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MedDiet Project
Mediterranean Diet and Enhancement of Traditional Foodstuff
GUIDELINES FOR THE ORGANIZATION OF EVENTS IN
PROMOTING THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET
Targeted to Local Authorities
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Edition & Coordination: Mediterranean Diet Foundation (Spain)
Domingo Valiente, Mediterranean Diet Foundation
Diana Julià, Mediterranean Diet Foundation
Authors
Spain
Ramon Estruch, External Scientific Expert
Anna Bach-Faig, External Technical Expert and Coordinator of Contents
Co-authors: Denine Stracker; Natàlia Martínez
Egipt
Marion Kussmann, Confederation of Egyptian European Business
Yasmine Kandil, External Technical Expert
Greece
Theodora Kolokotroni, The Routes of Olive Tree
Ilias Vlachos, External Scientific Expert
Alexandra Koulochera, External Technical Expert
Italia
Antonio Balenzano, Associacione Nazionale Città dell’Olio
Federica Romano, Associacione Nazionale Città dell’Olio
Angello Lumelli, External Technical Expert
Lebanon
Elie Massoud, Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Beirut and Mount Lebanon
Sawsan Jabri, External Scientific Expert
Racha Adib, External Technical Expert
Tunisia
Raoudha Khaldi, National Agricultre Research Institute of Tunisia
Dorra Sfayhi, National Agricultre Research Institute of Tunisia
Mohamed Hsairi, External Scientific Expert
Jalila El Ati, External Technical Expert
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Revisers
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment of Spain
Department of Agriculture, Lifestock, Fisheries, Food and Environment of Catalonia
José Lara, Newcastle University
Alicia Aguilar, UOC University (Spain)
Assumpció Rosset, Barcelona City Council (Spain)
Francisco Rivas, Guadix City Council (Spain)
Copy-Editor & Revision
Isabel Bertomeu, Mediterranean Diet Foundation
Images & Graphic Design
Unioncamere
Mediterranean Diet Foundation
Project Coordinator: Unioncamere (Italy)
Amadeo del Principe, Unioncamere
Diana Giannico, Unioncamere
Andrea Muti, Unioncamere
Emanuele Cabras, Expert, Chamber of Commerce of Cagliari – Centro Servizi Promozionali per le Imprese
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This publication has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union under the ENPI CBC
Mediterranean Sea Basin Programme. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of
Mediterranean Diet Foundation and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the
European Union or of the Programme’s management structures.
The 2007-2013 ENPI CBC Mediterranean Sea Basin Programme is a multilateral Cross-Border Cooperation
initiative funded by the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). The Programme
objective is to promote the sustainable and harmonious cooperation process at the Mediterranean Basin level
by dealing with the common challenges and enhancing its endogenous potential. It finances cooperation
projects as a contribution to the economic, social, environmental and cultural development of the
Mediterranean region. The following 14 countries participate in the Programme: Cyprus, Egypt, France,
Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, Palestinian Authority, Portugal, Spain, Syria, Tunisia. The Joint
Managing Authority (JMA) is the Autonomous Region of Sardinia (Italy). Official Programme languages are
Arabic, English and French.
The project “MedDiet – Mediterranean Diet and Enhancement of Traditional Foodstuff” is implemented under
the ENPI CBC Mediterranean Sea Basin Programme (www.enpicbcmed.eu). Its total budget is 4.996.972 €
and it is financed, for an amount of 4.497.275 € by the European Union through the European Neighbourhood
and Partnership Instrument. The ENPI CBC Med Programme aims at reinforcing cooperation between the
European Union and partner countries regions placed along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
The European Union is made up of 28 Member States who have decided to gradually link together their knowhow, resources and destinies. Together, during a period of enlargement of 50 years, they have built a zone of
stability, democracy and sustainable development whilst maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance and individual
freedoms. The European Union is committed to sharing its achievements and its values with countries and
peoples beyond its borders.
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INDICE
PART I: MEDITERRANEAN DIET
1. MedDiet Project: “Mediterranean Diet and Enhancement of Traditional Foodstuff”
1.1. Presentation of the Project
1.2. Importance of the Project
2. How to Use This Guide
2.1. Objectives of the Guide
3. Mediterranean Diet Basics
3.1. History
3.2. Culture
3.3. General Mediterranean Diet Characteristics
3.4. Monitoring Mediterranean Diet Adherence
3.5. From Farm to Fork
3.6. Mediterranean Diet Pyramid
4. Physical Activity
4.1. Current Situation
4.2. Recommendations
4.3. Benefits of Physical Activity
5. Mediterranean Diet Food Groups, Selection and Preparation
5.1. Food Selection
5.2. Food Preparation
6. Meals
6.1. Mediterranean Diet Meal (for adults)
6.2. Mediterranean Diet Tray (for children)
7. Mediterranean Diet Nutrition Values
8. Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet
9. Mediterranean Diet, Sustainable Agriculture and the Environment
10. The Advantages of the Mediterranean Diet
PART II: MEDITERRANEAN DIET AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES
1. The Role of Local Authorities
1.1. Objectives for Mediterranean Diet Promotion by Local Authorities
1.2. Potential Members of the Local Authority
1.3. From Global to Local Mediterranean Diet Strategies
1.4. Mediterranean Diet Promotion Community and Actors
1.5. Successful Mediterranean Diet Promotion Programming
1.5.1. Needs Assessment
1.5.2. Achievable Goals
1.5.3. Implementing
1.5.4. Evaluate
1.6. Ideas and Examples on “How to Become a Mediterranean Diet Promoter?”
1.6.1. Authority Letter of Commitment
1.6.2. Consumer Letter of Commitment
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INDICE
PART III: MEDITERRANEAN DIET EDUCATION ACTIVITIES FOR
ORGANIZATION OF EVENTS
1. Applies to All Activities
2. Activities Timetable
3. Educational Strategy
4. Activities
4.1. Mediterranean Diet Taste Workshops
4.1.1. Practical Workshop: “Closer to the Mediterranean Diet”
4.1.2. Olive Oil Tasting and Visit to an Olive Oil Mill
4.2. Cooking Courses
4.2.1. Cooking Workshop for “Homemakers”: Taste the Mediterranean!
4.2.2. Cooking Workshop for Families
4.3. Mediterranean Diet Competition Ideas
4.3.1. Mediterranean Diet Contest: Mediterranean Flavours
4.3.2. Mediterranean Diet Gymkhana
4.4. Local Events
4.4.1. Mediterranean Diet Exhibition
4.4.2. Mediterranean Diet Markets, Fairs and Festivals
4.4.2.1. Couscous Festival
4.4.2.2. Olive Harvest Festival – From Field to Fork
4.4.2.3. Grape Harvest, Wine and Art Festival
4.4.2.4. Market or Festival Tour
USEFUL LINKS
APPENDIX
BIBLIOGRAPHY
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PART I: MEDITERRANEAN DIET
1. MedDiet Project: “Mediterranean Diet and Enhancement of Traditional Foodstuff”
“AIMING TO INCREASE THE AWARENESS ON MEDITERRANEAN DIET”
1.1. Presentation of the Project
Background and Purpose
Generally speaking, all Mediterranean countries historically have in common a dietary pattern which is plantbased but admits moderately to low amounts of animal-based foods. It seems to emerge as a healthy prudent
pattern which its high adherence has been associated with a better health state due to the protective effect it
shows against various diseases.
Nevertheless, profound changes have been observed in the Mediterranean dietary pattern over the last
decades, mainly due to the displacement of traditional Mediterranean foods by highly-processed junk food,
translated into higher energy and lower nutritional intakes, and eventually into greater prevalence of chronic
diseases.
Thus, the MedDiet Project aims to raise the awareness of consumers about the importance of preserving
healthy food traditions potentially enhancing not only health but also environmental sustainability, and
moreover, the Mediterranean economy and cultural heritage.
Applicant
Unioncamere (Italy, Lazio)
Partnership
Chamber of Commerce of Cagliari, Special Agency Center of Services for Enterprises (Italy, Sardinia)
Olive Oil Towns Association (Italy, Tuscany)
Mediterranean Diet Foundation (Spain, Catalonia)
Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Tunis (Tunisia, Tunis)
The Routes of the Olive Tree (Greece, Peloponnisos)
Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Messinia (Greece, Peloponnisos)
Forum of the Adriatic and Ionian Chambers (Italy, Marche)
Spanish Association of Olive cities (Spain, Andalusia)
Association of Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Spain, Catalonia)
Confederation of Egyptian European Business Associations (Egypt, Al Iskandanyah)
National Agriculture Research Institute of Tunisia (Tunisia, Ariana)
Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Beirut and Mount Lebanon (Lebanon)
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PART I: MEDITERRANEAN DIET
1. MedDiet Project: “Mediterranean Diet and Enhancement of Traditional Foodstuff”
Objective of the MedDiet Project
To increase the awareness of consumers (in particular young people and children -exposed to the risk of
losing Mediterranean healthy eating habits) and of SMEs (in particular restaurants) about the benefits of the
Mediterranean Diet (MD) by reinforcing the capacity of schools, local authorities, chambers of
commerce/business organizations and policy making institutions to implement effective and sustainable
initiatives for safeguarding the Mediterranean Diet in Egypt, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Spain and Tunisia.
Expected Results
• Increased capacity of schools and local authorities of the territories participating in the project to implement
initiatives aiming at increasing the awareness about the advantages of the Mediterranean Diet among children,
young people and other groups of consumers.
• Improved capacity of chambers of commerce and business organisations of the territories involved in the
project to support SMEs (mainly restaurants) in proposing foodstuff coherent with an authentic Mediterranean
Diet.
• Improved capacity of policy making institutions in Egypt, Lebanon and Tunisia in designing policies and
instruments aimed to safeguard the Mediterranean Diet.
Main Activities
• 165 nutrition education initiatives for schools and consumers including taste laboratories, visits to
farms/factories, cooking courses, schools vegetables gardens.
• Distribution of 31.100 MedDiet tool kits.
• Creation of a MedDiet Quality Label for restaurants and pilot actions for its implementation (training courses
and technical assistance programs for restaurant owners).
• Establishment of 20 “Mediterranean Diet Info Points”.
• Drafting of a “Shared Mediterranean System for the Safeguarding of Traditional Products of the MedDiet” to
be signed by representatives of Ministries/agencies in Tunisia, Egypt and Lebanon.
Target Groups
• 4.800 students, 1.200 teachers and 120 school principals/headmasters
• 150 officers from 45 national/local authorities
• 20 trainers from chambers of commerce
Final Beneficiaries
• 22.500 consumers
• 300 restaurant owners/managers
Duration
30 months (January 2013 - June 2015)
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PART I: MEDITERRANEAN DIET
1. MedDiet Project: “Mediterranean Diet and Enhancement of Traditional Foodstuff”
1.2. Importance of the Project
The recent recognition by the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) of
the Mediterranean Diet as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity reinforces, together with the scientific
evidence available, the Mediterranean Diet as a cultural and health model. Its relationship to the prevention of
chronic diseases (cardiovascular diseases, type II diabetes, some types of cancer, etc.) and its overall effect to
quality of life have been extensively studied. The Mediterranean Diet has an international projection; it is
stated as one of the healthiest and most sustainable eating patterns on the planet and as a key player in the
public health nutrition field not only in Mediterranean countries but also on a global level.
The purpose of the MedDiet Project is to increase awareness of the Mediterranean Diet as an integral part of a
lifestyle. The Mediterranean Diet is a highly recommended lifestyle for the whole society. Not only is it a dietary
pattern that combines ingredients and local agricultural products with a great local economic value, recipes
and cooking methods of each place, shared meals, celebrations and traditions, but it is a way of life which,
together with moderate physical exercise, completes a healthy lifestyle. It shouldn‟t be forgotten that this
pattern is a factor of economic and social development that could be an engine of the social fabric of the
Mediterranean countries and the food industry. It is therefore a cultural and socioeconomic vital identity that
gives meaning to the Mediterranean.
The promotion and safeguard of the
Mediterranean Diet is fostered with MedDiet
encouraging at the same time other southern
Mediterranean countries to adopt and share, at
the European level, this Mediterranean
knowledge and safeguard values. Although
these are only the first steps in the strategy
required to defend against threats posed by
the model of production and consumption in
the context of globalization in the
Mediterranean basin countries.
Ultimately, this ancient cultural heritage should
be preserved and promoted from different
areas such as public health, agriculture,
culture, politics and economical development.
If so, there will be an economic benefit, but as
a healthier population with lower rates of
obesity and chronic disease, and ultimately,
the defence of our heritage.
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PART I: MEDITERRANEAN DIET
2. How to Use This Guide
This guide aims to provide tools to the educators of the MedDiet Project, and to the teachers and technicians
from schools and local authorities that coordinate and implement nutrition education activities in schools and
municipal areas for promoting the Mediterranean Diet lifestyle and the cultural aspects around the act of
selecting, preparing and eating food.
The project includes in its objectives strategies and educational activities that support the pedagogical
practices of those responsible for planning and providing activities that enhance the development of
knowledge, attitudes, and eating habits of the general population. Moreover, it intends to develop and validate
the educational training program through a set of educational material on Mediterranean Diet education and
the preservation of traditional food practices related to the Mediterranean Diet pattern.
The present Guidelines and the supporting material (Didactical Support Materials for Schools and
Communication and Promotional Instruments) are part of the set of materials designed by the project
“MedDiet”. The Guidelines aim to strengthen the knowledge about Mediterranean Diet food available at
schools and local authorities. In this line, the proposed activities are based on collaborative work for effective
learning and motivation, seeking to reaffirm the links between the participating countries, and highlight and
raise awareness of the specificities of each country in relation to food culture, as well as reaffirming and
enhancing the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet and available food from our sea and our land to reach the
dish in a pleasant way. Tips, recommendations and slogans are provided for each activity to emphasize the
positive messages related to Mediterranean Diet pattern adherence.
In the process of reviewing the Guidelines, specialists in food and nutrition, education, pedagogy, psychology,
anthropology and governmental technicians have participated along with the specialists from the different
partners in the participating countries of the project.
We hope that the conscious use of this support material promotes the construction of a Mediterranean lifestyle
among society.
2.1. Objectives of the Guide




