Usually, when you think of a diet, this means changing something in your lifestyle, but it could also mean a pattern of eating. It could mean slightly changing your habits and including a healthy meal or two in your diet every week. U.S. News reported that it was the #1 diet in America.
When you talk about the Mediterranean diet, it’s based on a way of eating based on the traditional cuisine of countries like Greece surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. It’s based on a plant-based, but not 100% vegan or vegetarian, because it includes fish and seafood several times a week. Sometimes you add some dairy, eggs, and poultry but red meats and sugar are restricted or greatly moderated.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
So it’s not a diet meal plan at all, it happens to be a dietary pattern of eating that focuses on balanced living nutrient-rich, high-quality whole foods like:
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Legumes and beans
- Whole grains
- Healthy fats low in saturated fats, like olive oil
- Herbs and spices
- Seafood a few times a week
- Poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt in moderation
- Meats and sweets are restricted or in small portions
This way of eating is associated with a low incidence of chronic disease and longevity. It’s been ranked No. 1 best overall diet by health experts year after year.
The Mediterranean diet has health benefits and has been specifically linked to lower heart disease and:
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduced risk of diabetes
- Lower risk of stroke
- Reduced risk of developing certain types of cancer
- Reduced risk of developing cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Since the Mediterranean diet restricts sugar and processed foods, it’s a favorite with many dietitians.
Some processed foods that involve canning or freezing that is considered a healthy food, are tolerated in moderation. The Mediterranean diet focuses on striving to consume fresh foods closest to their natural forms.
Cooking your meals at home will ensure you know what’s in the dishes. When done right, the diet will provide all the needed phytonutrients, minerals, and vitamins with lots of protein and fiber, all important components of good health.
Red wine is considered an accepted casual moderate drink with meals when you are on the Mediterranean diet, however, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t start drinking wine if you haven’t had it before. Alcohol is associated with an increased risk of different kinds of cancers.
HelloFresh is a well-known company offering Mediterranean diet meal delivery services that feature low-calorie meal options that will make meal prep simple for seniors.
Weight Loss vs Eating Healthy
Before you make a big lifestyle change and switch diets overnight, you should check with your doctor and dietitian first to determine what the perfect diet would be, including portion control.
It’s important to consider that certain foods that fit in this diet can have lots of calories like olive oil, olives, and nuts. Because of this, it’s easy to consume too many calories which would make you gain weight. This can be frustrating since you assume you can eat as much as you want “because it’s healthy”, this is where dietitians can help.
My friend Dave initially lost weight on the keto diet then transitioned to a life of healthy eating to keep the weight down and is staying healthy with meal planning.
The Mediterranean diet is known to be a healthy way of eating but maybe not the best diet for weight-loss. Weight loss and health are two separate goals and are independent of each other.
How Can Seniors Gradually Transition to a Mediterranean Diet?
Making incremental changes over time might be best for seniors wanting to change their eating habits, first think about your goals, then starting with 2-3 meals a week following the Mediterranean diet, while at the same time, cutting out processed foods and sweets.
Don’t worry about following the diet “perfectly” there is no such thing.
Using a meal kit delivery service can be a great way to source Mediterranean diet meal options they handle all the tasks of finding a recipe, planning the menu, creating a meal ingredient list, grocery shopping, prepping the ingredients, and then cooking the meals.
Some of those tasks might have to be handled by someone else if you are aging and have mobility issues or have trouble balancing with groceries and cooking.
You can make meal prep easy and maintain your health and independence by using a popular Mediterranean diet meal delivery service.
Should You Get a Prepared Meal or Meal Kit?
When you choose a Mediterranean meal delivery service, you’ll want to consider if you prefer a prepared meal or if you like to prep and cook. Some services offer both, but most offer one or the other.
The heat and eat meals are the simplest option, just pop them into the microwave or heat up in a pan quickly.
The meal kit services like Blue Apron send all the ingredients including fresh fruits to you pre-portioned and lightly prepped. You or your caregiver can follow the easy-to-follow instructions on the recipe card and cook the meal. These meals usually take about 30 minutes to prepare. Pricing per meal is low as $4.99 per meal.
Should You Choose Frozen or Fresh?
Meal delivery services deliver their packages either fresh or frozen, and they stand firm on their reasons for doing so. Fresh may seem better at first, but it’s not always the case especially if you don’t plan on eating all the meals right away.
The problem with frozen meals is that can get a little watered down and bland when heated. If you don’t have a preference for frozen or fresh, just consider how long the meals need to last in the fridge or freezer when you choose.
Compare the Most Popular Mediterranean Diet Meal Delivery for Seniors
- HelloFresh – Weekly subscription, with 2 and 4 person plans available. Average cost – $7.49-$10.99, Shipping – $6.99 per order, Avg prep time – 30 minutes
- BistroMD – Weekly subscription with 5-day and 7-day programs available. Avg cost $6.78-$9.74, Shipping – $19.95 per order, ready-made meals – heat/eat.
- Dinnerly – Inexpensive meal kits starting at $4.69 per meal, make the meals in 20-30 minutes, You get all the ingredients and a recipe card with 5 easy steps, perfect if you like home-made meals but can’t or don’t want to grocery shop often.
