By Haley Bridges
The weather is warm, the sun is beating down on your body, you feel the soft sand in between your toes, sipping on a iced coffee that tastes and looks like a milkshake. Your server comes back with the food you ordered, hmm tomatoes and cucumber, tabbouleh, hummus, baba ghanoush and pita. A perfect meal, for a perfect day.
After spending 10 phenomenal days in the Kingdom of Jordan and Tel Aviv, Israel it is easy to see why the Mediterranean diet is one of the best diets out there. It has an abundance of fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, legumes and olive oil. The diet consists of fish and chicken rather than red meat, which is a huge source of bad fat. Everything is fresh and healthy; it is something you can taste with every bite you take. Plus it is suggested to have a glass of red wine with every meal! (Drink in moderation, of course!). There was not one meal that was served that I did not want to have again and again.
One dish that was always available was hummus. Their hummus was like nothing I have ever had before. The texture and taste was smooth and creamy, a perfect dish to spread on top of your pita or to even eat by the spoonful. Since the main ingredient is chickpeas it is a great healthy dish to have as a snack or apart of a main meal. Hummus is great for helping lower cholesterol, it’s easy to make, it may help you eat healthier and it provides great sources of fiber, which will help you stay full for longer.
Since hummus is healthy all on its own, if you start eating it, it will most likely make you want to change the rest of your diet to being healthy as well. Another great aspect to this delicious dish is that it is very easy to make. All you need to chickpeas, tahini, garlic, cumin, paprika (optional), lemon juice and olive oil. You add them all together in a food processor and then you are ready to go! Hummus is also very versatile; you can make many different flavors from jalapeno, avocado, pesto, and sun-dried tomato. All you have to do is add the ingredient you want to the regular hummus recipe and there you go!
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “Fiber is best known for helping to keep food moving efficiently through your body. This is only one of the many ways fiber contributes to good health.” Since hummus is a good source of fiber if you have it as a snack or as apart of meal it will help you stay fuller for longer, preventing the urge for snacking throughout the day or over eating at a meal. Fiber is also known to have many other health benefits as well such as keeping your heart healthy, giving you more energy and assisting with weight loss.
So let’s do a final checklist as to why the Mediterranean diet is the best way to go. Everything is fresh, check. It’s diverse, check. Everything is healthy, check. Many components are heart healthy, check. It will help you loose weight, check. It’s delicious, check. Red wine is encouraged, check. Overall it is safe to say that this is definitely the way to go!
Here is a simple hummus recipe to try at home!
- 1 can of chickpeas – save the liquid
- ¼ cup tahini
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon crushed garlic
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
*Add another ingredient such as roasted red peppers or avocado to make a different flavor (optional)
Add all ingredients into a food processor. Blend until creamy and smooth. Add saved liquid from chickpeas if it is too thick. If needed, as water as well.