Transmit how to select, prepare and eat according to the Mediterranean Diet model.
Acquire the knowledge, skills and abilities in relation to the Mediterranean Diet pattern.
Convey values and criteria to empower decisions made about what foods to consume.
Instil the value of traditional and local foods.
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PART I: MEDITERRANEAN DIET
3. Mediterranean Diet Basics
3.1. History
Located in the crossroads of three continents, the Mediterranean area has been a hub of exchanges among
cultures of ideas, knowledge and people, that has been catalyzing cultural progress for more than eight
thousand years, shaping Western civilization as we know it today from our contemporary point of view.
The Mediterranean Sea physically separates several territories with specific characteristics, but also unifies
them with a common food tradition, the Mediterranean Diet, the result of years of exchanges and joint growth.
The Mediterranean, throughout the centuries, managed to set an excellent food pattern for health and life. The
rich cultural heritage of the traditional Mediterranean Diet which combines simplicity and local flavours, results
in a dietary pattern that is balanced, varied and full of flavour, a diet completely compatible with gastronomic
pleasure.
The ancient Greek word “diaita”, from which the word diet derives from, means lifestyle and that is exactly
what the Mediterranean Diet is; much more than just a list of foods. In fact it is a cultural model which also
involves the way foods are selected, produced, processed and consumed, such as the prioritization of fresh,
local, and seasonal food; culinary activities and socialization at meals, regular physical activity, rest in the form
of afternoon naps, and a whole way of life that is part of the cultural heritage of the Mediterranean countries.
Thus, Mediterranean countries share a number of geographical and climatic factors that have favoured this
common cultural and agri-food framework.
Professor Ancel Keys, the head of a team of international scientists in seven countries, conducted a study that
scientifically postulated that the Mediterranean Diet was good for health, successful aging, and favoured
longevity. Modern science has demonstrated during the second half of the twentieth century the exceptional
nature of the Mediterranean lifestyle and its positive influence on health.
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PART I: MEDITERRANEAN DIET
3. Mediterranean Diet Basics
3.2. Culture
The Mediterranean Diet is a cultural, historical, social, territorial and environmental heritage. It is a set of skills,
knowledge, practices, and traditions ranging from the landscape to the table, which ends up on our tables. It is
also a living legacy promoting respect for cultural diversity and an expression of sociability and local
communication reinforcing a feeling of identity.
Out of this conviction, Spain, Italy, Greece and Morocco under the coordination of the Mediterranean Diet
Foundation proposed the Mediterranean Diet to be included as mentioned in the UNESCO's Representative
List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, while trying to always be open (including the extension) to the
support and participation of the other Mediterranean countries who share this heritage. The objective of this
initiative was to safeguard the enormous millennium old cultural heritage that represents the cultural value of
the Mediterranean Diet, as well as to share and disseminate its values and benefits internationally.
Many of the Mediterranean Diet cultural elements are introduced as mentioned in the new pyramid. The most
remarkable are those that foster social interaction. Plutarch's words perfectly illustrate this with a simple
phrase: "Men are invited not to eat and drink, but to eat and drink together." It is an extraordinary cultural
corpus including all the peoples of the Mediterranean basin and consists of landscapes, crops, cultivation
techniques, markets, spaces and gestures culinary innovations and traditions that has been transmitted from
generation to generation throughout history.
The Mediterranean Diet also “promotes social interaction” and has given way to a considerable body of
knowledge, songs, tales, and legends found beyond its many traditional culinary practices and products. The
Mediterranean has evolved, embracing and incorporating wisely, new foods and techniques results of
exchange of the Mediterranean peoples. The Mediterranean Diet has been, and remains, an evolutionary and
dynamic cultural heritage, though also in danger. For this, it is stressed especially the applicability of a
traditional Mediterranean lifestyle, in origin but adapted to modernity, to counteract the decline of traditional
eating habits in this region. In fact, the new pyramid includes the terms “today, modern” to achieve this goal.
“MEDITERRANEAN DIET: CULTURE, HEALTH AND MUCH MORE...”
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PART I: MEDITERRANEAN DIET
3. Mediterranean Diet Basics
3.3. General Characteristics
The traditional Mediterranean Diet is the heritage resulting from millennia of exchanges within the
Mediterranean basin region that has defined and characterized the eating habits of the countries in those
regions until the mid twentieth century. It is not a homogeneous model throughout the Mediterranean as it has
regional variations, the common features of the Mediterranean Diet is the abundance of plant-based foods
such as cereals (in the form of bread, pasta, couscous, rice), vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts and seeds, the
use of olive oil as the main source of fat, a moderate consumption of fish, shellfish, poultry, eggs, and dairy
products (fermented milk products like yoghurt, kefir and cheese), a consumption of small amounts of red meat
and in the case of adults a moderate daily intake of wine (in permitting cultures).
3.4. Monitoring Mediterranean Diet Adherence
Unfortunately, current diets in the Mediterranean countries are distancing from the traditional Mediterranean
Diet pattern due to the widespread dissemination of the Western-type culture, an urban and technological
society model. This „westernisation‟ process of food habits is due to the effects of globalisation of production
and consumption and other socio-economic and lifestyle factors that threaten the adherence to the pattern. In
fact, these trends can be observed (Figures 1,2,3) over the last 40 years in the Mediterranean countries. The
European Mediterranean area has experienced the greatest decrease in adherence meanwhile other southern
Mediterranean countries show the highest adherence values during the same time frame. However, countries
in Northern Europe and some other countries around the world are taking on a Mediterranean-like dietary
pattern (Figures 1,2,3). This relates to the homogenisation of food behaviours in the modern era.
Mediterranean lifestyles have undergone considerable changes, among others:
 Increased consumption of energy-dense foods (high in fat and/or sugar) from the western and fast
food culture based on meat, refined grains, potatoes, ice cream, candies and beverages high in sugar.
 Larger meals‟ portion promotion.
 Increased sedentary lifestyles from the new technological and leisure aspects.
Currently the Mediterranean Diet is facing further threats due to the economic crisis which is affecting the most
disadvantaged groups in particular, and affecting key food groups such as fruits, vegetables, virgin olive oil,
nuts and fish, reducing their consumption.
We now know that eating habits, along with nutritional status, are indicators of the health determinants of the
population. The lost of the Mediterranean Diet adherence due to all this socioeconomic and cultural factors
have a visible impact at a level of health indicators, especially in cardiovascular diseases, in cancer incidence
and XXth century epidemic called, obesity, both adult and child population. All of this, compromises seriously
the cultural and sanitary legacy of the Mediterranean.
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PART I: MEDITERRANEAN DIET
3. Mediterranean Diet Basics
Therefore, it is necessary to warn society by informing, educating, and promoting the Mediterranean Diet and
to prevent the erosion of this heritage, which would have consequences for our health, our agriculture and our
traditional landscapes. Thus, agricultural and health policy actions are urgently required to counteract this
dietary westernisation, through active and imminent measures to maintain and increase efforts of promoting
the Mediterranean Diet among citizens, especially children and youth.
Figure 1. World Map of Adherence to the Mediterranean Diet between 1961-2004
Source: Da Silva et al. 2009
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PART I: MEDITERRANEAN DIET
3. Mediterranean Diet Basics
Figure 2 . Ranking of Countries by Mediterranean Adequacy Index (MAI) Values in between the periods
of 1961-1965 and 2000-2003.
Source: Da Silva et al. 2009.
Figure 3. Variation of Mediterranean Adequacy Index (MAI) for all Countries Between the Periods of
1961-1965 and 2000-2003.
Source: Da Silva et al. 2009.
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3. Mediterranean Diet Basics
3.5. From Farm to Fork
Mediterranean Diet education should comprise the understanding of the “farm to fork” process, the foods and
beverages, their proportions and characteristics as well as the interactions within and between all relevant
biological, social and environmental systems.
Figure 4. From Farm to Fork
In the “value food chain” the goal is not the lowest price or fastest convenience but the most embedded value
for the food provided to consumers which includes nutrition, celebratory values in food events, and local socioeconomic community issues.
Practice has shown that dietary education when communicating information on what makes up a balanced
nutritious diet is not necessarily conducive to improved nutrition and health since the targeted groups may not
be able to put the acquired knowledge into practice for reasons that are often out of their control.
Therefore, this Mediterranean Diet lifestyle promotion framework should go beyond the theoretical and into
developing practical skills and stimuli for creating supportive environments through constitutional, regulatory,
fiscal or other types of actions in the public domain which operate throughout the food production and
consumption chain. To foster “memory” of our Mediterranean food heritage by engaging local food production,
fighting against the pressures of modern life that are undermining social cohesion and causing the extinction of
traditional customs and practices.
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3. Mediterranean Diet Basics
3.6. Mediterranean Diet Pyramid
History of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramids
One of the main goals of the MedDiet Project is to unify the different products and food groups of the
Mediterranean Diet in one representation, in an easily understandable way.
The Mediterranean Dietary pattern has been popularized through a pyramid representation, which graphically
highlights the frequency of the foods to be consumed. Many pyramids have been created since 1993 and in
2009, Oldways Preservation & Exchange Trust updated the Mediterranean Diet pyramid and copyrighted it. In
response, the Mediterranean Diet Foundation together with the Forum on Mediterranean Food Cultures, with
the involvement of other institutions such as the CIISCAM (International Inter-University Center for
Mediterranean Food Culture Studies), launched a new revised Mediterranean Diet pyramid representation.
This pyramid is the outcome of the internal dialogue within the scientific community and discussions at many
meetings.
The new Mediterranean Diet pyramid is the result of an international consensus and is based on the latest
scientific evidence in the field of health and nutrition and hundreds of published scientific papers in the last few
decades, consequently contributing to the harmonization of educational tools used in the promotion of the
Mediterranean Diet and responding to the need for a common framework among Mediterranean countries.
We recommend the unrestricted use and promotion of this pyramid (2010 edition) available in ten languages
(English, Spanish, Catalan, Galician, Basque, French, Arabic, Italian, Portuguese and Greek).
Mediterranean Diet Pyramid
A broad group of experts in various disciplines such as nutrition, anthropology, sociology and agronomy
agreed on a new pyramid that enriches previous designs with the incorporation of various social, cultural and
environmental friendly aspects. The new Mediterranean Diet Pyramid entails this evolution of society and
stresses the importance of physical activity, conviviality and the consumption of local, seasonal and traditional
products.
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Figure 5. The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid: a lifestyle for today.
Please, visit the MedDiet Project website: www. med-diet.eu
“NEW PYRAMID: THE WAY OF SELECTING, COOKING AND EATING TO FOLLOW THE
MEDITERRANEAN DIET”
The health benefits and protective effects against chronic diseases of the Mediterranean Diet have been well
established by the scientific community. The pyramid includes all the food groups; a healthy or unhealthy diet
relies on its proportions and frequencies. These consumption frequencies and servings expressed in the
pyramid are for the healthy adult population (people between 18 and 65 years of age) and should be adapted
to the specific needs of children, pregnant women and other health conditions.
Moreover, social and cultural elements characteristic of the Mediterranean lifestyle are also important. So, it is
not just about prioritising some food groups over others, but also paying attention to the way they are selected,
cooked and eaten. It also reflects the composition and number of servings per meals.
Foods that should sustain the diet are located at the base of the pyramid and foods to be eaten in moderate
amounts are located in the upper levels. Plant-based foods, positioned at the base of the pyramid, provide key
nutrients and protective substances that contribute to general well-being and to maintain a balanced diet, and
should be consumed in high proportions and frequency. Foods situated in the upper levels such as those from
animal origin, rich in sugars and in fats should be eaten in moderation and left for special occasions. The
pyramid establishes daily, weekly and occasional dietary guidelines in order to follow a healthy and balanced
diet.
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3. Mediterranean Diet Basics
Every day:
 The three main meals should contain three basic elements, which can also be found throughout the day:
 Fruit. One or two servings per meal. Should be chosen as the most frequent dessert.
 Cereals. One or two servings per meal in the form of bread, pasta, rice, couscous and others.
Preferably whole grain, since some valuable nutrients (magnesium, phosphorus, etc.) and fibre can be
lost during processing.
 Vegetables. Present at lunch and dinner; or more than two servings per meal, at least one of the
servings should be raw. A variety of colours and textures provide a diversity of antioxidants and
protective compounds.
 A daily intake of 1.5–2.0 litres of water should be guaranteed. Good hydration is essential to maintain the
corporal water equilibrium, although needs may vary among people because of age, physical activity,
personal circumstances and weather conditions. Aside from water, non-sugar rich herbal infusions and
broths (with low fat and salt content) may complete the requirements.
 Dairy products. Preference of low fat yoghurt, cheese and other fermented dairy products. They
contribute to bone health, but can also be an important source of saturated fat.
 Olive oil is located at the centre of the pyramid and should be the main source of dietary lipids because
of its high nutritional quality (especially extra virgin olive oil, which should be preferred for dressings and
adding it raw to foods). Its unique composition gives it a high resistance to cooking temperatures and
should be used for cooking as well as dressings (one tablespoon per person).
 Spices, herbs, garlic and onions are a good way to introduce a variety of flavours and palatability to
dishes and contribute to the reduction of added salt. Olives, nuts and seeds are good sources of healthy
lipids, proteins, vitamins, minerals and fibre. A reasonable consumption of olives, nuts and seeds (such as
a handful) make for a healthy snack choice.
 Respecting religious and social beliefs, a moderate consumption of wine and other fermented
beverages (one glass per day for women and two glasses per day for men, as a generic reference) during
meals is recommended.
Weekly:
A variety of plant and animal origin proteins should be consumed. Traditional Mediterranean dishes usually
use animal origin protein foods as a garnish instead of as a main ingredient.
 The combination of legumes (more than two servings) and cereals are a healthy source of proteins and
lipids. Even daily dishes can be enriched by the vegetal proteins of the legumes. Thus, legumes can
substitute cereals, grains and tubers but especially meat enriching meals.
 Fish (two or more servings), white meat (two servings) and eggs (two to four servings) are good sources
of animal protein. Fish and shellfish are also a good source of healthy proteins and lipids.
 Red meat (less than two servings, preferably lean cuts) and processed meats (less than one serving)
should be consumed in smaller quantities and less frequently. Potatoes are also included in this
group, as they are a part of many traditional recipes with meat and fish (three or less servings per week,
preferably fresh potatoes).
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PART I: MEDITERRANEAN DIET
3. Mediterranean Diet Basics
Occasionally:
Sugary and unhealthy fat rich foods (sweets) are found in the vertex of the pyramid. Sugar, candies, pastries
and beverages such as sweetened fruit juices and soft drinks, should be consumed in small amounts and left
for special occasions.
Together with the proportion and frequency recommendations of consumption, the incorporation of lifestyle
and cultural elements is one of the innovations of the pyramid. Adopting a healthy lifestyle and preserving
cultural elements should also be considered in order to acquire all the benefits from the Mediterranean diet.
These elements are:
Moderation: Portion sizes should be based on frugality, adapting energy needs to urban and modern
sedentary lifestyles.
Socialisation: The aspect of conviviality is important for the social and cultural value of the meal, beyond
nutritional aspects. Cooking, sitting around the table and sharing food in company of family and friends is a
social support and gives a sense of community.
Cooking: Cooking is an important activity that must be given the proper time and space. It can be a relaxing
and fun activity that can be done with family, friends and loved ones.
Seasonality, biodiversity, eco-friendliness, traditional and local food products are presented at the
bottom of the pyramid to highlight how the new revised modern Mediterranean Diet is compatible with the
development of a sustainable diet model for the present and future Mediterranean generations. The
preference for seasonal, fresh and minimally processed foods maximises the content of protective nutrients
and substances in the diet.
Activity: Regular practice of moderate physical activity (at least 30 min throughout the day) is a basic
complement to the diet for balancing energy intake, for maintaining a healthy body and for many other health
benefits. Walking, taking the stairs vs. the lift, housework, etc., are simple and easy ways of doing exercise.
Practising leisure activities outdoors and preferably with others makes it more enjoyable and strengthens the
sense of community.
Rest: Resting is also part of a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
This pyramid is the result of an international consensus and is based on the latest scientific evidence on
nutrition and health published in hundreds of scientific articles in the last decades.
“LOVE YOURSELF. LOVE MEDDIET”
Adopting a Mediterranean lifestyle also involves preserving traditional cultural elements and accordingly
gaining all the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet.
“PRESERVE CULTURAL AND TRADITIONAL ELEMENTS TO ACQUIRE ALL THE BENEFITS OF THE
MEDITERRANEAN DIET”
20
PART I: MEDITERRANEAN DIET
4. Physical Activity
“MEDITERRANEAN DIET LIFESTYLE = HEALTHY EATING + PHYSICAL ACTIVITY = YOU WIN!”
4.1. Current Situation
A considerable decrease in physical activity and consequently an increase in sedentary activities have been
observed in recent years. This is attributed to technological development promoting more sedentary work and
leisure. Watching television, playing computer games… more than two hours a day in childhood and
adolescence is associated with a lack of exercise and unhealthy habits into adulthood.
The Mediterranean Diet is a balanced lifestyle, which incorporates the practice of regular, moderate physical
activity. The region, known for its moderate climate, encourages outdoor physical activity and sports.
Combined, these attributes of the Mediterranean Diet and lifestyle make it an excellent model for healthy
living.
“BEING ACTIVE IS AS IMPORTANT AS EATING PROPERLY”
4.2. Recommendations
Physical activity is any body movement produced by the muscles resulting in energy expenditure. This
includes all types of activities, such as sports, recreation, professional activities, housework, active transport
(walking, cycling ...) and structured exercises.
These minutes can be accumulated during the day with a combination of activities of moderate to vigorous
intensity. Activities of moderate intensity include a wide range of activities such as biking or any active play.
More strenuous activity is when you get tired and feel short of breath, and include sports such as football and
basketball, as well as activities like dancing, running and swimming. Any active play can include moderate
activity.
21
PART I: MEDITERRANEAN DIET
4. Physical Activity
Figure 6. Importance of Limiting Sedentary Activities
“ADD PHYSICAL ACTIVITY BOTH AT HOME AND
IN SCHOOL, LIMIT SEDENTARY LEISURE
ACTIVITIES”
“STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT SMALL
INCREASES IN PHYSICAL ACTIVITY CAN MAKE A
BIG DIFFERENCE IN LONG-TERM HEALTH”
60 minutes/day for children
30 minutes/day for adults
Any increase in physical activity helps. Everything counts!
Combine activities and add minutes during the day (sports, playing, walking and biking, etc...).
Walk, bike and use the stairs instead of the lift.
Make an active lifestyle a habit. Adults are role models for children and adolescents, both in active and
sedentary activities.
 Choose activities you enjoy. Preferably in the company of others and outdoors.
 Avoid excessive sedentary activities: TV, video games and long hours in front of screens.




Figure 7. Recommendations for Children Regarding the Frequency of Practising Different Types of
Physical Activity and Sedentary Leisure
For the fulfillment of these recommendations both at home and at school, refer to Family Physical Activity
Barriers and Solutions and Proposed Activities for Educators in Appendix 1.
22
PART I: MEDITERRANEAN DIET
4. Physical Activity
4.3. Benefits of Physical Activity
The practice of regular physical activity contributes to a multitude of benefits that go beyond its physical
benefits:
 Rest and sleep: physical activity prevents exhaustion, facilitates rest, and combats stress.
 Prevent some chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, osteoporosis and some
cancers.
 Helps prevent overweight and obesity, to achieve a proper body weight and maintain a stable weight.
 Increases flexibility and strength: helps build bones and improves muscle tone.
 Psychological benefits: autonomy and improves self-esteem. Protects from depression and anxiety.
 Increases life expectancy and quality of life.
In children it also contributes to the integral formation of the person and the mental development necessary to
reach maturity. Making physical activity a part of the child's daily routine is not only fun, but also promotes
healthy growth and development and is a good way to learn physical and social skills.
“PRACTICE OF REGULAR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY ENHANCES AND PROMOTES GENERAL WELLBEING”
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PART I: MEDITERRANEAN DIET
5. Mediterranean Diet Food Groups; Selection and Preparation
Information for each food group (nutritional characteristics, recommended intake, main food products,
seasonality, biodiversity and varieties of local production, typical elaboration and preparation methods,
recipes, historical curiosity, festivities & traditions and special features) will be systematically available and
adapted to each MedDiet Project participating country at the MedDiet Project website www.med-diet.eu.
Introductory concepts are provided below as tips and techniques for the selection, preparation, and cooking of
typical Mediterranean Diet foods.
5.1. Food Selection
Even the values linked to the nutritional and health motivations are very important for the consumer, whom
could even have good nutrition labelling and knowledge, conflicts with some other factors that influence food
selection. The motivations concerning food characteristics linked to cultural and social background (prestige,
social acceptance, fashion, modernity), ease of preparation and comfort in consumption, taste, and of course,
the cost relative to consumer purchasing power are very important and, in most cases, decisive.
Food selection depends on many factors:
 Cost
 Personal taste
 Cultural and social background
 Ease of preparation
 Comfort in consumption
 Food characteristics (taste, colour, texture, shape, size)
 Relation to stay in good health due to its nutrient content
 Nutritional and health motivation
Eating is a complex act. It is not just the ingestion of a combination of foods, but also a social event
accompanying many other non-nutritional factors that make us feel connected to the group to which we
belong. The attitude we have toward certain foods reflects personal and emotional experiences. How we eat
during childhood lays the foundation for our preferences for certain types of food as adults, as well as the
acquisition of food selection patterns, and the incorporation of lifelong social attitudes and behaviours.
Advertising, fashion, sports and aesthetic myths have a growing influence in adolescence. During
adolescence, foods take on a social and symbolic value to better appreciate the tastes and gastronomic
traditions, while consumption is personalized with the risk of occurrence of inadequate eating practices
(skipping meals, snacks at odd times, excessive alcohol consumption ...). Thus, food habits of a population
have their origin in educational standards more or less consciously received in the family context during the
early years of life and are modulated over time by the whole society.
The food education process involves the following factors:
 Food knowledge
 Identifying food characteristics: smell, taste, texture, shape,...
 Culinary preparation and presentation
 Recommended frequency of consumption
 Portion sizes of different food groups (Figure 8)
 Consumption during some stage of life
 Interest in activities related to food
 Health value
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PART I: MEDITERRANEAN DIET
5. Mediterranean Diet Food Groups; Selection and Preparation
Figure 8. Mediterranean Food Groups Portion Size Chart
25
PART I: MEDITERRANEAN DIET
5. Mediterranean Diet Food Groups; Selection and Preparation
To influence the determinants for the maintenance and promotion of the Mediterranean Diet, both factors that
influence the availability and selection of food (Figure 9), are crucial.
Figure 9. Factors Related to Western Diet and Mediterranean Diet Adherence.
Source: Modified from Drewnoski & Eichelsdoerfer, 2009
26
PART I: MEDITERRANEAN DIET
5. Mediterranean Diet Food Groups; Selection and Preparation
Never before in our history has the food supply in our environment been as rich and as varied as it is today.
Therefore, it is essential for food and culinary nutrition education to the consumer along with the challenge
raised by improving the nutritional quality of food. This goes through promoting the Mediterranean Diet in its
cultural and gastronomic setting, reducing the stigma associated with certain low cost foods, increasing the
convenience when possible and essentially their accessibility, without sacrificing taste (Figure 10).
Figure 10 . – Actors and Elements for Mediterranean Diet Promotion
Source: adapted from Aranceta, 2002
The main actors that sensitise consumers with attitudes that promote the knowledge and skills necessary for
proper food selection according to the Mediterranean Diet pattern are the media, society, school and family,
the restaurant and catering sector, the health sector and consumer education (Figure 10). All resources and
actors must be organized and coordinated efficiently to achieve this goal. The current situation creates the
need for long-term intersectorial actions to ensure the survival of the Mediterranean Diet, with special
emphasis on collective interventions to children and youth.
27
PART I: MEDITERRANEAN DIET
5. Mediterranean Diet Food Groups; Selection and Preparation
5.2. Food Preparation
The current Mediterranean lifestyle should allow individuals to dedicate a space in the kitchen for the
preferential selection of local Mediterranean produce, proper storage and handling, and cooking techniques
that allow to maximise the nutritional properties of food, while enjoying tasty dishes.
Cooking techniques are often linked to the type of food and culinary tradition. Food can be cooked in water
(boiled), fat (sautéed, braised, and fried) in both water and fat (stew), dry (grilled and oven) or steamed and in
the microwave. Each influence food palatability and affects to a greater or lesser extent the preservation of
nutritional properties. For more information on cooking techniques refer to the summary of cooking techniques
and their advantages and disadvantages in the Table found in Appendix 2. There are some specific and
sophisticated gastronomic cooking techniques used by chefs, but those mentioned below are the most
common and the rest of foods, such as some vegetables and fruits, that are prepared to be eaten raw without
subjecting them to any kind of cooking. Considering how to cook food provides different textures so softer
preparations can be introduced more frequently for children.
The recommendations for the frequency of cooking techniques per week for school lunches are summarized in
Figure 11.
Figure 11. Spanish Consensus on the Frequency of Cooking Techniques per Week in School Meal
Programming. School-age from 3 to 18 Years
Source. Modified from “Consenso nacional de la
reunión de trabajo de los expertos de la evaluación
de menús escolares (Ministerio de Sanidad y
Ministerio de Educación, España, 2010)
Prioritize cooking techniques that do not require much addition of oil such as steam, oven, grill, fried,... and meet the frequency of
use and in this way ensure a diversification in the use of healthy cooking techniques (boiled, stewed, boiled, grilled and fried).
Precooked foods. Includes pre-fried potatoes, meat, dough (pizza, cannelloni, cakes ...) and / or ultra frozen breaded fish, breaded,
lasagna, etc.. No chips accompanied with side dishes. The proposal would limit these foods to a maximum frequency of ≤ 2 times
per week.
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PART I: MEDITERRANEAN DIET
5. Mediterranean Diet Food Groups; Selection and Preparation
Temperatures and cooking times for food determine the preservation or loss of nutrients, while allowing the
destruction of pathogenic microorganisms. Cooking food causes physical and chemical transformations, with
positive changes such as improved digestibility, and the conversion of nutrients into more easily digestible
forms.
Those techniques that allow for the digestibility of foods like pasta, rice, legumes, tubers and some vegetables;
also generally generate a loss of some vitamins and minerals from vegetables and fruits preparations.
Consequently, the way that foods are cooked is absolutely essential for avoiding unnecessary nutrients loss
since, in general, the longer food is exposed to heat, the greater the nutrient loss. Five minutes can make an
enormous difference in the nutritional quality of a meal. In addition, it is hard to generalize even within food
groups. Every food is unique and should be treated differently when cooking -temperatures and times-.
Spinach shouldn‟t be cooked for more than 2-3 minutes. But kale needs steaming for 6-8 minutes. Generally
speaking, we have historically overcooked vegetables in Mediterranean countries.
Vegetables*



