Grocery Shopping on a Mediterranean Diet

Is it expensive to follow a Mediterranean diet?


On Monday, I did my grocery shopping for my first week following the Mediterranean Diet recommendations – you can see the food and ingredients I bought in the picture below. In addition to these, we already had olive oil, canned and dried beans, dry pasta/rice, bread, fresh vegetables, and canned/frozen fruit that I expect I’ll be using.


Mediterranean diet staples


Mediterranean Diet staples

Below is a summary of the nutrition staples I made to guide my grocery shopping throughout my time on the Mediterranean diet.

  • Proteins: fish (fresh, canned, or frozen), shellfish, canned or dried beans, nuts, seeds
    • Limited chicken, pork, and beef (1-2 servings of each per week)
  • Low- or non-fat dairy products: milk, yogurt, part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • Vegetables: select a variety – fresh, frozen, or canned (no salt added)
  • Fruit: select a variety – fresh, frozen, dried, or canned (in juice)
  • Grains (preferably whole grains): pasta, rice, bread, crackers
  • Beverages: tea, water, wine (if desired)
  • Other: olive oil, vinegar, herbs, spices, olives


The Cost of Following a Mediterranean Diet

Originally I was concerned that the Mediterranean Diet would be particularly expensive because of its emphasis on seafood. I was pleasantly surprised that I was still able to meet our normal grocery budget of $100 per week for our family of four (check out my series on Eating Well on a Budget if you want to know about how I do that) while shopping for the Mediterranean diet.

There are probably a few reasons I was able to easily stay within budget:

  • I had several Mediterranean Diet staples already in my pantry.
  • My family eats the same dinners, but lunches and breakfasts are often individual, so I wasn’t necessarily buying Mediterranean diet foods for all four of us for three meals per day all week. In addition to the foods pictured above, I purchased several items for the rest of my family that I won’t be eating.
  • While the Mediterranean Diet has some more expensive aspects (seafood, olive oil), it also has some lower-cost aspects (beans, pasta, rice, bread) and limits other higher-cost options like red meats. Altogether, they may balance each other out.

Since this is only the first week of shopping for a Mediterranean Diet, I’ll see in the upcoming weeks if it continues to match our normal grocery budget and keep you posted!

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