The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will hold a Mediterranean Diet Cooking Class on Sept. 1 in Waco.
The class is presented by the AgriLife Extension office in McLennan County in cooperation with McLennan Community College Continuing Education. It will be held at 4224 Cobbs Drive.
The cost is $39, and the course will be from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Participants must preregister at https://tx.ag/MedDiet or by calling 254-299-8888.
“The Mediterranean diet has been researched extensively for decades now and the more we learn, the more this approach has solidified itself as one of the best lifestyle approaches to improve diet-related chronic disease risk,” said Colleen Foleen, AgriLife Extension family and community health agent for McLennan County.
What is often called the Mediterranean diet in the U.S. refers to a way of eating and preparing foods based on the eating traditions from Italy, Greece and other countries that border the Mediterranean Sea.
“The Mediterranean-style eating pattern should be referred to as a lifestyle approach rather than a diet,” she said. “It is not prescriptive, and it integrates more than just nutrition. It focuses on sustainability, social environment and physical activity.”
Cooking class overview
Foleen said over the course of the evening participants will:
- Learn about healthy eating patterns.
- Plan menus and shopping lists to make healthy choices easier.
- Learn to modify some recipes to a Mediterranean style.
- See a cooking demonstration.
- Taste some wonderful and healthy foods.
- Leave with a better understanding of the concept of the Mediterranean diet and the health benefits of this eating pattern and lifestyle.
Mediterranean-style diet benefits
The Mediterranean-style eating pattern is high in fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, healthy fats and whole grains. Foleen said this indicates that it is also high in antioxidants, polyphenols, mono/polyunsaturated fatty acids, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
The foundation of the diet is whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. Foods such as fish, dairy, poultry and seafood are all eaten in moderation, which allows olive oil to be one of the main sources of added fat in this type of diet, she said.
“All of these can contribute to lowering cholesterol levels, preventing cell damage, providing anti-inflammatory effects, improving glycemic control and more,” Foleen said. “Researchers have determined that these nutritional mechanisms could be contributing to the success of this eating pattern.”