Eggs

Fruits

SUMMARY OF COOKING TIPS
It is recommended to alternate different types of cooking.
We suggest steaming, baking and grilling food in order to prevent the loss of
vitamins, fibre and minerals in the boiling water.
We recommend saving the cooking water from vegetables to use in soups or to
make purees, because that is where the vitamins, minerals and fibre go.
In order to know if an egg is in good conditions, we will place it in a glass of water:
if it sinks it is fresh. If, however it floats, avoid using it.
Avoid mixing apples in the fruit bowl with other fruits. Apples makes the rest of the
fruit to spoil beforehand
*The lower nutrient loss from steaming is the main reason it is highly recommend to get the most of many
vegetables (for instance, boiling creates more nutrient loss than steaming if all other factors are equal).
Vegetables should never be exposed to high heat or boiling water for over 20 minutes. Ideally a short cooking
time for vegetables (between 3-5 minutes) with a careful, minimized heat and water exposure are
recommended.
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PART I: MEDITERRANEAN DIET
6. Meals
The new Mediterranean Diet pyramid expresses the composition of meals for the first time in a pyramid. The
presence of three main components: fruits, vegetables and cereals, should be the base of the meal,
supplemented by other vegetable-origin foods (olives, nuts and seeds (a handful), and spices, herbs, garlic
and onions) that add flavour and contribute to salt reduction) filling about 70% of the surface of the plate. The
remaining 30% of the plate should be covered by animal-based foods such as dairy, fish, meat or others.
Being cooked or seasoned with extra virgin olive oil is represented with a spoon in the center of the Tray.
Beverages should consist of plenty of water and a glass of wine (in moderation) for adults if culturally
permitted.
6.1. Mediterranean Diet Meal (for adults)
Figure 12. Healthy Meal Composition Tool for Adults
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PART I: MEDITERRANEAN DIET
6. Meals
6.2 Mediterranean Diet Tray (for children)
Figure 13. Healthy Meal Composition Tool for Children.
31
PART I: MEDITERRANEAN DIET
6. Meals
Figure 14. Mediterranean Diet Tray
The composition of meals are not necessarily a single dish as expressed in the image of the Tray (a way to
transmit the Mediterranean Diet principles and healthy school meal composition), should be spread over the
different dishes that make up the meal, with the composition and proportions represented by the Pyramid and
the Tray.
Meal Distribution Throughout the Day
The percentatges of energy that should be provided by each meal and the meal composition is presented
below (Figure 15).
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PART I: MEDITERRANEAN DIET
6. Meals
Figure 15. Meal Distribution Throughout the Day
BREAKFAST
33
PART I: MEDITERRANEAN DIET
6. Meals
Variety
The variety of food groups and ways to prepare food is one of the most prominent and valued concepts of the
Mediterranean Diet.
Mediterranean Diet dishes express variety and diversity, as reflected in the representative sample of
Mediterranean recipes and the typical menus of the six participating Mediterranean countries in the MedDiet
Project (See recipes at www. med-diet.eu) gathered together to reinforce the particularities of the
Mediterranean Diet in different Mediterranean areas. For the selection of Mediterranean Diet recipes see the
Mediterranean Diet recipe selection requirements; and for the relevant issues regarding a Mediterranean Diet
recipe refer to the Template in the Appendix 3 and 4.
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PART I: MEDITERRANEAN DIET
7. Mediterranean Diet Nutrition Values
Many are the nutritional characteristics of the Mediterranean diet that are notable:
 Variety of plant-based foods and its high consumption over animal-based foods;
 Richness in micro-nutrients (vitamin and minerals), antioxidants, non-nutritive factors (provided by fruits,
vegetables and also herbs and spices);
 High in complex carbohydrates and fibre thanks to the high consumption of whole grains, legumes, fruits,
vegetables and nuts;
 Presence of healthy fats from olive oil (monounsaturated), nuts and fish (both polyunsaturated,
respectively) and low unhealthy fats (saturated and trans fats)
 Balanced macro-nutrient proportions (carbohydrates, protein and fat)
 Low energy density.
(A Nutritional glossary can be found at the MedDiet Project website www.med-diet.eu)
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PART I: MEDITERRANEAN DIET
8. Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet
Vast evidence shows the relation between Mediterranean Diet food components and chronic diseases. Since
food components are not consumed isolated but within meals and its health effect are often synergistic,
studies focusing on the particular effect of one nutrient or food component have been gradually been displaced
by an analysis focused on the whole dietary pattern.
The level and the quality of the evidence around the effects of the Mediterranean Diet pattern have
exponentially raised, so have been developed the methodological tools to measure the Mediterranean Diet
adherence In fact, numerous studies observed that a good adherence to Mediterranean Diet pattern is
systematically associated with significant lower risk of several chronic diseases.
Beneficial health effects of the Mediterranean Diet:
 mortality and life-expectancy,
 coronary heart disease,
 obesity,
 diabetes mellitus,
 metabolic syndrome,
 cancer,
 bronchial asthma,
 cognitive function, Alzheimer's disease, and depression,
 nutrition adequacy and quality of life.
Extended information regarding the scientific evidence on Mediterranean Diet and health will be soon
published through a DIGITAL LIBRARY in the near future on the MedDiet Project website www.med-diet.eu.
“THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET, ONE OF THE WORLD HEALTHIEST DIETS”
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PART I: MEDITERRANEAN DIET
9. Mediterranean Diet, Sustainable Agriculture and the Environment
The Mediterranean Diet- a more environmentally friendly & sustainable agricultural model:
 Protecting the environment
 Less greenhouse gas effect
 Less of resources (energy, water and land use)
 Increased Biodiversity
 Promoting Sustainable Agriculture model
The environmental consequences caused by food systems are on public health agendas. Food is produced,
processed, distributed, and consumed, and this has consequences both on human health and on the
environment. Food items differ substantially regarding their environmental footprint that can be measured
through energy consumption, agriculture land use, water consumption or greenhouse gas emissions. Animalbased foods are by far more land and energy intensive compared to foods of vegetable origin. Dietary patterns
can substantially vary resource consumption and their impact on the environment as well as on the health of a
given population. The Mediterranean Diet is postulated to be an environmentally friendly model.
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PART I: MEDITERRANEAN DIET
10. The Advantages of the Mediterranean Diet
In summary, following the Mediterranean Diet supposes many advantages for individuals and the community:
 Good for Individuals
 Good for Public Health and Disease Prevention
 Good for Local Economics
 Good for the Environment
 Good for Sustainable Agriculture
Figure 16. Areas Related to the Mediterranean Diet
Source: Adapted from Task Force on indicators for assessing the sustainability of the Mediterranean Diet, 2012.
38
PART II. MEDITERRANEAN DIET AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES
1. The Role of Local Authorities
Considering the importance of the recognition by the UNESCO and international projection along with the
potential benefits of the Mediterranean Diet to the community, there are strong arguments for Local Authorities
to invest in the Mediterranean Diet.
Local Authorities are key players in stimulating the local economy and serve a central role in helping
consumers acquire knowledge, skills and aptitudes for greater adherence to the Mediterranean Diet (Figure
16). Therefore, local professionals and leaders have the opportunity and the responsibility to promote the
messages, values and practices of the Mediterranean Diet.
The government (local or regional, and their respective authority) should:
 Recognize the role of the Mediterranean Diet.
 Be committed to promoting the MedDiet principles and knowledge system for local development and
acquiring space for the Mediterranean Diet and the social benefit it conveys.
1.1 Objectives for Mediterranean Diet Promotion by Local Authorities

Main Objective: To safeguard the Mediterranean Diet (increasing awareness and adherence to the
Mediterranean Diet within the target region).
 Specific Objectives:
 Incorporate the Mediterranean Diet on the public agenda:
 Promotion through the use of social marketing, social media, internet, television, radio and
newspapers.
 Educate the local community about traditions, culinary principles and their associated health benefits.
 Form partnerships with public and private sectors.
 Include the Mediterranean Diet in local policy development.
 Examine barriers and facilitators in accessing Mediterranean Diet food components.
 Contribute to the social construction of lifestyles based on the cultural, gastronomic and health aspects of
the Mediterranean Diet.
 Promote scientific knowledge and research on the Mediterranean Diet.
 Promote healthy values of the local and/or regional cuisine.
39
PART II. MEDITERRANEAN DIET AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES
1. The Role of Local Authorities
1.2 Potential Members of the Local Authority
 Public Health Professionals
 Local, Regional or Nationally Elected and Appointed Officials
 School Administrators and Teachers
 Other Government and Community Stakeholders
 Non-profit Organizations
1.3 From Global to Local Mediterranean Diet Strategies
Figure 17. From the National to a Local Scale
Many global and national strategies have been launched. Most of these have been motivated by obesity
prevention campaigns as a way of reversing the increasing prevalence rates within the Mediterranean region.
These initiatives aim to encourage healthy eating and physical activity while seeking collaborations and
partnerships with public and private research institutions, universities, and members of society.
Examples of Global and National Strategies:
 The World Health Organization (WHO) established the Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and
Health in 2004 for sustained political commitment and collaboration of public and private entities.
 The Greek National Plan of Action on Public Health
 The Spanish Strategy for Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Obesity (NAOS)
Such campaigns require a multi-factorial approach, incorporating current research, best practices, mobilization
and integration of various sectors of the community, participatory assessment and systematic and regular
monitoring to evaluate results. Initiatives and programmes in the Mediterranean countries context should aim
to incorporate the promotion of the Mediterranean Diet as a reference for a culturally accepted prudent dietary
pattern model.
40
PART II. MEDITERRANEAN DIET AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES
1. The Role of Local Authorities
Focusing on Mediterranean foods rather than “nutrition” or nutritional components may be advantageous in
conveying messages since the Mediterranean dietary pattern is best known for placing emphasis on foods and
meals rather than on nutrients. National strategies can provide the framework for many regional and local
initiatives in this sense.
Both global and local strategies should include food promotion and education programs as essential tools for
achieving positive changes in eating habits and lifestyles. Basically, the structures of such programs are and
could be similar in most countries but must be adapted to the communities‟ characteristics and must also be
sensitive to cultural traditions and social behaviours of the community (Figure 18).
1.4 Mediterranean Diet Promotion Community and Actors
The social context is one of the main factors responsible for the evolution of eating habits of modern society;
this is a matter of interest and concern among health professionals, educators and the general population
because it fosters poor lifestyle habits which undermine the success of public health initiatives aimed at the
community (Figure 18).
Figure 18. Mediterranean Diet Promotion Community
Source: adapted from Bronfenbrenner‟s ecological framework
41
PART II. MEDITERRANEAN DIET AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES
1. The Role of Local Authorities
For many decades the family has been the cornerstone in the adoption of a particular dietary pattern. Later
socioeconomic changes have generated a number of alterations in the roles of its members, which has led to
a social transformation, due to the indirect effect of many factors (economic, religious, social, physiological,
cultural, psychological, and advertising) on the eating habits of the population.
Experts working within the area of food, education, health, culture, environment, and policy are highly
regarded members of the community; therefore the potential to be heard is remarkable. consequently, since
the Mediterranean Diet pattern is not only a healthy dietary pattern but also a cultural model, it has much more
possibilities to succeed if consumers are persuaded to follow it.
The following Figure 19 represents all the players involved in educating, accessing and promoting the
Mediterranean Diet. The possibilities to create new partnerships and discover opportunities are vast since the
creativity and involvement of as many sectors of your community as possible are required.
Figure 19.Mediterranean Diet Promotion Network
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PART II. MEDITERRANEAN DIET AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES
1. The Role of Local Authorities
1.5. Successful Mediterranean Diet Promotion Programming
Figure 20. Outline for Program Planning
Steps for Program Planning and Designing:
1.5.1. A Needs Assessment should be conducted to obtain a good analysis of the situation and choose the
best suited actions for the given community. For instance, the needs of your community may be analysed by:
 Identification of the target population
 Outline the purpose of your assessment
 Identification of data types and sources
 Data collection about eating habits, values and beliefs, health, physical, environmental, social, economic,
cultural and political characteristics of the community and the target audience. Include epidemiological
studies, surveillance data, focus groups, experts and existing research extrapolated from similar
communities. But especially determine barriers and facilitators to adopt the Mediterranean Diet.
 Analysis and Interpretation of data
 Identification, evaluation, and prioritisation of the problem and needs of the community
 Share your findings with experts and professionals of the field
Since these are initiatives aimed at promoting a change in dietary behaviour -to increase adherence to the
Mediterranean Diet - Behaviour Theory Models should be taken into account. Behaviour change
techniques should consider:
 Problem solving
 Self-monitory tools for consumer
 Provide consumers with the pyramid and explain “where, when, how” to eat
 Model the behaviour
 Environmental restructuring
 Prompt practice
 Social support and social change
A list of potential areas and indicators for assessing the sustainability of the Mediterranean Diet is provided
(Figure 21 and 22) to summarize several aspects that could be analysed for a certain intervention to promote
the Mediterranean Diet, or even the monitoring of the pattern in a certain region.
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PART II. MEDITERRANEAN DIET AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES
1. The Role of Local Authorities
Figure 21. Priority Areas to Assess the Sustainability of the Mediterranean Diet
Source: Adapted from Task Force on indicators for Assessing the sustainability of the Mediterranean Diet, 2012.
Figure 22. Potential Indicators for Assessing the Sustainability of the Mediterranean Diet
Source: Adapted from Task Force on Indicators for Assessing the Sustainability of the Mediterranean Diet . Jan 2012.
Med: Mediterranean; Med diet: Mediterranean Diet
44
PART II. MEDITERRANEAN DIET AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES
1. The Role of Local Authorities
1.5.2. Set Achievable Goals and ensure adequate design.
The determined activities should reinforce the purpose of the objectives. An activity could be determined and
assigned to each objective. The following factors should be contemplated when determining activities:
 Technical training.
 Expected efficiency (ratio between the required effort and the expected results).
 Accessibility of the population to activities.
 Maintain flexibility when program planning to adapt to unexpected changes.
1.5.3. When Implementing a campaign the following principles should be considered (Figure 23); the multisectored and multidisciplinary approach being key.
Figure 23. Principles for Implementing a Mediterranean Diet Promoting Campaign
Educating individuals, particularly when related to food and health, requires sustainable programming and
target-focused initiatives to foster changes in attitudes and behaviours. Educational campaigns and sporadic
isolated actions are not useful for sustained changes in eating behaviours.
In summary, it is recommended to design a model outlining the necessary inputs, outputs and outcomes as
described in Figure 24.
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PART II. MEDITERRANEAN DIET AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES
1. The Role of Local Authorities
Figure 24. Mediterranean Diet Promotion Model
To consider when implementing initiatives:
 Assess the political motivation. Political will on behalf of municipal officials and attaining a general
consensus by all municipal political groups is important for success.
 Assess community interest.
 Define program resources (Each activity should be assigned some resources):
- Material Resources (material and equipment)
- Financial Resources (budget for the implementation)
- Human Resources (number of people, their professional qualifications, time commitment and
duration of the collaboration)
-- Define the local authority, Departments and public/private partnerships of different areas (e.g.
agriculture, health, education, culture, recreation) for program development, implementation and
evaluation.
-- Initiate meetings involving all sectors of the local community to either integrate them as actors or
simply create synergies.
-- Study economic sources and potential resources in regional and state administrations.
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PART II. MEDITERRANEAN DIET AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES
1. The Role of Local Authorities





