Four Basic Guidelines to the Mediterranean Diet: Plus a recipe for Greek Chicken

April 7, 2017

Recipe for Greek Chicken by Providence Healthy Living

By Kay MacInnis, Registered Dietitian

The “Mediterranean diet” is a broad concept based on the food habits of many cultures around the Mediterranean sea.

They don’t all eat the same things, of course, but there are some commonalities that can make a difference in lowering cholesterol and triglycerides levels and improve blood pressure. Research has shown that 30% of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from heart disease can be prevented in high-risk people if they follow a Mediterranean-style eating pattern – that’s according to the National Lipid Association.

Here are the basics:

  • Eat: Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, breads, herbs, spices, fish, seafood and extra virgin olive oil.
  • Eat in Moderation: Poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt.
  • Eat Only Rarely: Red meat.
  • Don't Eat: Sugar-sweetened beverages, added sugars, processed meat, refined grains, refined oils and other highly processed foods.

Try this version of Greek chicken. You could also use dried herbs instead of fresh if you have them available – but be sure to decrease the measurements to 1 tsp.

Greek Chicken


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • Lemon zest
  • Pepper to taste
  • 4 chicken breasts, skinless


  • In a glass dish, mix the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, oregano and lemon juice.
  • Place the chicken in the mixture, cover and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, thyme, rosemary and oregano in large plastic food storage bag.
  • Pierce chicken with fork several times.
  • Add chicken to bag and coat with dressing; marinate 20 minutes.
  • Discard the marinade.
  • Remove chicken from bag and cook in a grill pan over medium-high heat – cook chicken pieces up to 15 minutes per side, or until juices run clear.

Nutrition Information: 184 Calories, 8.2 grams fat, 66 mg. cholesterol, 74 mg. sodium, 0 grams carbohydrate and 26 grams protein.


This is another in a weekly series of healthy recipes from Kay MacInnis, registered dietitian at Providence Health in Columbia, S.C.

Kay promotes health and wellness, helping cardiac and diabetes patients eat their way to healthier lives. She works in consultation with the trained chefs at Providence, combining her nutrition knowledge with their food prep know-how to create delicious, healthy dishes for patients and the public. She also conducts a number of health and wellness events for the public, including the monthly Providence Cooks! classes.

"She doesn't just give you the fish, she teaches you how to cook it."

 – a Kay MacInnis fan and Providence Cooks! regular.