Why I Love the Mediterranean Diet

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN
Toby is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in clinical nutrition and dietetics from New York University.  She is the founder of Toby Amidor Nutrition where she provides nutrition consulting services for various entities. As a nutrition expert for FoodNetwork.com, she writes for their Healthy Eating Blog; she is also the nutrition advisor for FitStudio (powered by Sears). Toby is on the Advisory Committee for Activewear USA, has a regular column titled “Ask the Expert” in Today’s Dietitian Magazine, and is an adjunct professor at Teachers College, Columbia University’s Nutrition Department. You can read Toby’s personal blog and follow her on Facebook and twitter.

Having spent my summers in Israel and having grown up in a household filled with Mediterranean flavors, I adore the fresh and delicious foods the Mediterranean lifestyle promotes. The diet is filled with fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, poultry, nuts, seeds, and legumes. The food is subtly flavored to allow its natural flavors to shine. Lunch and dinner are accompanied by a splendid glass of red wine. Meals are enjoyed with family and friends sans electronics with good old conversation.  What more could a gal ask for?

The recipe below is for Grilled Vegetable Skewers marinated in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The beautiful colors are perfect to serve guests as a side to chicken or fish.

Grilled Vegetable Skewers

Serves: 4 (2 skewers per serving)

16 cherry tomatoes
1 medium green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
¾ medium red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
8 button mushrooms, sliced lengthwise


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
8 wooden skewers

Place all vegetables in a large bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, honey, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Pour marinade over vegetables; mix to evenly coat. Cover vegetable bowl and let marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Preheat grill. Thread the vegetables in any order desired. Each skewer should have 2 pieces each of green peppers, yellow pepper, onion, tomato and mushroom. Grill skewers for 10-15 minutes, turning several times, until vegetables are tender and edges are slightly browned.


Nutrition info per serving:
Calories: 128 Total Fat:  7 grams, Saturated Fat: 1 gram, Total Carbohydrate: 15 grams, Protein: 5 grams, Sodium: 303 milligrams, Cholesterol: 0 milligrams, Fiber: 3 grams

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