-- Establish a Coalition across sectors of government and both public and private organizations (nonprofits, professional associations, businesses, local purveyors, schools, churches etc.) allowing for the
pooling of resources and intellectual power while working towards a common goal.
-- Encourage citizen participation in all stages the program.
Create Work Groups for planning, development and evaluation. sub groups working between the sectors
involved should be created within each of these work groups.
Define a Timeline. Establish responsibility for each of the activities, a framework of coordination, resources
and activities management, with a schedule of activities described in chronological order.
Prioritize those activities where beneficiaries are active participants.
Design, implement and evaluate a Pilot test in a small area before implementing the larger community
program.
Participate in local, regional or national media. The media provides an effective platform for educating the
public and amplifies the message. Journalists and media are one of the main players who can help in
promoting the message of the advantages of the Mediterranean Diet. Distribute information, tutorials,
pamphlets, posters, podcasts, videos and educational materials by using social marketing tools such as
the internet, television, social media and publications.
Best Practices for a Promotion Campaign:
 Develop a clear and focused message
 Communication should be systematic, opportunistic and sustained
 Create a strong message aimed at empowering individuals by learning, engaging and sharing
Mediterranean Diet principles.
 Share those Lessons Learned: be sure to share your successes and challenges with other members of the
local authority. Letting others know about the program may help improve future program initiatives.
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PART II. MEDITERRANEAN DIET AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES
1. The Role of Local Authorities
1.5.4. Evaluate your program keeping in line with your predetermined goals and objectives.
 Establishment of registration-information systems to obtain data of indicators for monitoring and
evaluation, evaluating both the process and the outcomes.
 Design and execute effective evaluations of the program to enhance both current and future initiatives.
Sample Evaluation Questionnaire
The questionnaire seeks to request your opinion and level of satisfaction with the training in which you
participated. Please rank on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest) your level of
satisfaction with the activity.
Thank you for your cooperation
ACTIVITY:
LOCATION:
DATE:
Low
Medium
High
Level of knowledge acquired
1
2
3
4
5
Willingness to apply knowledge & skills learned
1
2
3
4
5
Overall satisfaction
1
2
3
4
5
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PART II. MEDITERRANEAN DIET AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES
1. The Role of Local Authorities
1.6. Ideas and Examples on “How to Become a Mediterranean Diet Promoter?”
Below are some suggestions on “How to be a Mediterranean Diet Promoter” Local Authority by establishing a
Mediterranean Diet Council and accepting potential commitments and foster them to concerned consumers,
which will provide the foundation for a Mediterranean Diet promotion community:
Establish a Mediterranean Diet Council:
The Mediterranean Diet Council could be based on the concept of a Food Policy Council (FPC) which is an
organization representing the numerous components of the broad food system. The aim of the council is to
build support for adopting a Mediterranean Diet pattern while simultaneously promoting sustainable
agriculture. Organizing periodical meetings to discuss the communities food matters in the Local Authority
context could be a great opportunity for all the actors. Involving Mediterranean food providers (growers,
producers and distributors) in the process of promotion and education outreach since all parties have
vested interest in preservation and expansion of Mediterranean Diet principles. Consult Nutritionists,
Dieticians and other food experts and public health professionals in the planning, development,
promotion, implementation and evaluation of Mediterranean Diet initiatives. Such professionals provide expert
analysis of components of the diet and understand the role of social marketing and education in community
settings.
The main aims could be:
 Improve accessibility to Mediterranean foods, for instance through:
 Identifying opportunities to promote Mediterranean foods at catering venues;
 Provide training and incentives for restaurants, local shops and markets on how to select, maintain and
store fresh produce and traditional Mediterranean foods;
 Unify resources among numerous small shops to buy fresh produce and products at discounted bulk rates
benefiting both shop owners and patrons;
 Reformulating Food policies and updating legislation on the basis of food advances in the scientific
community and the new consumer needs.
 Assess the Food Environment
The food environment encompasses where food is purchased, distributed, or served within your
community. Be sure to explore the following settings when looking for opportunity to promote the
Mediterranean Diet:
 Pre-Schools
 Elementary Schools
 Colleges and Universities
 After-school sports programs
 Hospitals and Medical Centres
 Worksite cafeterias and vending machines
 Convention & Meeting Venues
 Recreational Facilities (museums, sporting facilities and arenas, parks, pools)
 Built Environment (ability to walk or bike, ability to access healthy foods)
49

Promote Community Gardens and Agricultural Groups
Community gardens offer local residents access to small plots of land where they can grow their own fruits
and vegetables. This provides a hands-on opportunity for residents to learn, grow and enjoy fresh
Mediterranean foods. Local authority leaders can play a role in the development of community gardens by
identifying and using available spaces.

Provide continuity to the Mediterranean Diet Training Workshops
Organize regular training workshops to educate other local authority members and public health
professionals using the MedDiet knowledge system and tools.

Increase Availability of Farm Fresh Foods
Identify opportunities for partnerships with local farms. Explore barriers and opportunities for expanding
collaborations with local agriculture. Assist schools, businesses and hospitals in providing local agricultural
products and join resources to allow farmers to bid competitively.

Evaluate Foods Meetings, Conferences and Leisure Activities
Conventions and meetings sponsored by the local authority should aim to showcase Mediterranean foods
and lifestyle. Engage in contracts with Mediterranean food vendors to ensure continued commitment to
proving traditional, delicious and healthy foods and even physically active leisure and local and traditional
products related activities.
 Focus on targeting Children and Pregnant Women for a long term investment:
 Look for opportunities to education youth about the Mediterranean Diet. Rising rates of childhood obesity
make such initiatives critical for promoting health and preserving traditions of the Mediterranean culture
and heritage. Examine opportunities to include Mediterranean foods in schools, sports fields, parks,
swimming pools, museums, playgrounds, festivals, etc. especially attractive for adolescents such as with
the involvement of music and dance.
 Examine the role of diet in prenatal health and the access of Mediterranean foods among pregnant
women. Encourage the use of Mediterranean Diet tools and resources during prenatal appointments to
educate women about the health benefits of the traditional dietary pattern for them and their baby. Future
mothers are in a very receptive period for introducing new food habits.







Foster Mediterranean Diet promoting Schools (refer to Guidelines for Mediterranean Diet Education in
Schools at the MedDiet Project website www.med-diet.eu)
Analyse whether school meals meet Mediterranean Diet recommendations and comply with national
standards.
Consider including a farm-to-school program to increase quality and availability of Mediterranean foods.
Evaluate the promotion and nutritional quality of school vending machine products such as snacks and
soft drinks.
Partner teachers and parents in developing healthy school meal and snack programs.
Negotiate and contract with catering companies and snack vendors who model Mediterranean Diet
principles.
Examine opportunities to increase nutrition and health education in classrooms
50
 Consider adding edible school gardens that integrate gardening and fresh seasonal cooking into curricula.

Rethink Vending Machine Policies
Examine the promotion, presence and nutritional value of vending machines in local schools, worksites,
businesses and sporting centres. Local authority figures can negotiate vending machine policies that
either prohibit or reduce the sale of unhealthy foods and beverages or further restrict vending machine
sales to healthy Mediterranean snacks.

Engage in Commitments:
Local entities such as municipalities and provincial governments may demonstrate their interest in
spreading knowledge and values associated with the Mediterranean Diet by signing commitments. The
following sample Authority Letter of Commitment is part of the commitment to the Mediterranean Diet
promotion for those members who are considered beneficiaries. This is different than the application
documents signed to participate in the MedDiet Project. As well, below a sample Consumer Letter of
Commitment is also presented to be sent by the Local Authority in order to foster interest and commitment
from consumers.
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PART II. MEDITERRANEAN DIET AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES
1. The Role of Local Authorities
1.6.1. Authority Letter of Commitment
Dear Member,
As a member of the local authority you have the power to influence public perception and behaviour. Why not use your
power to preserve the heritage, culture and healthy lifestyle of your Mediterranean Diet? Not only is this dietary pattern
considered one of the healthiest of the world yet it also boasts environmental sustainability and economic viability.
Unfortunately in recent years, convenience foods, which are highly processed and of poor-quality have edged out the
wholesome and traditional foods native to the region. Over the same time period rates of obesity within Mediterranean
countries have increased placing a large burden upon the health of the community, particularly on children. Therefore
you have an opportunity to play an integral part in the promotion and preservation of the Mediterranean Diet while
improving the health and economy of your community.
In 2010 the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) highlighted the importance of
preservation and promotion of the Mediterranean Diet when it recognized the diet as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of
Humanity. As a result, more emphasis has been placed on improving access to Mediterranean Diet foods, increasing
awareness of the health benefits associated with the diet and promoting the consumption of traditional food components.
As a result, the responsibility of saving this heritage falls upon you the authority to partner with our communities. If we
don‟t save our precious diet and heritage, who will?
One way of pledging to preserve and promote the Mediterranean way of life is to make commitments. Such
commitments outline the importance of furthering the mission of diet promotion and preservation while enhancing public
partnerships. The following are commitments you can make to:



