such as those offering Greek, Turkish, Israeli, or Lebanese cuisine, are great
choices for those on the South Beach Diet. At these eating establishments,
you’ll likely find grilled seafood, lamb, and chicken, along with chickpeas,
lentils, and other legumes, a wide selection of fresh vegetables, and lettuce
salads topped with olives, cucumbers, peppers, and cubes of feta cheese. You'll
also find fiber-rich whole grains such as bulgur and couscous to enjoy instead
of potatoes or white rice (Phase 2). Mediterranean cuisine also utilizes a variety of herbs and spices, from oregano, mint, and rosemary to cardamom and
coriander, all of which enhance the flavor of meats, vegetables, and whole grains.
An ideal starter is hummus (a puree made with chickpeas). Ask for it with veggie dippers on Phase 1 or enjoy it with a little whole-wheat pita bread on Phase 2. Ask for olive oil for dipping as well.
Color Your Plate
Vegetables cooked Mediterranean-style—roasted, grilled, or steamed—are a great way to fill up your plate, especially during the two weeks of Phase 1 when grains are not permitted. Ask for eggplant, zucchini, cauliflower, or green beans to be served with a squeeze of lemon or a drizzle of olive oil.
What to Watch Out
When dining out at a Mediterranean restaurant, steer clear of gyros served in white pita with full-fat yogurt sauce (have the sliced lamb on its own or grilled on skewers instead), moussaka and pastitsio, which are usually made with high-fat béchamel sauce, and spanakopita, a spinach-and-cheese pie typically made with a buttery phyllo crust. You also want to avoid falafel (which is deep fried) and baklava, a Mediterranean-style dessert made of flaky pastry, nuts, and honey.