A dietitian who follows the Mediterranean diet shares her 3 go-to dinners

Kirsten Jackson

Dietitian Kirsten Jackson makes convenient and healthy dinners.Getty

  • Dietitian Kirsten Jackson follows the Mediterranean diet, one of the healthiest ways to eat.

  • She shared her go-to dinners with Insider, which she often cooked in bulk to save time.

  • Jackson’s meals generally include olive oil, lots of vegetables, and complex carbs.

The Mediterranean diet is widely considered one of the healthiest ways to eat.

The diet prioritizes vegetables, legumes, seafood, olive oil, and wine in moderation, and leans away from processed and fried foods, red meat, refined grains, added sugars, and saturated fats.

Registered dietitian Kirsten Jackson follows the Mediterranean diet because research suggests it reduces the risk of multiple health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

When it comes to dinner, Jackson is all about convenience. Here, she shares her go-to Mediterranean diet dinners with Insider.

Pizza and salads

Jackson orders pizza with a wholemeal base and makes a side salad.Getty

“I run a business so dinners have to be practical,” she said. “I am not a huge fan of spending hours in the kitchen unless it is to bulk cook something.”

Jackson has three rules for creating meals: All food is cooked in olive oil, vegetables make up 30-50% of the plate, and carbs are always “brown.”

Jackson always eats brown or whole grain carbohydrates rather than white because they contain more vitamins, minerals, and fiber than other bread options. This means she chooses brown bread, brown rice, and whole grain pasta over white.

“Wholemeal foods have been linked to reduced risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease,” Jackson said.

She also uses olive oil rather than other cooking fats because it is high in polyphenols and remains stable when heated. Polyphenols act as antioxidants and fight free radicals that are linked to inflammatory conditions like cancer.

Pan-fried sardines with oven-baked vegetables

Pan-frying sardines only takes a few minutes, and baking vegetables is too simple, she said, so it’s one of her go-to meals.

“Baked vegetables are the easiest side dish going. You simply cut up a lot of root vegetables like beetroot, squash, potatoes, onions, and courgette, coat them in olive oil, and pop into the oven for about 35 minutes,” Jackson said . If you’re short on time, you can buy pre-chopped packets of vegetables.

Sardines are a good source of omega-3s and eating a variety of vegetables provides Jackson with prebiotics which feed her gut bacteria, as well as fiber which reduces her risk of high cholesterol.

Peanut butter chickpea stir fry with wholemeal noodles

Jackson makes a quick and easy stir-fry by combining canned chickpeas and a frozen stir-fry vegetable packet.

“Stir-fry sauces are usually really high in salt and sugar so I like to make my own,” Jackson said.

To make enough sauce to serve three to four people, she mixes together one tablespoon of peanut butter, one tablespoon of honey and one tablespoon of soy sauce.

Pizza with a whole wheat base, plus salad

Like many people, Jackson and her family like getting takeout over the weekend, and their food of choice is pizza.

Jackson opts for a whole wheat base, and she makes her own salad on the side to up her vegetable intake, she said.

Read the original article on Insider