Safeguard the diet and lifestyle associated with the Mediterranean Diet working with producers, local markets,
schools, hospitals, sporting arenas to assist more people in to the health, cultural and environmental benefits.
Promote healthy lifestyles and communicate and promote the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet in the media
through the use of social marketing, social media, internet, television, radio and newspapers.
Apply scientific knowledge and research when advocating for the Mediterranean Diet as the basis for improving
public health.
By making this commitment and signing below you are helping to strengthen our purpose and momentum in spreading
the message of Mediterranean diet and lifestyle preservation and promoting adoption of the Mediterranean Diet
principles within the community.
Local Authority Signature:
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PART II. MEDITERRANEAN DIET AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES
1. The Role of Local Authorities
1.6.2. Consumer Letter of Commitment
Dear Mediterranean Diet Consumer,
The Mediterranean Diet is considered one of the healthiest in the world. Yet, in recent years poor-quality foods have
edged out wholesome and traditional foods native to the region. As a result, more emphasis has been placed on
increasing awareness of the health benefits associated with the diet and promoting the consumption of traditional food
components.
The Local Authority has assumed the challenge to be a Mediterranean Diet promoting authority, thus needs your
commitment to succeed. You hold power to save your traditional diet and make a commitment with your fork by choosing
Mediterranean foods. Such a commitment strengthens the mission of Mediterranean Diet promotion and preservation
while stimulating local commerce and sustaining the environment. Here‟s how you can preserve your Mediterranean Diet
and lifestyle:
 Learn: Educate yourself through the pyramid about the way of selecting, cooking and eating to follow the
Mediterranean Diet.
 Purchase: Buy and prepare fresh, local and seasonal foods.
 Share: your knowledge of the diet, lifestyle health benefits with your family and friends by exchanging traditional
recipes and meals around a table maintaining the region's culinary traditions.
 Move: Get moving more by walking, biking, swimming or exercising. Take advantage of the Mediterranean
climate by being active with friends outdoors.
 Benefit: The closer you adhere to the Mediterranean Diet principles, the more opportunities you have to enjoy
the benefits of the diet such as health and vitality, and economic stimulus and sustainable agriculture with your
community.
Spread the word, sign this commitment letter and live the Mediterranean Diet as a way of preserving health, culture and
environment.
“IF YOU LOVE YOURSELF, FOLLOW ME. THE MEDDIET”
Consumer Signature:
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PART III: MEDITERRANEAN DIET EDUCATION ACTIVITIES
FOR ORGANIZATION OF EVENTS
1. Applies to All Activities
All activities will be accompanied by the Communication and Promotional Instruments such as the
Mediterranean Diet Pyramid, a volunteer option of using a large visual aid to present the activities.
During the first session, the educator will introduce himself and present the MedDiet Project. He/she will
begin by asking the consumers what they know about the Mediterranean Diet and for a while they will put
in common concepts and discuss their perceptions and experiences.
Afterwards, all the participants together with the educator will say the slogan of the project and do the
movements involved:
“WE ARE WHAT WE EAT. BE MEDITERRANEAN!”
Say “WE ARE WHAT WE EAT” accompanied with a movement: start standing
with one hand to mimic the gesture of eating and then go to the crouching
position while using both hands to tap the head to the toes before finally
jumping up and shouting “Be Mediterranean!”
“IF YOU LOVE YOURSELF, FOLLOW ME. THE MEDDIET”
Say “IF YOU LOVE YOURSELF” accompanied with a movement: drawing a
heart with both hands at your heart level and then with one hand do the
“come” gesture accompanied with the hand while saying “FOLLOW ME.
THE MEDDIET”.
The importance of physical activity and its benefits are introduced hand in hand with healthy food (refer to
Physical Activity in Part I). A good excuse for a warm up is a 1-2 minute mini-physical activity dynamic for
the whole group. Saying “since we previously moved the whole body now is time to stretch our hands since we
will make you work with your hands for preparing food and eating, and roll the head from side to side ten times
to get the mind ready for some thinking. Finally take a deep breath and exhale... Followed by a question:
“DO YOU DARE TO BE
MEDITERRANEAN IN ALL
SENSES?”
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1. Applies to All Activities
The purpose of the activity is to highlight the importance and benefits of physical activity as well as the
essential role it plays in the Mediterranean lifestyle.
Then, the educator will explain the basics of the Mediterranean Diet and its food groups using the
Mediterranean Diet PYRAMID (refer to the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid and the Mediterranean Diet Meal in
Part I). The Pyramid should be explained focusing on its specific sections (either by hiding other sections or
with selective PowerPoint slides of the different food groups); ending the explanation by showing the entire
Pyramid. Another possibility is to print a large poster, and by cutting it into pieces (for examples the levels of
the Pyramid) may be useful when describing the food groups. Initially showing the whole Pyramid could be
overwhelming to the audience because there is plenty of information to take in; a good strategic didactical
solution could be explaining the pyramid bit by bit and then showing the whole representation at the end.
Mediterranean Diet education should be a prevention strategy, based on behavioural changes and
modification of unbalanced eating habits, bearing in mind that proper nutrition is crucial for healthy physical
and mental wellbeing. Thus, taking into account this approach, some questions are formulated in order to
make participants more aware of how they eat; leading the participants to find their own answers without
pushing them to share with the rest of the participants unless they are willing to:
“FROM 1-10, HOW CLOSE ARE YOUR DAILY MEALS TO THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET?
(PERCEPTION)”
1
(far)
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
(close to Mediterranean Diet)
“DO YOU FOLLOW THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET MEAL PRINCIPLES?”
In order to evaluate the participant‟s score (refer to Mediterranean Diet Meal Figure in Part I):
1. “Do you use extra virgin olive oil for cooking and dressing?”
2. “Do you fulfill the main meal composition?”
3. “Do you eat more or less than the total amount that fits on a large dish for a meal?
4. “Do you usually drink water with your meals?”
5. “Do you mostly choose traditional and local products?”
6. “Are you physically active?”
7. “Do you limit sweets, cakes, snacks, soft drinks and juices to special occasions?”
“WHAT BARRIERS PREVENT YOU FROM FOLLOWING THE MEDDIET?”
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PART III: MEDITERRANEAN DIET EDUCATION ACTIVITIES
FOR ORGANIZATION OF EVENTS
1. Applies to All Activities
Once the basis of the Mediterranean Diet is explained and before beginning the activity, participants will
repeat the slogans and the movements to get started.
During the next sessions, experiential and sensorial food seduction activities are implemented. The
success of the project depends on the partnering with local markets, farms and producers to familiarize
consumers with the Mediterranean Diet “Farm to Fork” principle.
In general, sessions conclude with the tasting of a simple Mediterranean recipe or food (olives, bread
and olive oil, watermelon, nuts...).
Lastly, consumers are asked to participate in an individual and group evaluation of the activity. For
example, an individual activity may involve writing a two-sentence summary about what they learned that they
did not previously know. This activity could then be followed by a group evaluation to share thoughts,
experiences and conclusions.
In order to support the modification of participants eating habits and improve their adherence to the
Mediterranean Diet, final questions should be made to lead the participants to find their own answers without
pushing them to share with the rest of the participants unless they are willing to:
 “WHAT SPECIFIC ACTIONS COULD YOU DO TO IMPROVE YOUR MEDITERRANEAN DIET?’’
 “WHEN WILL YOU PUT WHAT YOU’VE LEARNED INTO PRACTICE?”
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PART III: MEDITERRANEAN DIET EDUCATION ACTIVITIES
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2. Activities Timetable
1 session
(40 minutes)
1 session
5 minutes
Welcome & Introduction / Presentation of the MedDiet Project
30 minutes
What do Consumers Know about the Mediterranean Diet and Healthy
Eating? / The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid and Principles
5 minutes
Importance & Benefits of Physical Activity for Consumers/ 1-2 minute
Dynamic Mini-Physical Activity
90 minutes
Activities (MedDiet Taste Workshop; Cooking courses;
(90 minutes)
1 session
Competition ideas on MedDiet; Local Events)
50 minutes
Individual & Collective Evaluation / Closing & Distribution of Tool-kits
(50 minutes)
To be adapted to every target and municipality needs
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PART III: MEDITERRANEAN DIET EDUCATION ACTIVITIES
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3. Educational Strategy
Mediterranean Diet education is a complex subject which needs to be tackled using the multidimensional
perspective as done within these guidelines. Consumers need to be motivated, in a suitable and flexible
environment that facilitates communication, interpersonal relationships and the exchange of views and
perceived utility of acquired knowledge.
The mechanisms through which learning occurs were taken into account during the development of these
educational materials. In the process of learning, the consumer is able to learn at a given moment depending
on their stage of development and the foundation of knowledge from previous learning experiences. From a
constructivist view of learning, the impact that it has on personal growth is greater when more meanings are
allowed to be built up. The significance of learning is closely related to its functionality. Learning is functional to
the extent that consumers can relate it with previous knowledge and use it in new contexts. Meaningful
learning is the type of learning in which an individual relates the new information to that already known,
redesigning and rebuilding both. In other words, the structure of the background knowledge affects new
knowledge and experiences, and vice versa. With these principles in mind, the first minutes of each activity is
dedicated to understanding key concepts of the Mediterranean Diet. In this context, the social interactions that
are established among participants play a key role in the construction of knowledge.
Cooperative work is used in different activities since participants learn best when given the opportunity to work
together in small groups to achieve common objectives and goals. Cooperation, working together, discussion
and dialogue allows for different perspectives to emerge while encouraging students to learn new things,
rectify, strengthen or reform assumed learning.
When real food cannot be involved or presented it is highly recommended to show pictures of appealing and
delicious Mediterranean foods and dishes that fulfill the Mediterranean proportions principles. One of the best
tools for promotion is to offer "real" examples of the colourful and attractive Mediterranean Diet components.
Note that additional information is provided in all the activities so that they may be also continued at home.
Therefore some activities are also proposed as an extension such as family cooking activities, and especially
exchanging traditional family recipes among 2-3 families during meal gatherings.
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PART III: MEDITERRANEAN DIET EDUCATION ACTIVITIES
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3. Educational Strategy
It is suggested that in terms of methodology and for local relevance, each educator, with his characteristic
creativity can enrich the activities and adjust them to the needs of their audience and cultural context:
 Carefully study each activity before development and implementation.
 Find out more at the useful links provided related to food and nutrition education specific for each
country in order to expand knowledge.
 Apply innovative communication techniques to capture the interest and motivation of the public, since
it has been demonstrated that food and nutrition education should be enjoyable, fun and practical.
 Look for specific examples for your local community such as regional foods and recipes. Typical local
recipes of every food culture of the countries involved in the project are available at the MedDiet
Project website www.med-diet.eu in order to represent the different cultures of the participating
countries.
 Use real food or nice pictures of food whenever possible. Food is more appetising when it is visually
attractive.
Taking into account all the previously mentioned methodological issues, this guideline aims to provide an
outline for project educators to promote an understanding of the Mediterranean Diet lifestyle in their community
setting.
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PART III: MEDITERRANEAN DIET EDUCATION ACTIVITIES
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4. Activities
4.1. Mediterranean Diet Taste Workshops
The Taste Workshops are an experiential and meaningful learning activity where participants discover the
quality, diversity and potential of the Mediterranean Diet, making this experience a feast for the senses. The
workshop program activities are for all audiences and aim for the participants to experience the Mediterranean
Diet through tasting, preparing, and dialoguing. Thus, practical sessions and active methodology designed to
get to know the foods of the Mediterranean Diet, their sensory aspects, history and curiosities, nutrition facts,
culinary uses ... and finally enjoy them. The provided examples of taste workshops activities below could be
extrapolated and adapted to the rest of food groups.
4.1.1. Practical Workshop: “Closer to the Mediterranean Diet”
Purpose:
This workshop is one way that consumers can apply “experience and learning”. Explaining the pyramid alone
is not “hands-on” so this activity brings the pyramid to life – the colours, textures, flavours, variety,
components, etc. In addition, it applies the needed real-world skills to learn how to select and prepare
Mediterranean foods. The educator could use the pyramid as a reference during the workshop to discuss the
different points.
The main objective of the workshop is to not only theoretically understand and acquire the knowledge of
courses and local recipes that fulfill the principles of healthy and balanced dishes (legume salads, vegetables
with rice or pasta,...), but as well to elaborate them together. Legumes for instance are a good food group to
discover within this practical workshop, given their nutritional composition and importance for enriching dishes
without incrementing their price.
The aim of the workshop is to acquire the knowledge and the skills required to prepare a healthy
Mediterranean meal with the composition and proportions according to the Pyramid (refer to Part I), and
elaborate together a list of local recipes that could be balanced and complete courses that fulfill these criteria.
Target:
Group of 20 adults (20-25 maximum)
Objectives:
 Raise awareness of the importance of healthy eating and the Mediterranean Diet.
 Identify the different food groups and frequency of consumption.
 Provide basic guidelines for making a healthy meal.
 Identify recipes that could be balanced and complete courses.
 Provide knowledge and skills on how to select a healthy Mediterranean fresh food basket.
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PART III: MEDITERRANEAN DIET EDUCATION ACTIVITIES
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4. Activities
Description:
Preparation of a recipe such as “White Bean Salad with Dressing” with groups of 2-4 participants. The recipe
contains different vegetables and legumes as ingredients, is a good example of a healthy one-course
Mediterranean Diet meal (refer to the Pyramid and the Mediterranean Diet Meal in Part I, and Recipes found
on the MedDiet Project website www.med-diet.eu).
Once we have prepared the recipe we are going to see what benefits the ingredients provide us:
Nutritional comment
This salad is complete because it contains all the nutrients needed for daily consumption. It is important to eat
legumes all year round. This salad is a perfect meal when temperatures are on the rise. Legumes are an
excellent source of fibre and high quality vegetable protein. White beans give us energy-rich complex
carbohydrates and vegetable protein. Tuna gives us animal protein. We also get very healthy fats that come
from olive oil and tuna. The vitamin D from fish aids in the absorption of calcium from beans. Vegetables
provide us vitamins, minerals and antioxidant compounds. The high content in vitamin C of the dish is
important. Note the variety of colours and textures of the dish all of which convey unique health benefits. It‟s
an excellent dinner proposal for a hot day. This recipe is ideal for meeting the “two or three times a week
minimum” recommended legume consumption.
Following the preparation and discussion of the recipe, the educator may choose to ask additional questions to
reinforce concepts and further educational opportunity:
According to the observed data, ask the participants:
 “How available are these ingredients at your local market?”
 “How often do you consume them?”
 “Do you think that this recipe could be part of a balanced meal? Why? “
 “Which food groups or components of the Mediterranean Diet are missing, if any, from this recipe and are
needed for completing a balanced meal?”
 “How could you modify this recipe so that your family or friends may enjoy such a meal together?”
Ask participants to identify each of the foods and relate them to the Mediterranean Diet pyramid food groups.
Discuss the follow attributes of the recipe:
 Food components and food group placement
 Proportions of food components
 Selection, preparation and presentation of the foods
 Seasonality of the foods
 Colour, variety and state (raw/cooked) of the components
 Health benefits associated with these food groups or components
 Seasonings in the recipe
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PART III: MEDITERRANEAN DIET EDUCATION ACTIVITIES
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4. Activities
The current economic situation we are experiencing is driving much of the population away from the
Mediterranean Diet. However, there are ways to adapt to this new situation while still eating healthily and
economically.
Legumes, representatives of the Mediterranean Diet, and formerly considered poor food, are now known for
their high nutritional value and their price/quality ratio. They are characterized by their percentage of complex
carbohydrates, plant proteins of high value both quality and quantity and they are low-fat, dominated by
unsaturated fatty acids. Finally, they provide fibre and nutrients such as iron and calcium, which are not
covered by other foods.
At the end of the workshop everyone eats the prepared dish!
Resources:
 Materials for the cooking demonstration: two large tables for food preparation to accommodate 10 people
per table, sink, dustbin, kitchen utensils, mixing bowls, plates, glasses, cutlery, and recipe ingredients.
 Materials for educational component: Chairs, educational hand-outs, MedDiet Pyramid poster.
 Staff: 2 Educators
Space:
A room with capacity for 20-25 participants where a meal can be prepared.
Additional Information:
Sharing and Tasting Recipes
 The activity may be continued at home with the involvement of the whole family, especially children with the
use of the Mediterranean Diet Tray (refer to Part I) to be introduced in the family cooking activities.
Children could be involved in preparing many recipes as described in all the selected recipes (refer to the
MedDiet Project website www.med-diet.eu). Ideally, the recipe should be chosen involving children in the
dialogue process. Children especially learn by observing and putting those cooking skills into practice.
 For additional benefits beyond the family as well as reinforcing knowledge and skills among the adult
members of the family: A Family Recipe Exchange Gathering. For the beneficial effect of sharing,
traditional family recipes should be exchanged, prepared and tasted at weekly dinner gatherings with 2 or 3
families. Exchanging Mediterranean Diet recipes among families (refer to Recipes at www.med-diet.eu to
get all the recipe details) is a good strategy to reproduce and recover traditional dishes; and afterwards
trying the selected recipe cooked by one of the families, every time being a different one. It is a way to
motivate families to adopt Mediterranean Diet meal principles.
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PART III: MEDITERRANEAN DIET EDUCATION ACTIVITIES
FOR ORGANIZATION OF EVENTS
4. Activities
4.1.2. Olive Oil Tasting and Visit to an Olive Oil Mill
“VIRGIN OLIVE OIL: WAKE UP YOUR SENSES!”
Purpose:
We have chosen the jewel of the Mediterranean Diet, olive oil, because we want to spread one of the most
healthy, essential, natural and characteristic element of our diet. Olive oil is not only a source of nutrition,
behind it is hidden a vast universe of symbolic, artistic and cultural meanings, sensory pleasures and a source
of health.
The protective effects of olive oil against arteriosclerosis, cardiovascular diseases, some cancers and
dementia such as Alzheimer's disease among others should be noted. Environmental and genetic factors play
an important role in the development of longevity. As a result from the interaction between them, chronic
diseases of aging appear, such as cardiovascular processes, cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. Eating
is a very important factor because it plays a crucial role in health maintenance. Therefore, a healthy diet based
on the Mediterranean Diet, supported by the consumption of virgin olive oil, is a dietary pattern that facilitates
healthy aging.
The olive tree is and has been throughout the Mediterranean a link to all cultures, a characteristic element in
all landscapes and distinctive ingredient source of its gastronomy: olive oil.
If we had to summarize the Mediterranean with a single crop we would undoubtedly choose the olive tree.
Target:
Group of 20 adults
Objectives:
 Be acquainted with the attributes of virgin olive oil through the experience of different sensorial and
organoleptic attributes.
 Distinguish the different qualities of virgin olive oils that are elaborated depending on the variety of olives,
cultivation and production process.
 Introduce cultural and historical curiosities of olive oil.
 Take advantage of and make known to society the benefits of olive oil for health.
 Show that this food is a treasure of the Mediterranean Diet, and has endured through centuries among
regional culinary traditions, giving dishes a unique flavour and aroma.
Description:
The workshop will be divided into two parts (Theoretical and Practical), if possible conducting the workshop
visiting the grove and the olive oil mill. The tasting could be done at an olive oil producer and then a visit to the
mill.
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PART III: MEDITERRANEAN DIET EDUCATION ACTIVITIES
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4. Activities
Theoretical Part:
The educator places the olive oil in the pyramid (Refer to Part I) and briefly explains its related cultural aspects
and health benefits (regarding Olive Oil-refer to Food Groups at www.med-diet.eu). At the end of the
explanation different types of olive oil and its characteristics will be revised (www.med-diet.eu).
Explanation of Cultural and Health Benefits:
“The olive tree has been and is a revered tree, its leaves were used in the past to crown heroes and today one
of the greatest gastronomic treasures is extracted from its fruits: olive oil.
The origin of the olive tree seems to be present in the existence of mankind almost since its appearance on
Earth. In Ancient times, in Mesopotamia, this oil was used not only as food but also as fuel to generate heat
and light, as medicine to cure diseases and as an ingredient for youth and beauty creams.
Since the beginning of time this tree was related to the gods and supernatural forces. Olive oil was considered
liquid gold. The Egyptians were the first civilization that extracted olive oil using mechanical natural
procedures.
The Greeks also worshipped this tree, which was considered a symbol of life, fertility, peace and respect
among people.
However, this tree took long to arrive to some other Mediterranean locations such as the Iberian Peninsula. In
the ninth century BC, the Phoenicians (present-day Lebanon), brought the first olive cuttings in their boats to
many Mediterranean lands. It was a sort of wild olive tree, which produced very few olives. Later, the Greeks
introduced olive tree cultivation, although it was the Romans who, a few centuries later, cultivated on a large
scale.
But when the Roman Empire fell, the olive oil culture stopped.
With the arrival of the Arabs in the early eighth century, they recovered the habit of using olive oil for frying and
dressing food and also for therapeutic uses. Furthermore, new production techniques appeared and a new
olive oil culture developed that has survived to our days.
The industrialization of olive oil began in the Mediterranean during the 16 th century. Currently, virgin olive oil is
considered one of the best foods we can offer our body. This is the quintessential vegetable oil and the pillar of
the Mediterranean diet.
The olive tree is cultivated from Portugal to Turkey where all the benefits of this gourmet fruit can be enjoyed.
Olive oil is an essential food in the kitchen of most of the Mediterranean people and, by extension, has
become an essential element of the Western culture.
The olive tree belongs to the Oleaceae family. This plant species includes many subspecies such as the wild
olive that are cultivated and used for their fruit.
(For further information on the historical facts of the Olive Oil, refer to the Olive Oil story in Appendix 7).
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Health Benefits:
Environmental and genetic factors play an important role in the development of longevity. As a result of the
interaction between them, chronic diseases of aging appear, such as cardiovascular processes, cancer and
neurodegenerative disorders. Food is the most important environmental factor. A healthy diet based on the
Mediterranean Diet, supported by the consumption of virgin olive oil is a dietary pattern that facilitates healthy
aging as well as being related to lower risk of cardiovascular diseases and many other chronic diseases
according to scientific evidence.
Virgin olive oil, when it becomes the main source of dietary fat, provides benefits that are absent in other
dietary fats. It is not only a source of fatty acids of high nutritional value, it provides micronutrients, especially
antioxidants, such as phenolic compounds, vitamin E, carotenes and squalene.
“GET THE MOST OF EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL, ADD IT TO FOOD AFTER COOKING”
Types of olive oils:
Explanation of the different types of olive oil, processing and acidity:
 Extra virgin olive oil is of superior quality. It is obtained from the first cold pressing of the olives. The acidity
is less than 1°.
 Virgin olive oil: It is refined and is achieved by grinding the olives into a paste, and applying pressure to
squeeze the oil cold. Depending on the amount of free fatty acids (acidity) and the characteristics of the
fruit, its taste quality and smoothness will be higher or lower. The acidity can be up to 3°.
 Olive oil: It is common for some virgin olive oil obtained after the first pressing not to meet the necessary
conditions for consumption. These olive oils are referred to as “lampante” (Spanish terminology) and
subjected to a refining process to debug them. This olive oil obtained is mixed with virgin olive oil and is
marketed under the name of olive oil. Its acidity must not exceed 1°. This olive oil is the most common in
the marketplace.
Practical Part I: Tasting.
The practical part will proceed to olive oil tasting. Three different olive oil types will be tasted.
The following organoleptic characteristics should be identified: aroma, flavour, body.
Also, attributes and defects.
The tasting will be jointly managed with the educator who will be responsible for explaining how to detect the
organoleptic characteristics of olive oil and its attributes and defects.
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Tasting Explanation
We need for the tasting:
 An opaque glass with a narrow opening (fridge spoon which dilutes the
flavour.)
 Transparent cup.
 Watch glass to cover the tasting glass. (a napkin should be used if a watch
glass is not available).
 Wine thermometer.
 Apple.
For the olive oil tasting, a glass with a somewhat narrow opening should be used so the aromatic substances
can be concentrated. This glass should be of a dark colour to prevent the taster from being influenced by the
colour of the olive oil.
During the tasting, we will go through three sensory processes: Aroma, Flavour and Body.
AROMA:
 25g of olive oil are introduced into the tasting glass.
 Cover the glass to maintain aromas.
 Warm the glass with the palm of your hand and rotate it for about 30s.
 Open the cover. Place the nose closer to the glass and make a first inhalation.
The most frequent aromas identified in the olfactory analysis are:
1. Pleasant scents: ripe fruity olives, fruity green olive, apple, green grass, fig, green leaf.
2. Unpleasant scents: sour or vinegar, vegetable water, winey, rancid, rotten, dusty, mould/mildew, mats,
metallic.
TASTE:
 Introduce about 5 g of olive oil in your mouth during approximately 3 to 4 seconds to warm it.
 Close the mouth so that the tongue touches the inside of the upper teeth. Place the olive oil in the front of
the mouth.
 Make 2 or 3 inhalations of fresh air in order for new sensory perceptions to appear.
The most frequent flavours identified in taste analysis are:
1. Positive flavours: pleasantly bitter, sweet, salty, spicy, healthy, fruity, clean, fresh, fruit, almond, pine nuts,
plant.
2. Negative flavours: intense bitter, intense spicy, sour, dry leaves, winey, sour/vinegar, mats, ropes,
overheated, frosted olives, mould or moisture, metal, wood, worm, rotten, rancid.
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 Then we empty our mouth and wait about 30 seconds to see the appearance of some aftertaste.
 We will clean our mouth by having a glass of water or eating a small piece of apple in order to continue the
tasting.
BODY:
When we put the olive oil in our mouth we perceive a density that increases or decreases during the tasting.
This degree of density determines the intensity levels in the body. Following this methodology we find positive
(attributes), and negative (defects) perceptions.
ATTRIBUTES:
 FRUITY: Aroma and characteristic flavour of olive oils from fresh and healthy olives. The presence of
fruitiness is particularly present in olive oils from green unripe olives.
 GRASS: Aroma and flavour of certain olive oils are associated to freshness of freshly cut grass.
 APPLE: Characteristic smell of some olive oils that contains fresh and sweet fruity aromas that reminds us
of the aroma of this fruit.
 BITTER: Taste of green olive oils obtained from some specific varieties. Depending on its intensity it is
considered an attribute or a defect.
 ALMOND: Sweet taste characteristic of green almonds.
 SWEET: Pleasant taste, not very sweet, which appears mainly in olive oils from ripe olives.
DEFECTS
Defects are affected by the following four conditions: Maturity of fruit, biological alteration, oxidation and
contamination.
 MATURITY OF FRUIT:
 RIPE: Olive oil that comes from ripe olives. Poor olive oil aroma and taste, loss of freshness and
perfume.
 DRY: The dryness eliminates most of the aroma and flavour. It is associated with a wooden taste. It may
come from extreme drought or frost affected olives.
 BITTER: Typical of unripe olives and some particular varieties.
 ASTRINGENT: Typical of olives with a small degree of maturity and have suffered drought.
 CONTAMINATION:
 SOIL: Soil smell and taste comes from olives harvested from the ground.
 SHEET: It comes from excessive grinding of leaves with olives.
 GRASS: External substances like grass. In small perceptions is an attribute but becomes a defect if it is
intense.
 METALLIC: Processing default. Typical of olive oils produced with unclean metal machinery or has been
stored in metal tanks.
 HEATED: Processing default. It comes from olives that have been heated in the grinding stage or
shaken.
 DIRT: Typical of olive oils that have been processed or stored in contact with dirt. Default of olive oils
saved in deposits cleaned beforehand.
 VINEGAR: Mild taste of vinegar. Present in olives that have been stored too long before grinding.
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 BIOLOGICAL ALTERATIONS:
 FLY: Default coming from an olearia fly attack; oxidation increases and aroma and flavour are lost.
 MOULD: Characteristic of olives that have been stored for too long before grinding.
 “MORQUIA” (Spanish terminology): Default that comes from contact with the waters of vegetation that have a
putrid odour.
 LAMPANTE (Spanish terminology): Smells and taste are very penetrating and acidity tends to be high.
 OXIDATION:
 RANCID: This defect appears for the reason set out above or by being in contact with oxygen for a long
period of time. This is a common flaw in old olive oils that have suffered multiple exposures to sources
of heat, light or ventilation.
Practical Part II: Visit to the Olive Grove and Mill
With the purpose of improving nutrition knowledge through the understanding of the whole farm-to-fork
process, consumers will visit an olive grove and will be able to participate in the process of making olive oil. If
visiting either an olive grove or mill is not possible, an olive oil workshop could be developed and videos of the
harvest and production process could be projected working with the same sources of information provided in
the activity described below.
“FROM THE OLIVE TREE TO THE TABLE”
The activity is conducted in two phases located in two different locations:
At the olive grove:
In a first phase of the activity, consumers will visit the olive grove while the educator will make a brief
introductory explanation of the olive tree, its history, the different subspecies that exist and its uses.
Finally, consumers are encouraged to formulate questions for the staff working at the olive grove. The
questions should be about the olive tree, its history, varieties, harvesting techniques and, above all,
understanding the work in the field.
At the mill:
In the second phase of the activity, consumers will visit the mill. During the visit, they should observe each of
the stages of production of olive oil (screening and washing, crushing, mixing, centrifugation and filtration) and
the technologies used today.
Finally, consumers can taste the olive oil.
Resources:
 Materials:
 Theoretical part: Pyramid support (physical or virtual representation).
 Practical part: Two large tables (capacity of about 10 people per table), 20 chairs, 3 bottles of olive oil of
different origins and types, tasting glasses, bread, napkins, two white tablecloths (if we don‟t have white
tables), apples and water.
 Staff: 2 Educators
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Space:
A well lit room, airy, quiet, devoid of scents and with a controlled temperature. The room should have two white
tables (tables with white table cloths if white tables are not possible) with capacity of 10 people each.
Additional Information:
Family Extension Activity: The olive oil tasting can be done with children to convey the acquired knowledge.
To reproduce the tasting with the entire family, please see the following steps:
 Rules to keep in mind before tasting:
 Do not use any perfume at the time of the tasting.
 If we are ill (colds or flu) the taste will not be good.
 Do not eat at least one hour before the tasting.
 We must be very focused on a place without noise or doors.
 How to do the tasting:
1. Oil quantity: fill the tasting glass with 15ml of olive oil, cover with a watch glass. To heat the oil to 28°C,
rub the tasting glass with the palm of the hand for a couple of min., transmitting our body heat to the
olive oil. Once the temperature is reached, turn and tilt the glass to coat the walls with olive oil.
2. Nose: uncover the glass and smell quickly. This first time the smell should give us an idea of the type of
olive oil to be carefully confirmed and analyzed later. Cover the glass and after a few seconds repeat.
While breathing through the nose try hard to detect scents and olive oil intensity.
3. Palate/aftertaste: the sense of taste has features that can be inconvenient and others that may be
advantages. Therefore, between one taste and another, we will use sliced apples. In olive oil we can
only detect sweet and bitter stimuli. The spicy stimulus is a tactile sensation perceived in the mouth.
4. Take a small sip of olive oil (3ml) distributing it all over the mouth, and take small sips of air to sense
volatile aromatic components.
5. At this point we can talk about the positive and negative aspects.
General Public Extension Activity: once the preferred olive oil has been selected, conduct a tasting with
different types of bread of the region, including preferably different types of wholegrain and cereals breads.
While tasting somebody could read or perform the Olive Oil and Wheat stories (refer to the Wheat and Olive
Oil stories in Appendix 7).
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4.2. Cooking Courses
Live a gastronomic experience! The aim of the courses is to promote knowledge and skills to the participants
to know how to choose foods of the Mediterranean Diet.
Two types of cooking courses are available:
 Cooking courses for homemakers
 Cooking courses for the whole family
These cooking courses are an experiential and meaningful learning activity where users discover the quality,
diversity and potential of the Mediterranean Diet and cooking tips to motivate healthy eating and cooking
through the Mediterranean Diet model.
Practical sessions and active methodology are designed to enjoy and acquire knowledge about the different
food groups of the Mediterranean Diet.
4.2.1. Cooking Workshop for “Homemakers”: Taste the Mediterranean!
Purpose:
The Mediterranean Diet is a valid cultural and gastronomic model for the Mediterranean society. Unfortunately,
the new generations are losing this heritage that has been passed down from generation to generation.
The aim of this cooking workshop is to convey skills to the consumers to share this legacy thereby ensuring
the survival of these eating habits from the kitchen, bringing the healthy Mediterranean Diet lifestyle alive in a
practical and useful way. The kitchen is a meeting place for family and friends and is also a place to be
creative. Cooking is not just an activity that serves to eat, it is an act of sharing, testing, inventing, and
ultimately creating.
Target:
Homemakers, people in charge of the purchase and the preparation of meals at home (approximately 15-20
participants per group).
Objectives:
 Transmit the value of the Mediterranean Diet as a healthy and sustainable food pattern through the
preparation of a dish made with Mediterranean ingredients.
 Discuss the loss of traditional preparation, cooking and culinary aspects of the Mediterranean Diet.
 Learn different cooking methods to ensure a variety of ways for daily food preparation.
 Give homemakers tools to learn how to prepare healthy and inexpensive meals.
 Identify the different food groups, recommended servings and frequency of consumption for each food
group and the composition of healthy meals.
 Spread and promote the healthy habits of the Mediterranean Diet among children by homemakers.
 Promote awareness to homemakers about the importance of a healthy and balanced diet in the prevention
of obesity and other chronic diseases.
 Familiarize homemakers with the food groups of the Mediterranean Diet, their benefits and their frequency
of consumption.
 Provide materials to assist homemakers in selecting, preparing and storing Mediterranean foods.
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Description:
The workshop will be divided into two parts:
Theoretical part:
The educator provides participants tools for making healthy meals:
 Guidelines to prepare healthy meals for the whole family
(Refer to the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid and Mediterranean Diet Tray in Part I)
 Cooking tips (Refer to Summary of Cooking Tips in Appendix 2, and for additional information refer to Food Group‟s
preparation section, and Food Preparation Techniques in Part I).
Practical part:
Preparation of three Mediterranean Diet recipes. There will be groups of two or three participants and they will
prepare it together. Some groups will be responsible for preparing the starter, other groups the second course
and others the dessert. (Refer to Recipes at www.med-diet.eu, for example: fried goat cheese over roasted
vegetables, prunes and tapenade, Slices of Grouper with pine nut vinaigrette, Almond cream).
At the end of the workshop, the participants will taste the prepared dishes.
Resources:
 Materials: tables for participants, table for the educator, sink, cooking utensils, ingredients, plates, cutlery, cups and
dustbin.
 Staff: 1 Educator
Space:
An adequate place where food can be prepared.
Additional Information:
For additional benefits beyond the family as well as reinforcing knowledge and skills among the adult members
of the family: A Family Recipe Exchange Gathering. For the beneficial effect of sharing, traditional family
recipes should be exchanged, prepared and tasted at weekly dinner gatherings with 2 or 3 families.
Exchanging Mediterranean Diet recipes among families (refer to Recipes template in Appendix 4 to get all the
recipe details) is a good strategy to reproduce and recover traditional dishes; and afterwards trying the
selected recipe cooked by one of the families, every time being a different one. It is a way to motivate
homemakers to adopt the meal principles of the Mediterranean Diet.
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4.2.2 Cooking Workshop for Families
“COOK TOGETHER AS A FAMILY!”
Purpose:
A family cooking workshop raises awareness among the population and creates healthy habits from an early
age to incorporate suitable foods to follow a healthy and balanced diet. It aims to bring healthy lifestyles and
the Mediterranean Diet in a practical and useful way to households, reaching children as well as encouraging
good habits through traditional recipes and creativity. Thus, in this workshop, we propose ways for little ones to
get started in "the art of cooking".
Target:
Families (with children from 8-12 years old)
Groups of 25-30 people maximum
Objectives:
 Disseminate and encourage healthy Mediterranean Diet habits among children by their parents.
 Raise awareness among parents about the importance of a healthy and balanced diet in the prevention of obesity
and other chronic diseases.
 Encourage the familiarization of parents with the food groups of the Mediterranean Diet, their benefits, their
consumption frequency and other healthy habits.
 Promote and educate about healthy eating habits.
 Help children to incorporate everything they need for a healthy diet during their growth period.
 To publicize and stimulate the desire for healthy foods, from an early age.
 Disseminate, promote and bring the Mediterranean lifestyle in its broadest sense, as a lifestyle and healthy eating,
working with psychological factors, around food and the act of eating itself.
 Inform and sensitize those responsible for feeding children.
Description:
The cooking workshop will be divided into two parts:
Theoretical Part:
The educator begins with an introduction:
“It is very important to enjoy the act of eating with the five senses and to create a pleasant environment
considering the presentation of the dish, the temperature, the proportions and hygiene. It is important that we
teach our children to taste and enjoy foods; eating should be a relaxing time to enjoy and share”.
We must teach our children that the healthy Mediterranean Diet foods are perfectly compatible with the
pleasures of sampling tasty dishes.
The Mediterranean Diet is a rich, varied and healthy dietary pattern as well as a cultural heritage of all the
peoples of the basin.”
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The educator should generate a debate among participants by asking the question “What is the Mediterranean
Diet?” to which participants should think about what they know about the Mediterranean Diet pattern and the
Pyramid and describe it (refer to Mediterranean Diet Meal in Part I).
“How can we interest our children in adopting the Mediterranean Diet?” (Refer to Mediterranean Diet Tray in
Part I)
Practical Part:
“Make a recipe with your family!” (Refer to the recipe Fried Eggs at the MedDiet Project website www.med-diet.eu)
At the end of the cooking workshop, the participants will taste the prepared dishes with the whole family.
Resources:
 Materials: Tables for the participants, table for the educator, sink, cooking utensils, ingredients, plates, cutlery, cups,
and dustbins.
 Staff: 1-2 Educators (depending on the group)
Space:
An adequate place where food can be prepared.
Additional Information:
Many traditional recipes can be found in our most personal experiences. Since emotions accompany our food,
choosing recipes that have a special meaning for the family and talking about the story and emotions behind
the recipes is a gratifying activity within the family context. For instance, a recipe for baked chicken with olives
that grandmother used to make when the youngest of the family won Saturday football matches. Describing
the taste, the way it was cooked, and the situation of excitement related to the preparation of the dish should
be discussed.
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4.3. Mediterranean Diet Competition Ideas
Teamwork is a very effective pedagogical resource as it promotes cooperation, positive interdependence, and
social learning. It is a great time for the family to work together to achieve a common goal, making each victory
everyone‟s accomplishment. And at the same time it is a great way to learn about Mediterranean Diet
principles.
4.3.1. Mediterranean Diet Contest: Mediterranean Flavours
Purpose:
It aims to create an environment where hands-on activity stimulates learning and engages participants in the
creation of a healthy Mediterranean Diet meal based on natural, fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. By
working in groups, participants have the opportunity to plan, prepare, create and present a dish. Ultimately, the
purpose of this contest is to show that healthy food provided by the Mediterranean Diet is perfectly compatible
with the pleasures of tasty meals.
Target:
Any adult participant that wants to compete and accepts the contest rules.
Objectives:




