The Mediterranean way of eating emphasizes a lot of fruits and vegetables. There are a variety of options to achieve this goal.
Fresh fruits and vegetables choices change throughout the year based on growing season. But, many of these same foods are available in frozen, canned, or dried forms year around. Look for plain frozen fruits and vegetables without added flavors or sauces. Choose canned products without added salt for vegetables or canned in their own juice for fruit. Dried fruits can be eaten as is or can be rehydrated.
Fresh or frozen fish options are few in some locations. But canned tuna or salmon, packed in water or olive oil, are good choices.
Don’t have fresh herbs? There are many dried herbs available to use instead. A general substitution is 1/4 teaspoon dried ground = 1 teaspoon dried whole/crumbled = 1 tablespoon fresh chopped.
If certain foods are not available in your local grocery store, ask the manager to order the item. You may not be the only person looking for it and it could become a regular item on the shelf.
Over the years, consumers have changed how they acquire food. Foods purchased away-from-home have increased over purchasing food to eat at home. The USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) studies all food purchases to get a broad picture of consumer buying habits.
The ERS study looked beyond eating at restaurants to include sources such as airline food, hospital and nursing home food, and prison food. They also looked at food purchased through assistance programs such as food and nutrition assistance programs, meals at work locations, and meals served at government-sponsored locations. In the last two decades, shoppers have increased food expenditures from warehouse club stores and supercenters instead of traditional grocery stores.
Away from home, food purchases are increasing at fast food restaurants while full-service restaurants have remained steady.