Here's Your Complete Shopping List to Start the Mediterranean Diet

US News & World Report voted the Mediterranean diet as 2018's best overall diet and it's no wonder why. In addition to being effective for weight loss and beneficial to gut and heart health, the "diet" is fairly easy to follow. It's actually less of a diet and more so a regional nutritional philosophy. It's much less restrictive than keto, for example, because it encourages eating more of certain foods rather than eliminating groups altogether. Plus, it permits pairing wine with your meal from time to time.

Overall, the Mediterranean diet is heavy in fresh produce, grains, fish, beans, and olive oil (obviously), and light in meat, dairy, and eggs. Dieting seriously doesn't get any easier than this. To help make your next grocery trip a breeze, we've put together a helpful guide of items you should add to your cart. See the list ahead!

Healthy Fats
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Healthy Fats

Olive oil is a staple in the Mediterranean diet, as are other healthy fats (monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats) such as the following:

  • Canola oil
  • EVOO
  • Avocado oil
  • Grapeseed oil
StockSnap | Jakub Kapusnak


Speaking of good sources of dietary fat, the Mediterranean diet welcomes plenty of fatty fish.

  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Tuna
  • Sardines
Fruits and Vegetables
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Fruits and Vegetables

Though most produce fit into the Mediterranean diet, you should look for fresh, low-starch veggies and fruits. And if you really want to go the extra mile, shop seasonal varieties that are locally sourced. The more colorful, the better — like these:

  • Beets
  • Eggplants
  • Bell peppers
  • Berries
  • Pomegranates
Whole Grains
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Whole Grains

White breads and pastas are not present in the Mediterranean diet, but they are in whole-grain form! And of course, always substitute butter with olive oil. A good rule of thumb is to look for items that start with the word "whole."

  • Whole wheat couscous
  • Faro
  • Polenta
  • Oats
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Whole grain bread
  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
Nuts and Seeds
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Nuts and Seeds

This is one category you can and should enjoy daily. However, they are high in calories, so try to stick to no more than a handful at a time.

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Pine nuts
  • Hazelnuts
Unsplash | Deryn Macey


The Mediterranean diet limits red meat but you can still get your supply of protein (and fiber!) with beans. Try different variations, like hummus, to mix things up and be sure to drink plenty of water to prevent constipation.

  • Chickpeas
  • Black beans
  • Lentils
  • Kidney beans
  • Cannellini (white) beans
Herbs and Spices
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Herbs and Spices

Aromatic herbs and spices are a staple in Mediterranean cooking. Not only do they add great flavor but they also eliminate the need to add in any extra salt or fat.

  • Garlic
  • Basil
  • Cloves
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Rosemary
  • Parsley
  • Coriander
  • Bay leaves
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
Unsplash | Alison Marras


Dairy isn't a prominent item in this diet but it is allowed in moderation. You should limit your dairy intake to products that are lower in fat and/or cultured.

  • Ricotta cheese
  • Low-fat milk
  • Plain or Greek yogurt