Promote the creation of original Mediterranean Diet meals.
Spark youth interest in gastronomy.
Transmit the gastronomic culture of the Mediterranean Diet.
Promote traditional Mediterranean Diet recipes, with tools to modernize and make some of them healthier.
Description:
The Mediterranean Diet Recipes Template and Mediterranean Diet Recipes Selection Criteria must be
provided to participants (refer to Appendix 3 and 4 to get all the recipe details from participants). Contest
participants must follow the stipulated rules and recipes should be prepared home and brought to the contest
venue. For the development of the contest the Jury Evaluation Model should be used (refer to Appendix 5).
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Contest rules:
1. Interested participants should submit the application in ......................................... until the hour ......
............. of ...................... 20 .........
The request shall contain the name and address of the participant, or the members of the group, and the
recipe of the dish presented to the Competition.
2. The participant will prepare a dish with typical ingredients of the Mediterranean Diet.
3. Each elaboration submitted to the competition should be at least for the equivalent of 50 tastings (not
servings).
4. Each participant will provide the original recipe for the preparation of the dish, as accurate as possible, in
order to be reproduced faithfully. All areas of the provided recipe template must be completed.
5. Once in the contest, participants must deliver to the Registration desk the plate presented to the
competition as well as the recipe. At the same time, the registration form must be filled out. Please be
punctual to avoid impairing the course of the competition.
6. The dishes for the contest will be labelled with a number at the time of registration ensure anonymity and
facilitate voting by the judges.
7. The
contest
will
be
held
on
............................................................
at
..................................................................... .................... The dishes must be completed and submitted at
....................h., when the jury will proceed to mark them. If for some reason the schedule must be adjusted
to better accommodate participants, judges or staff, the organization retains the authority to make changes
in the schedule and is responsible for notifying all interested parties.
8. Awards and Qualifications (to be completed by organizers)
9. The jury will be composed by members of the competition organizers, a food critic and a representative
from the audience. The jury will rate the dishes based on criteria of impartiality, objectivity and full equality
of all participants. The final qualification of each plate will be the result of averaging the qualification of
each juror. Attached is the model to assess the dishes (refer to model in Appendix 5). The jury may adopt
the decisions deemed appropriate for the proper conduct of the Contest.
10. The qualifications of the judges will be irrevocable. The considered criteria refer to model in Appendix 5.
11. The Organization will be responsible for the submitted recipes, reserving the right to transcribe them in a
future thematic publication, quoting the source and author. The recipes will be tested for its reproducibility
prior to their publication.
12. The participation in this contest implies acceptance of each and every one of these rules.
Space: A such space with large tables. Examples:
City council
Convention centers
Additional Information:
For additional benefits beyond the family as well as reinforcing knowledge and skills among the adult members
of the family: A Family Recipe Exchange Gathering. For the beneficial effect of sharing, traditional family
recipes should be exchanged, prepared and tasted at weekly dinner gatherings with 2 or 3 families.
Exchanging Mediterranean Diet recipes among families (refer to Recipes in MedDiet website to get all the
recipe details) is a good strategy to reproduce and recover traditional dishes; and afterwards trying the
selected recipe cooked by one of the families, every time being a different one. It is a way to motivate
consumers to adopt Mediterranean Diet meal principles.
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4.3.2 Mediterranean Diet Gymkhana
Purpose:
The gymkhana will be a trip through the Mediterranean Diet. Through the different challenges, where food is
the protagonist, it is intended to teach the consumers the way of selecting, cooking and eating meals to follow
the Mediterranean Diet.
Target:
Families with children
Objectives:
 Raise awareness of the importance of healthy eating and the Mediterranean Diet.
 Improving eating habits of the consumers and promote active living, especially encouraging the consumption of fruits
and vegetables, locally sourced, seasonal and sustainable consumption practices.
 Transmit to children interesting notions about the food groups and how to consume them, to begin sensitized them to
the importance of a balanced diet for proper growth and development.
Description:
The activity will be a gymkhana consisting of 5 challenges. Each challenge will be located at a different stand.
In each stand there will be an educator whom will guide the participants. The different challenges are:
1. What is the Mediterranean Diet?
2. Build the Food Pyramid!
3. Prepare a Healthy Breakfast for the Entire Family.
4. Create your own Healthy Meal Plan!
5. Cooking as a Family.
A script for every stand is prepared. In each stand a challenge will be organized. Each group will be assisted
by an educator, and there will be 1 to 3 groups at a time at each stand. It is important to follow the order of the
stands because they are all related and progressive in the learning process. At the time of registration for the
gymkhana, an activity tracking sheet will be given to families that must be stamped at the end of each
challenge.
 Challenge 1: What is the Mediterranean Diet?
The educator will explain the principles of the Mediterranean Diet (refer to Mediterranean Diet Pyramid and
Mediterranean Diet Meal in Part I) with the illustration of the Pyramid and a map of the Mediterranean region.
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Source: Cartographic Institute of Catalonia.
Activities to be carried out:
- Place the name of the countries that you know on the map: Egypt, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Spain and
Tunisia.
- Can you say some typical dishes eaten in these countries?
For example, pizza and pasta in Italy, yoghurt in Greece, couscous in Tunisia, paella in Spain, etc.
 Challenge 2: Build the Food Pyramid!
The educator at the stand will have a large empty pyramid illustration and children, with the help of their
parents, will have to place the images (stickers, pictures or magnets) of the different foods on their appropriate
level on the pyramid". At the end of the challenge, the educator and the families correct the exercise with the
educator asking questions so that the participants can find the answers themselves.
 Challenge 3. Prepare a Healthy Breakfast for the Entire Family.
The educator explains to the group how to make a healthy, balanced breakfast (refer to Meal Daily Distribution
in Part I). "A proper breakfast is very important because it allows us to achieve an adequate performance, both
physically and intellectually during the whole day (it is the fuel that keeps us moving all day long). A good
breakfast should include 3 main components: dairy, cereal and fruit or fresh fruit juice. It can also be
complemented other foods such as ham, nuts... "
On a table there will be a list of typical foods of the Mediterranean Diet, recommended and not recommended
for preparing a healthy, balanced breakfast. The educator suggests: "Now we are going to prepare a healthy,
balanced breakfast, choosing among the different foods that are on this table"
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“LET’S MAKE BREAKFAST!”
Once they have prepared the breakfast, the educator will check the exercise with the group and ask them to
explain their food choices. The educator will then ask questions so that the participants can find the answers
themselves.
 Challenge 4. Create Your Own Healthy Meal Plan!
The educator will briefly explain on how to make a healthy meal plan (refer to Part I- Mediterranean Diet Tray).
Participants should decide on what will they eat during their next family meal and write it down. The educator,
by asking questions should persuade participants to find an adequate meal choice by themselves.
 Challenge 5. Cooking Together as a Family.
During this challenge families will prepare a recipe and a seasonal fruit dessert with a role playing activity
pretending they are selecting, preparing and eating the meal together as in real life. A picture of the selected
recipe is provided to the family. Firstly they should distribute the roles among family members (shopping list
responsible, shopping responsible, recipe chef, dessert chef). Everyone has specific responsibilities to conduct
but also have common tasks like assisting each other such as shopping and chef assistants along the whole
process.
The educator will give them some guidelines and advice in order to make smart choices for a healthy food
basket:
"When we are selecting foods to consume, we must bear in mind our rhythm of life, where the lack of time
influences what we eat -fast food and processed food-, but we can see that this lack of time is not incompatible
with a healthy diet. We can find canned, frozen, packaged and preserved foods that will allow us to lead a
healthy and balanced diet”.
“From the economic point of view, it‟s important to consume seasonal foods (fruits and vegetables) and take
advantage of deals especially in high-season”.
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“In order to make a healthy and appropriate selection of food we recommend to plan meals, and make a
shopping list, make the purchase without any rush with our stomachs full and in an orderly manner, select
fresh and seasonal products with quality principles, and value the quality-price relation”.
“If there are children at home, it is interesting that they participate in the food process: in the shopping process
as well as in the preservation and preparation of foods”.
Recipes to be prepared as example Enchanted Mushroom Forest and Fruit Skewers with Orange Juice for
dessert will be available at www.med-diet.eu.
At the end the prepared recipes will be eaten.
“LET’S ALL EAT A HEALTHY MEDITERRANEAN DIET MEAL!”
Resources:
 Materials: Inscription sheet, activity tracking sheet, chairs for the participants and tables for each challenge, stamps
for each challenge.
 Challenge 1: Map of the Mediterranean region, printed name of different countries.
 Challenge 2: Empty Mediterranean Diet Pyramid, food cut-outs (stickers, pictures or magnets), stamp.
 Challenge 3: Foods to find on the table: coffee, milk, cereal, bread, olive oil, tomatoes, a variety of fresh seasonal
fruit, concentrated juice, ham, white bread, wholemeal bread, cacao powder, butter, margarine, nuts, omelette,
turkey, cheese, yogurt, plates, mugs, spoons, sugar, pastries, chocolate, water.
 Challenge 4: paper to write down the healthy menu, pens.
 Challenge 5: sink, cooking utensils, ingredients to make the dishes, plates, cutlery, cups and dustbin.
 Staff: 2-3 Educators for each stand (depending on the groups). At least one person at the registration area.
Space: A large space with large tables. Examples:
City council
Convention centers
Additional Information:
Extension activities may be continued at home as the ones listed below to be done with the whole family at
home to reinforce the importance of the collaboration by the smallest members of the family during the whole
food process:
 Prepare for the next meals the recipes prepared during the Mediterranean Diet Gymkhana activity.
 Choose one day of the week for a family cooking activity. Prepare dinner together with the involvement of the whole
family, especially children, using the Mediterranean Diet Tray as a reference (refer to Part I). Children could be
involved in preparing many recipes as described in all the selected recipes (refer to www.med-diet.eu). Ideally the
recipe should be chosen consensually with the children participating in the dialogue process. Children learn
especially by observing and putting the learned cooking skills into practice.
 For additional benefits beyond the family as well as reinforcing knowledge and skills among the adult members of the
family: A Family Recipe Exchange Gathering. For the beneficial effect of sharing, traditional family recipes should be
exchanged, prepared and tasted at weekly dinner gatherings with 2 or 3 families. Exchanging Mediterranean Diet
recipes among families (refer to Recipes template at www.med-diet.eu to get all the recipe details) is a good strategy
to reproduce and recover traditional dishes; and afterwards trying the selected recipe cooked by one of the families,
every time being a different one. It is a way to motivate families to adopt Mediterranean Diet meal principles.
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4. Activities
4.4. Local Events
Local gatherings are a critical component of the Mediterranean basin and the Mediterranean Diet identity. By
organizing a local event, peers can be educated, encourage organization of extension activities, and get the
whole community involved. As the event is planned, it should be kept in mind that the size of the event does
not limit its impact! Many great community thrives are sparked by conversations around a table or around food
gatherings.
4.4.1. Mediterranean Diet Exhibition
Purpose:
This exhibition aims to give maximum exposure to the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet. The following text
could be used to capture the attention of the target audience:
“The benefits of the Mediterranean Diet for health and well-being are confirmed by the scientific community,
and therefore the need to transmit its message not only in the Mediterranean but for the entire world
population.
Changes in traditional customs have transformed some nutritional excellence of the Mediterranean Diet as well
as cultural values and way of life in the Mediterranean, compromising the legacy of the Mediterranean Diet has
on the health of its inhabitants.
The Mediterranean Diet should be adapted to changing times and should enhance the understanding of the
benefits by the population who is the custodian of this value so ingrained in their culture.
The promotion of the Mediterranean Diet like an immaterial space of intercultural dialogue fits perfectly with the
objectives and challenges of today's society and for the coming decades.
In the Mediterranean region, the land and the spirit are cultivated, the meals and the pleasures are savoured,
emotions and aromas are felt”.
Target:
General consumers
Objectives:
 Maximize awareness of the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet for the Mediterranean society as a healthy
lifestyle, and sustainable food model and one of the most deeply rooted cultural food heritages.
Description:
The information provided below complemented with all the materials available in Part I (refer to Mediterranean
Diet Pyramid and Tray and Food Groups in Part I and www.med-diet.eu) could be presented virtually, on
displays/educational panels, video or as Powerpoint presentations in town halls and tourist information
centres.
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4. Activities
Some information could be displayed:
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean Diet is a rich cultural heritage that was born
from the geographical, historical, cultural and anthropological
dimensions of three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa. From
simplicity and variety, the people of this hospitable and tempering
climatological zone came up with one of the most balanced,
complete and healthy food combinations of the planet: the
Mediterranean Diet.
Food Group Information
LEGUMES
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
NUTS
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4. Activities
FRUITS
CEREALS
GRAPES & WINE
VEGETABLES
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FISH & SEAFOOD
Some Typical Meals
COUSCOUS
A national dish of North African countries, couscous has become a universally recognized and appreciated
dish. Its expansion is thanks to the Arab-Muslim conquests from the eleventh century and commercial
development that took place in the region.
KEBAB
The Kebab is a Mediterranean dish that originated in the Middle East and is
consumed mainly in Turkey. A delicacy of Persian kings, the kebab was
consumed by the ancient Iranians to celebrate the New Year. Today it is
cooked almost daily in any home and has become the national dish of the
Islamic Republic.
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4. Activities
PAELLA
The most popular dish of the varied Spanish cuisine emerged
in rural Valencia, between the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries. Due to the laborious preparation and ingredients, it
was considered a luxury for most people for a long time.
When there was something to celebrate, this dish was usually
chosen. Men were usually responsible for its preparation and
it was a recipe associated with festivities.
PIZZA
A dish that originated in Neapolitan cuisine which later
spread around the world. It was first prepared as we
know it in 1889 for Queen Margaret of Savoy, who lived
in the city of Naples (Italy), the dish´s namesake.
Resources:
 Materials:
According to the exposition format:
Powerpoint presentation; computer; screen, projector; or panels (if possible);
Brochure of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid (refer to Mediterranean Diet Meal in Part I) (optional)
 Staff: Trained staff to promote and answer questions (optional and according to exposition format)
Space:
Tourist information centres
City council
Convention centers
Additional Information:
Be sure to include the name of the initiative, sponsor information, contact details and web resources.
 Take into account the seasonality of foods portrayed in the presentation with the season of exhibition.
Traditional, local, seasonal foods should be promoted when possible, and accompanied with an exposition
of real food items.
 Contribute to the knowledge of the reality of the landscape and Mediterranean culture through organizing
related conferences during the exhibition period.
 Perform story readings or performances of the Mediterranean Diet (refer to Appendix 7: Olive Oil, Wheat
and Wine history).
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4. Activities
4.4.2. Mediterranean Diet Markets, Fairs and Festivals
Purpose:
Events focused on the Mediterranean Diet are a way of generating interest, involvement and educating
regarding the lifestyle, agriculture, traditions, healthy benefits and economic vitality of this food pattern.
There are several resources available from many Mediterranean countries to learn more about planning,
building support, financing, marketing and organizing these festivals, fairs and seasonal markets (refer to Part
II, Planning events check-list in Appendix 6 and links provided in the useful links section).
Target:
General consumers
Objective:
 Bring together thousands of consumers to stimulate discussion and exploration surrounding traditional
Mediterranean foods and principles.
Description:
Some ideas for promoting Mediterranean foods through festivals, fairs and market may be to organize the
following events:
 Couscous Festival
 Jams & Preserves Fair
 Harvest Festival
 Other events related to regional Mediterranean food products
Below we have based some examples on the three central pillars of the Mediterranean Diet which are wheat,
wine and olive oil. These three components have a rich history within the Mediterranean, are inherently tied to
the landscape of the region and integrate the healthy composition and social aspects of the diet.
 Wheat (refer to the wheat story in Appendix 7)
 Wine (refer to the wine story in Appendix 7)
 Olive Oil (refer to the olive story in Appendix 7)
Below is an example of a Mediterranean Couscous Festival, which can be adapted for other regional events
for other Mediterranean foods, tailored to various regions based on climate, season, location and food
components.
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4. Activities
4.4.2.1. Couscous Festival
The selection of couscous as the centerpiece of the festival revolves around its rich history and representation
of cultural integration (refer to wheat story in Appendix 7 and wheat information in Part I). This information can
be distributed through printed formats, virtual support, performed as a story or theatre production, etc. This
would depend on the needs and preferences of the organizers.
Couscous Festival Sample Program of Activities
 International Chef Competition
 Recipe and Tasting Village
 Foods and Crafts Exposition
 Artisanal Food Specialty Workshops and Demonstrations
 History, Tradition and Benefits of Couscous Meetings and Seminars
 Couscous Media Broadcast
 Musical and Artistic Performances related to wheat harvesting
 Live Cooking Demonstrations
 Couscous Cooking Classes
 Festival Tours (refer to Market or Festival Tour Discussion Topics below)
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4. Activities
4.4.2.2. Olive Harvest Festival – From Field to Fork
Planning Aspects
 Timing should coincide with the harvest schedule
 Selection of olive grove
 Solicit partners, sponsors and volunteers
 Negotiate equipment and resource needs
Sponsors and Partnership
 Partner with a local olive producer or distributor in order to use olive groves for the festival site.
 Investigate opportunities to partner with local commerce, producers, purveyors and suppliers within the
olive and olive oil food distribution system.
 Partner with local, region or national agencies (both public and private) interested in promoting health and
wellness and embody the principles of the MedDiet initiative.
 Solicit sponsors while conveying the benefit on investment such as the visibility and publicity associated
with the event. Examples may include website traffic, media coverage, and product visibility among
attendees.
 Invite local purveyors of other Mediterranean foods to exhibit artisanal products during the night market.
 Investigate opportunities to partner with additional olive oil enterprises such as museums, processing
plants, etc.
Olive Harvest Festival Sample Program of Activities
 Olive Picking (hand-picking olives in the grove)
 Pickling the Olives (hands-on activity using traditional recipes)
 Olive Cultivation and Olive Oil Processing Workshops and Demonstrations
 Grove and Festival Tours
 Foods, Crafts and Artefacts Exposition
 History, Tradition and Importance of Olives and Oil Meetings and Seminars
 Mysteries of Olives Uncovered (highlights the novelties of olives and olive oil)
 Night Market (showcasing and selling specialty foods and traditional crafts)
 Tasting Tent (offering an organoleptic tasting experience)
 Ask the Artisan (question and answer session with olive cultivators/ olive oil producers)
 Musical and Artistic Performances
 Games and Activities for Children
 Art and Photograph Displays or Competitions
 Live Cooking Demonstrations using Olive Oil and Olives in unique recipes
 Culinary Competitions for Adults and Children with Awards and Prizes
 Adult Cooking Classes
 Child Cooking Classes
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4. Activities
4.4.2.3. Grape Harvest, Wine and Art Festival
Planning Aspects
 Timing should coincide with the seasonal production
 Selection of vineyard for the festival
 Solicit partners, sponsors, volunteers and vendors
 Negotiate equipment and resource needs
Sponsors and Partnership
 Partner with a local wine producer or distributor to gain access to the vineyard
 Investigate opportunities to partner with local commerce, producers, purveyors and suppliers within the
grape and wine production system.
 Partner with local, region or national agencies (both public and private) interested in promoting health and
wellness and embody the principles of the MedDiet initiative.
 Solicit sponsors while conveying the benefit on investment such as the visibility and publicity associated
with the event. Examples may include website traffic, media coverage, and product visibility among
attendees.
 Invite local purveyors of other Mediterranean foods to exhibit artisanal products during the night market.
Sample Program of Activities
 Pressing and Stomping of the Grapes
 Olive Cultivation and Olive Oil Processing Workshops and Demonstrations
 Tour the Vineyard
 Pairing Wine with Food Workshops
 The History and Culture of Wine Seminars
 Night Market (showcasing and selling specialty foods and traditional crafts)
 Wine Tasting Classes
 Wine and Art Exhibition
 Hot Air Balloon Rides – touring the vineyards from above
 Musical and Artistic Performances
 Games and Activities for Children
 Cooking with Wine Demonstrations
Additional Information:
Be sure to include the name of the initiative, sponsor information, contact details and web resources.
Perform story readings or performances of the Mediterranean Diet triad (refer to Appendix 7 with the Olive Oil
story, story about the origin of Wheat and the story about the origin of Wine.
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4. Activities
4.4.2.4. Market or Festival Tour
Purpose:
Discussion topics should be outlined for creating and organizing successful group market tours for
emphasizing Mediterranean foods and products.
Please refer to Part I for talking points regarding the Mediterranean Diet principles and dietary components of
the pyramid which may be highlighted during the market or festival tour.
Objectives
 To demonstrate and educate participants about the healthy, sustainable and traditional aspects of the
Mediterranean Diet.
 To educate and provide the necessary tools to assist participants in selecting, purchasing and preparing
Mediterranean Diet foods (directly in the shop, grove… in a practical way…)
 To cultivate a relationship between the consumers and purveyors of local agricultural products of the
Mediterranean Diet.
 To educate consumers about portion sizes, seasonal foods, food labels, shopping tips and visual aids such
as the Mediterranean Tray for children.
 To encourage participants to purchase and consume Mediterranean Diet foods and to advocate for the
preservation of the diet and traditions.
Description:
 Introduction and Mediterranean Diet principles through the Pyramid
 Tour and Educational Component
Topics to Discuss
 Local agriculture – The “Farm to Fork” Initiative
 The 10 Principles of the Mediterranean Diet
 The Food Groups – demonstrate how to select, compare, and purchase Mediterranean foods from various
food groups outlined in the pyramid.
 The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid – discuss the proportions of foods groups, fundamental elements of the
diet and how to select, purchase and prepare these foods.
 Include market purveyors in the tour by asking for demonstrations on how to choose lean meats, select
healthy fish, purchase cuts of animal products, prepare dried beans, select ripe produce, prepare grains
and choose olive oil varieties.
 Discuss the vertex of the pyramid (high sugar and fat foods) and educate participants on how to choose
leaner, low-fat and low sugar products.
 Demonstrate how to purchase spices and what foods are generally paired with traditional spices.
 Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet & Lifestyle – highlight the health benefits associated with the diet such
as foods high in fibre, healthy fats, variety, color, texture, etc.
 Discuss the value, nutritional quality and easy use regarding frozen vegetables and how to select freshfrozen vegetables.
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4. Activities
 Cultural Factors– select traditional components of the diet to emphasize during the tour as representations