- Martha Marley Spoon – They offer 29 recipes from 5 categories each week – Health and Diet, Vegetarian and Vegan, Meat and Fish, Under 30 minutes, and Family-Friendly. They deliver pre-portioned ingredients in delicious meal kits delivered to your door. You can subscribe or skip meals. 6-step easy-to-follow recipes. $8.99 shipping.
- Silver Cuisine – The meals are catered to older adults but anyone would enjoy them. Silver Cuisine specializes in the tastes of mature diners and focuses on nutritional quality, taste, and portion sizes. They offer over 50 meals that are aligned with the Mediterranean diet philosophy.
- NutriSystem – Diet-minded, good tasting food, you choose the meals, they ship the fully prepared meals frozen. They have breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, including desserts.
- MagicKitchen – They have a very diverse menu, offering a la carte items like soups & bread, desserts, side dishes, main courses, meal bundles, special diets like – dairy-free, gluten-free, low carb, low fat, low sodium, or vegetarian. You can choose meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks.
- Omaha Steaks – The menu is vast with all kinds of steak cuts, veal, chicken, pork, seafood, starters & sides, desserts, wine, and complete meals. You’ll be able to pair all kinds of meals, for example – the top sirloin is aged 21 days for tenderness, flash-frozen to preserve the quality, and has a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you join, the shipping is free.
- Lobster Anywhere – These are the freshest wild-caught lobster – straight from Maine, they are not wholesalers, they source seafood direct like shrimp, scallops, chowder, bisque, and as you might imagine – lobster meat, lobster tails, live lobster, lobster rolls, lobster dinners, including some awesome promos. Don’t forget the surf and turf with your choice of Filet Mignon & New York Sirloin steaks.
- Trifecta Nutrition – They offer multiple eating plans, but all meals on their a la carte menu are gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free. The ingredients used are always fresh and never frozen before or after cooking, the meals come vacuum sealed and last for 10 days in the fridge.
- Home Bistro – They offer a lineup of 10 Mediterranean heat and eat meals, arriving frozen at your doorstep. The meals are designed to be boiled in a bag.
- Home Chef – A top meal kit company that delivers fresh ingredients and easy-follow recipes, you can mix and match the meals to create 26 weekly choices. You can easily create your Mediterranean meal plan. You’ll find lots of fish, poultry, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. They also have smoothies you can add to any heart-friendly meals.
- Freshly – Each meal is chef-prepared by a qualified chef and delivered fresh to you. The ingredients are fresh, the meals are packed immediately, you just heat and eat as soon as it arrives. They have a large selection of protein-focused meals but no breakfast or snack options.
- Fulton Fish Market – Buy fresh seafood online from legendary Fulton Fish Market – tuna, salmon, halibut, scallops, shrimp, recipes to prepare amazing meals. They sell whole fresh fish, portions, and fillets like cod, catfish, flounder, grouper, mahi-mahi, sardines, shellfish like crab, clams, lobster, mussels, oysters, caviar, eel, squid, and some prepared seafood.
Top Companies that Deliver Mediterranean Diet Meals to Seniors
Only a few meal delivery services specifically offer Mediterranean meal plans for seniors, but many of them conform to the diet without calling them that. You can customize a plant-based, vegan or vegetarian diet to make it Mediterranean by adding a few servings of fish or lean meats per week.
- Easy-to-follow recipes with clear nutritional info.
- Farm to table sourcing of high-quality ingredients.
- Most meals are ready in under 30 minutes.
One of the largest meal kit delivery services in the market, HelloFresh offers a variety of Mediterranean-friendly meals to subscribers, although they don’t label them as such. The meal plans start at only $7.49 per meal and fall into four categories:
- Meat & Veggies
- Calorie Smart
Each option is available for 2 or 4 people and you can choose from two to five meals per week. HelloFresh offers a selection of options from Italian, Mexican, African, Thai, French, and Irish.
Sample Meal – Smothered Chicken Enchiladas
with Poblano Pepper, Onion, and Sour Cream
- Fully prepared meals, just heat and eat
- Perfectly portioned to promote healthy weight loss or other health goals.
- Menus are designed by a bariatric doctor
- More than 150 meals to choose from weekly.
BistroMD was developed by a bariatric specialist to offer weight loss programs to fit a wide variety of health needs and preferences.
These specialized programs include:
- Woman’s program
- Men’s program
- Heart-healthy program
- Gluten-free program
- Diabetic-friendly program
- Vegetarian program
- Menopause program
Even though the heart-healthy program isn’t labeled as a specific Mediterranean diet, it follows the principles of this eating approach.
Some seniors choose BistroMD to lose weight and the company reports that on average, the members lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week.
The heart-healthy program offers many plan options:
- Full program, seven days. This has seven breakfasts, seven lunches, six dinners, and My Night, which is described as a “structured break to practice what you learn”. The current cost is $142.46 per week.
- Lunches and dinners, seven days. This includes seven lunches and seven dinners. The current cost is $119.96 per week.
- Lunches and dinners, five days. This includes five lunches and five dinners.
BistroMD is currently offering, for a limited time, 25% off plus free shipping for new members.
Sample Meal – Chicken Marsala
(Nutritional informational not available)
When this diet first originated, the people in the Mediterranean simply lived this lifestyle of eating from the land, labored, and walked everywhere they went daily, and their stress levels were lower.
This diet is strictly limited to Mediterranean dishes meaning Greek or Italian foods. You can still get the benefits