week I can still manage to eat a healthy lunch just by combining a few packs.

I also make sure I have the cheapest versions that require baking. I have found that adding whole grains to salads makes them much more filling.

If you need inspiration beyond brown rice and couscous, try freekeh, an ancient grain high in fiber and protein. I’ll mix it with halloumi cheese and tomatoes or serve it with roasted eggplant.

Canned pulses are great for big and hearty dinners

Canned beans stacked on top of each other

My pantry is always full of beans and pulses.

Jennifer barton


Before I started the Med Diet, I had canned beans in my cupboard for months.

I would buy them because I thought they were what I was supposed to eat, but I never had a clue what to do with them. Now I’m happy to say that I mix chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, and other legumes into my diet on a daily basis.

I always buy extras because I know they’ll go fast – if I ever get hungrier one day, adding chickpeas to a salad goes from a light lunch to a big meal. I love making stews with beans and diet-friendly chili dishes. I also buy canned tomatoes in bulk because I use them in everything from soups and pasta to sauces and stews.

My family loves to snack and cook with a rainbow of fruits and vegetables

Orange and red peppers in grocery store

Peppers add nutrients and a splash of color to the Mediterranean diet.

Jennifer barton


Vegetables are an integral part of my diet.

I always have peas and spinach in the freezer for a quick accompaniment to any meal, but I love shopping for fresh veg every time I go to the store because they are my family’s favorite snacks. We eat vegetables and hummus, salads and raw carrots all day.

No trip to the grocery store is complete without purchasing a combination of peppers, carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers.

After being at home 24/7 throughout the pandemic and incorporating fruits and vegetables into most meals, I now also buy a weekly box of misshapen vegetables and fruits that would otherwise be wasted.

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