of the rich history of the diet and culture. Examples include the three pillars of the diet: olive oil, wheat,
wine.
Moderation – demonstrate portion sizes when emphasizing foods from various food groups.
Educate participants about the seasonality, biodiversity and sustainability of the food components. Discuss
how to read labels such as organic, natural, low-fat, high fibre etc.
Discuss ways to select economically affordable foods, read unit pricing and how to stretch a budget while
maintaining a healthy diet.
Explain how to read a food label for ingredients, nutritional profile, macro- and micro-nutrient composition,
healthy aspects, quality and government regulations surrounding the label.
Describe how to make a shopping list as a method for saving time, ensuring a healthy diet and saving
money when shopping at the market.
 Conclusions, Discussion and Questions
Resources
Educational hand-outs - including but not limited to:
 Mediterranean Diet Pyramid targeted at adult consumers
 Mediterranean Diet Tray (if targeted at consumers with children)
 How to Read a Food Label on fresh Mediterranean food products. Aimed at educating consumers about
ingredients, serving sizes and nutritional composition
 Portion Sizes visual aid for consumers
 Sample Mediterranean Market Shopping List
Space
Location: market for conducting the tour
90
USEFUL LINK
Governmental and non-profit organizations links and resources generated by public health or food related
initiatives and programs deemed credible that could complement the MedDiet guidelines.
1. Greece National Catalogue of the Best practices of Local Authorities:
http://www.efet.gr/
http://www.paideiatrofi.org/
2. Social Marketing Resources
Center for Disease Control – In the Know: Social Media for Public Health
http://www.cdcnpin.org/scripts/features/feature_itk.asp
3. Estrategia NAOS
http://www.naos.aesan.msps.es/
4. EUFIC. Consejo Europeo de Información sobre Alimentación
www.eufic.org
5. Alimentación Saludable y Actividad Física como instrumentos de promoción de la salud: Desarrollo
de programas estatales y autonómicos en los gobiernos locales
http://www.juntadeandalucia.es/salud/sites/csalud/galerias/documentos/c_3_c_1_vida_sana/alimentacion_
equilibrada_actividad_fisica/premios_certamenes/3AmbitoComunitarioAccesit.pdf
6. Well-being through Nutrition: A Guide for Municipal Decision-makers:
http://www.stm.fi/c/document_library/get_file?folderId=501339&name=DLFE-23602.pdf
7. Leadership for Healthy Communities:
http://www.leadershipforhealthycommunities.org/index.php/component/advancedtags/?view=tag&id=3
8. Libro Blanco para una Estrategia Europea sobre problemas de salud relacionados con la
alimentación, el sobrepeso y la obesidad:
http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_determinants/life_style/nutrition/documents/nutrition_wp_es.pdf
2007. Comisión de las Comunidades Europeas.
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APPENDIX
APENDIX 1 - FAMILY PHYSICAL ACTIVITY BARRIERS AND SOLUTIONS
Sometimes we find obstacles for not practicing regular physical activity. Examples and possible solutions:
 Barrier 1: Unsafe neighbourhood.
 Solution: Children do not necessarily have to exercise outdoors to be active, indoor sports are so available.





Play traditional games like Hide and Seek, bouncing games, catching games Tag, etc.
Dance to music.
Move around with a video or television program.
Do active chores such as vacuuming and mopping.
Join extracurricular activities held at school or in adapted spaces. For example: swimming at a pool,
school dancing, play basketball, football and volleyball in school, etc.
 Barrier 2: Inactive family.
 Solution: Family should be a role model. Children are always watching. If adults are active, then it is most
likely that children will also be.
 Be active together in the family housework.
 Take a walk together: go to the mall for a walk, to the park to play, hiking, walking on the beach, etc.
 Establish a daily routine (few minutes) for activities: walking, running, skating, cycling or swimming.
 Organize active holidays! Have a bowling or skating party, etc.
 Give gifts that encourage physical activity: sports equipment, stop by to do some adventure sports.
 Barrier 3: Exceeding 2 hours a day of television, computers, video games...
 Solution: Set a time limit and turn off the television.
 Turn off the TV during family meals to promote family relationships and become aware of the act of
eating.
 Get the child used to not having a television set in their bedroom at very early ages.
 Have family leisure hours and practice dynamic activities.
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APPENDIX
APENDIX 1 - FAMILY PHYSICAL ACTIVITY BARRIERS AND SOLUTIONS
Proposed Activities for Educators
We propose some popular gaming activities, classified according to the education level, to be carried out
during recess at school to promote physical activity during leisure time and to encourage interaction among
peers (see Table 4).
“STAY ACTIVE. EXERCISE WITH FRIENDS AND PREFERABLY
OUTDOORS SINCE IT IS FUN AND HEALTHY!”
Table 1. Classification of types of Physical Activity
Non sports
Dodge Ball
Jump rope
Hopscotch
Playing in the park
Sports
Football
Swim
Martial Arts
Rollerblading
Examples of Active Activities (Recommended a minimum of 15 minutes for each activity)
Table 2. Activities by Cycle (divided based on age and physical capabilities of children)
Initial cycle: 1st level
Activity
Statues
Skipping
Musical chairs
Initial cycle:2nd level
Activity
Hopscotch
Jump rope
The 4 corners
Middle cycle
Activity
Tug of war
Scarf game
Spinning tops
Upper cycle
Activity
Relay
Gymkhana
Dodge ball
Material
Installations
Playground
Chairs and music
Gym or large room
Material
Ribbon or chalk, tile
Ropes
Cones or plaster to mark corners
Installations
Gym or playground
Material
Long rope
Scarf
Spinning tops
Installations
Gym Court
Material
Cones, hoops, ribbons, scarves, etc.
Installations
Ball, chalk or ribbon
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APPENDIX
APPENDIX 2 – COOKING TECHNIQUES
 Boiling. Simple cooking where foods are dipped in boiling water at 100 ° C for a certain time.
 Grill. Cooking food on a hot plate at 200 ° C over a little olive oil to prevent food from sticking.
 Oven. Firings at temperatures suitable for the type of food and the size of the part, usually at elevated





temperatures above 150 ° C.
Stew. Cooking fat food and water over medium heat and uncovered about 100 ° C. Cooking food in fat over
low heat and cook covered for that "drowned" in their own juices.
Sautéed. Quick cooking foods in an uncovered container with a moderate amount of hot oil at temperatures
around 180 ° C.
Fried. Cooking food by immersion in hot oil around 180 ° C.
Steam. Placing the food in a container with water, but without contacting water, food is cooked in the steam
caused by evaporation at 100 ° C.
Blanching. Food substances -usually vegetables or fruits to remove a strong taste (cabbage, onions, etc.)plunged first into boiling water, and removed after a brief time to be plunged then into cold water (shocked)
to halt the cooking process.
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APPENDIX
APPENDIX 2 – COOKING TECHNIQUES
The Advantages, Disadvantages, Precautions and Solutions of Each Cooking Technique
COOKING
TECHNIQUES
BOILED
GRILL/GRIDDLE
OVEN
STEW
SAUTÉED
ADVANTAGE
DISADVANTAGE
PRECAUTIONS
SOLUTIONS
Fibrous structures are
weakened and some
nutrients (fat-soluble
vitamins) are
released and better
absorbed. You get a
nutritious liquid, rich
in minerals.
The food in contact
with the hot surface
creates an outer layer
that keeps juices and
nutrients inside and
takes on a very nice
texture.
All foods can be
cooked in the oven.
The food loses
minerals that migrate
to the cooking water
and destroy much of
the water soluble
vitamins (vitamin C
and group B).
Careful not to
overcook pasta and
rice as they lose
starch, stick and may
not be well accepted.
To minimize nutrient loss and
prevent excessive grain
softening, food must be added
to boiling water, keep high
heat, cook for the necessary
time and drain immediately.
Food can be cooked
too much or too little.
If food is undercooked
it might be left
hygienically unsafe.
Roasting reduces its
digestibility and
nutritional value.
Eat straight off the griddle or
preference for making grilled
soft foods such as fish,
zucchini or eggplant, for
example
Foods tend to dry and
harden that reduces
their digestibility and
nutritional value.
Foods lose part of
their identity and you
get a bowl of uniform
flavours and textures.
Prevent food from
drying out.
Add some water or broth for
added moisture and to prevent
drying.
Avoid the monotony
of the dishes with the
same vegetables
(onion, tomato and
carrot).
Cook food well but
with a little oil.
Cook different types of food
with a variety of
accompaniments.
The long cooking
food allows obtaining
very pleasant flavours
and textures children
accept well.
Infers good
palatability to foods
and maintains
vegetables a bright
colour.
Cooking is done in oil
and its absorption can
lead to excessive
intake.
Use it for side dishes or to
accompany second courses
since servings are smaller.
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APPENDIX
APPENDIX 2 – COOKING TECHNIQUES
The Advantages, Disadvantages, Precautions and Solutions of Each Cooking Technique
COOKING
TECHNIQUES
FRIED
STEAM
ADVANTAGE
DISADVANTAGE
PRECAUTIONS
SOLUTIONS
Very well accepted by
children because
foods absorb cooking
oils and are more
flavorful.
Cooking oils
deteriorate at high
temperatures and
increase the energy
value of food.
Use it carefully and
occasionally.
Heating the oil to the required
temperature to obtain a crispy
food and thereby minimize the
absorption of fat. Use oils with
high oleic acid content (extra
virgin/virgin olive oil or high
oleic acid sunflower oil) for
higher temperature resistance
and performance
High preservation of
minerals in food, as
well as some of the
vitamins, colours and
flavours.
Low acceptance of
food texture by
children.
Use this technique for
vegetable side dishes to add
colour to the second course.
Add herbs and spices to
improve the taste of food..
Comfort, ease of use
and speed.
If the radiation does
not reach the entire
piece evenly, food
may be partially
heated or lightly
cooked
Little acceptance of
the typical salad
(lettuce, tomato and
corn).
Avoid using it only in
case of need for food
regime (intestinal
discomfort) to
accustom the body
textures "al dente"
and more nutritious.
Use the device
following the
instructions
Avoid monotony of
trimmings and use
imagination to provide
variety of colors and
textures to the dish
To prevent nutrient losses
reduce storage time, clean the
vegetables without letting
them soak long and drain well.
Avoid monotonous salads with
many ingredients, colours and
textures.
MICROWAVE
Minimum loss of
nutrients, only from
storage and handling.
RAW
Use it for the intermediate
stages of the preparations and
cooking to heat liquid (water,
broth, milk) or to defrost
quickly and hygienically.
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APPENDIX
APPENDIX 3- MEDITERRANEAN DIET RECIPE SELECTION REQUIREMENTS
The recipe should prioritize:
1. High content vegetables and / or legumes;
2. Olive oil as a principal added fat;
3. If the recipe has a garnish, it must be based on vegetables and/or legumes;
4. It should contain a grain product, such as bread, pasta or rice if possible;
5. Cooking techniques that do not require the addition of large amounts of fat: steamed, baked, grilled, fried,
etc.
6. Include fresh, seasonal and/or local production food;
7. Include fish and / or seafood, or lean meats if it is a second course;
8. Ensure the presence of fresh and / or dried, and in case of using milk the low-fat priority fat (semi-skimmed
or skimmed) in case it is a dessert
The recipe should avoid:
1. High amount of fat in the preparation of the dish, such as creams, butter, margarine, butter or a lot of oil.
2. Fatty meats, sausages on a large scale, as the main ingredient;
3. Desserts with a high content of sugars and / or fats;
4. Culinary preparations that require a quantity of fat such as fried, breaded, etc..;
5. The use of fats other than olive oil in the preparation of sauces
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APPENDIX
APPENDIX 4- MEDITERRANEAN DIET RECIPE TEMPLATE
Name of the recipe
Name of the restaurant
Town
Classify the recipe in one of the
following groups
Number of servings
Preparation Time (min.)
1
2
3
4
5
 10-20
 20-30
 30-40
 40-50
 50-60
 60
 Salads
 Vegetables/Legumes
 Potatoes, pasta and rice
 Meat and eggs
 Fish
 Desserts
Season
 Spring
 Summer
 Fall
 Winter
Ingredients
Quantity
Ingredient
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APPENDIX
APPENDIX 4- MEDITERRANEAN DIET RECIPE TEMPLATE
Procedure:
Ingredients for the sauce or condiments:
Quantity
Ingredient
Elaboration of the sauce or condiments
Mention, whenever required, the cooking time, temperature and cooking technique.
99
APPENDIX
APPENDIX 5 - JURY EVALUATION FORM
Name/Number of the plate ……………………………………………………………………………….…
Aspect colour
Dish
Appearance ………………………………………….……………………………………………….
Clean……………..……………………………………………………………………………………
Colour…..……...………………………………………………………………………………………
Presentation………..…………………………………………………………………………………
Originality……………..……………………………………………………………………...............
First impression: good/regular/bad
……….………………………………………………..……………………………………………….
Intensity: strong/medium/ weak / non-existent
…………………………….………………………..………………………………………………….
Smell…………..…………………………………….…………………………………………………
Presentation…………………………………..………………………………………………………
Originality..…………………………………………………………………………………………….
Flavour / taste
Sweetness: sweetened / unctuous / velvet/cloying:
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Acid: acid / flat:
.…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Bitter: enough / strong / light / astringent:
..…………………………………………………..……………………………………………………
Salty: aggressive / mordant / flat / tasteless:
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Taste: nice / nasty
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Persistence: long / medium / short:
………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
100
APPENDIX
APPENDIX 5 - JURY EVALUATION FORM
Strange taste: putrid / acetic:
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Balance: roundness / scarcity:
…………………………………..……………………………………………………………………..
Intensity:
………………………………………………………………….………………………………………
After taste
Harmony:
……….…………………………………………………………………………………………….…..
Balance:
………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
Aftertaste:
………………………………………………………………………………………………….……...
Persistence:
………..………………………………………………………………………………………………..
Final score:
………….………………………………………………………………………………………………
Comments:
……………………………………………………………………………………………...................
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
….………………………………………………………………………………………………………
101
APPENDIX
APPENDIX 6 - PLANNING EVENTS CHECK-LIST
Planning
 Evaluate timing and seasonality of the event
 Select location venue
 Solicit partners, sponsors and volunteers
 Negotiate equipment and resource needs
Sponsors and Partnership
 Investigate opportunities to partner with local commerce, producers, purveyors and suppliers of the food
distribution system.
 Partner with local, region or national agencies (both public and private) interested in promoting health and
wellness.
 Solicit sponsors while conveying the benefit on investment such as the visibility and publicity associated
with the event. Examples may include website traffic, media coverage, and product visibility among
attendees.
Marketing of the Event
 Maintain a Relationship with the Media
Continuously inform your database of local reporters, editors, media directors and producers.
 Choose a Spokesperson
Find someone that your local community trusts and showcase this person as an effort to advance your
message. This spokesperson could be a community leader, a local advocate, public health professional or
well-known public figure.
 Team Up
Partner with local businesses, schools, health care centers, hospitals or religious organizations to share
your mission and amplify your message.
 Enlist Volunteers
Students from various disciplines such as public health, medicine, science, and nutrition in addition to local
members of community (parents, shop owners, youth, and elders) may be interested in promoting the
message of the Mediterranean Diet. Such volunteers can help with planning, promotion, organization, event
activities, and educational projects. Designate a volunteer supervisor to select, train, and staff these
positions to optimize efficiency and effectiveness during your events.
 Distribute Press Releases
One way of getting the message out about an event may be through the use of a press release, since this
generally creates exposure and generates discussion.
 Start with a captivating opening statement to grab the attention of the reader
 Keep it brief and newsworthy
 Include the who, what, where, when and why of the topic
 Make it local, culturally relevant and pertinent to the target audience
 List contact details and links for more information
 Use Social Media to Amplify Your Message
102
APPENDIX
APPENDIX 6 - PLANNING EVENTS CHECK-LIST
Marketing of the Event
 Social marketing aims to create awareness, change attitudes and behaviour and provide tools useful to
your target audience. One such communication channel is through the use of social media outlets like
Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogs, mobile devices, wikis, and podcasts. Social media is unique in that it
offers communication in real time and links people together who share similar interests and are working
towards a common goal.
 Establish digital goals, objectives, strategies and benchmarks for your social media campaign in line with
those promoting the overall message of the Mediterranean Diet and aim to influence attitudes or behaviour
change.
 Narrow your target audience. Segmenting and prioritizing your audience improves reach, enhances
relevance, and helps put your resources to the best possible use.
 Solicit feedback from your audience. Encouraging discussion and participation helps correct misinformation
and focus the message to the needs of the readers.
 Evaluate the marketing. Research competitor or partner campaigns, measure website analytics and
evaluate the effectiveness at reaching benchmarks, increasing awareness and fostering behaviour change.
103
APPENDIX
APPENDIX 7- OLIVE OIL, WHEAT AND WINE STORIES
OLIVE OIL
"Olive oil is a vegetable oil extracted from the freshly harvested fruit of olive (olive image).
Do you know this fruit?
This fruit is the olive. And most of us, we know it because we like to add it to many dishes, especially salads or
eat them alone. But consider that olive oil has been known for many years ..., thousands of years ... In ancient
times, in the lands of Mesopotamia, a land far away this oil was being used not only as food, also as a fuel to
generate heat and light, as a medicine to cure diseases and as an ingredient for youth and beauty creams.
You know who the Egyptians were, right? (Picture Egyptians)
The Egyptians used this oil to illuminate Temples. And also placed crowns made with olive branches on the
head of mummies (Picture mummies with crowns). And the Greeks ...
Do you know who the Greeks were and what they used olive oil for? (Picture Greeks)
In Greece, the winners of the ancient Olympic Games were smeared all over with olive oil and were crowned
with olive branches. Olive trees were so important that anyone who dared to tear or shred two specimens of
this species was punished with penalties such as banishment or confiscation of all property. It was the
Romans ...
You know who the Romans were? (Picture Romans)
Many years later who spread the olive tree cultivation throughout the Mediterranean basin. Imagine if there
were a lot of olive trees during the Roman times, that they would say that a squirrel could cross an entire area,
from tip to tip, jumping from branch to branch never touching the ground. And, since they believed that olive oil
was a luxury, only rich Romans used the higher quality olive oil. The poorest Romans, however, used the
lower grade olive oils, which contained most graduation
But when the Roman Empire fell, the olive oil culture stopped.
But, luckily, came the Arabs (Picture Arabs), and, thanks to them, the habit of consuming olive oil was
recovered. The Arabs used olive oil for frying and for dressings. And, also used as a medicine. In addition,
new techniques were developed and developing a new culture of olive oil that has survived until today.
Today, the olive tree is a dark green leafy perennial type tree (resistant leaf that does not expire periodically),
which can reach 15 meters high growing in a dry and temperate climate and is grown in Mediterranean lands.
Currently, the olive tree is grown in countries all around the Mediterranean and olive oil is one of the oldest
and most important food of the Mediterranean Diet.
Do you know hy it is so important the olive oil?
 It is very healthy for the heart, arteries, disease prevention and general health.
 It is ideal for dressing dishes because it gives very good taste.
 It is the best oil that can be used when cooking.
But ... do you think that all olive varieties are used to produce olive oil?
Of the more than 1500 known varieties, some of which are preferably used for the production of olive oil (oil
picture) and other for the production of table olives (olives image)”.
104
APPENDIX
APPENDIX 7- OLIVE OIL, WHEAT AND WINE STORIES
WHEAT
“Approximately 10,000 years ago an event happened that changed the course of humanity. It was in the
prehistory when someone discovered or invented agriculture, in current Iraq. Those men and women learned
to cultivate the land and began planting seeds for food. This discovery was so important because it became
the main source of food and made that the first settlements were founded. The first foods cultivated were
cereals and among the most cultivated was a kind of wheat. Our ancestors saw that wheat and cereals could
not be eaten as is off the land, so they learned to manipulate it and invented the first bread ever. This bread
was not like bread we know today, it is believed that it was a kind of flat bread made by grinding wheat with
two large stones, soaking it with water and letting it dry on a hot stone.
The Egyptians were the civilization that began to make bread fairly similar to us. Utensils and paintings from
the Egyptian times have been found that show how they made bread. Their "recipe" was very similar to ours,
crushing wheat until obtaining the flour, mixing with water to make the dough, letting it rest, and adding the
yeast and putting the dough into different jars of clay to achieve the desired shape: round, elongated, coneshaped. Finally they cooked the dough on hot coals to obtain bread. After all these centuries, the recipe for
making bread has not changed much, now we follow the same steps that the Egyptians invented.
The Greek and Roman civilizations continued to worship bread, in this case the gods and goddesses were
present, through legends, such as Demeter, Goddess of Agriculture in ancient Greece, or Ceres Roman
Goddess of Nature and Agriculture. This Goddess was the one that gave the name to the grain, Ceres =
cereal. The Romans loved bread so much that they included it as an indispensable food in two of their four
daily meals.
Another great civilization that used wheat until our times, are the Arabs. Unlike other civilizations, these men
and women used wheat to make other foods such as couscous.
All these people and civilizations throughout history have made bread a staple food of the Mediterranean Diet,
being essential in our meals.
The first bread made in the prehistory has evolved to the present day. Today we can find a lot of different
types and forms of bread whole-grain, with other cereals, with sunflower seeds, round, elongated, rolls ... But
the most important thing to note are the properties of wheat: It is a basic energy source for people (especially
for children and youth), it is a food rich in carbohydrates that helps us to be active throughout the day and it
contains very little fat”.
105
APPENDIX
APPENDIX 7- OLIVE OIL, WHEAT AND WINE STORIES
GRAPES AND GRAPEVINE
“The grapevine and its fruit, grapes, are a food with a long and interesting history.
Archaeologists have found that the cultivation of the grapevine began approximately in the year 3,500 BC, in
the region near the Caspian Sea (present day Iran, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, ...). From this region, the seeds
moved westward, reaching Egypt around 2,400 BC, where grape drawings have been found in tombs. The
Egyptians called it Iareret. These men and women used the grape as food and as medicine, and used it in two
ways; either to drink the juice by squeezing them or letting the grapes dry in the sun. The Egyptians were
experts in sun drying grapes.
The Phoenicians were responsible that the grapevines reached Europe and more specifically to the
Mediterranean. Around the year 600 BC they arrived to Greece, and since the Greeks strongly believed in
gods, was the god Dionysus, a very famous god among the people because he was the god of the vine,
grape, wine, theatre and celebrations, definitely the god of the feast. Later around 300 BC the grape arrived in
Rome. The Roman Empire popularized grapes throughout Europe and even Africa. The Roman god of the
vine, wine, inspiration and madness was the famous god Bacchus. From the name of Bacchus arise the
bacchanalian, and the roman celebrations with excesses of food and drink. But the Romans not only used
grapes to make wine, the famous Roman chef Apicius created recipes such as fish soufflé with grapes and
others with raisins as the main ingredient. Over the years, grapes became essential at meals and along with
wheat and olive oil became a staple food in the Mediterranean Diet.
In 1492, Christopher Columbus, on his trip that discovered America, carried a lot of raisins on his ships,
because they are a very healthy food that keeps well. It was the Spanish who introduced grapes in America.
But the grapevine has a deadly enemy. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the vineyards of Europe
were attacked by a terrible plague Phylloxera, an insect that came from America, which nearly made vineyards
disappear in all countries. Today this plague is still around, but luckily technological advances make the
damages not so severe.
A curiosity about the grape is that they have also been in space, one of the first American astronauts took dry
raisins on his space trip. Another curiosity is the tradition of eating 12 grapes on New Year's Eve, a tradition
that is celebrated in Spain and comes from the early twentieth century. In those years the grape harvest was
so good that large amounts of grapes were left over, so the farmers of that time started this tradition calling the
grapes: lucky grapes.
Today there are more than 5.000 known classes of grapes spread around the world.
Currently grapes are cultivated in warm weather regions in many parts of the world, but especially in the
Mediterranean countries like: Spain, Italy, and Greece, among others.
As mentioned before, grapes, along with olive oil and wheat are a staple in the Mediterranean Diet and its
properties are very beneficial to health. It is a natural energy source that helps us to stay healthy and strong
during the growth stage, it is a fruit that helps to clean the stomach and intestines and helps to go to bathroom,
and also helps to have a healthy body when you are older”.
106
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