• Dietitian Sheela Prakash follows the Mediterranean diet for flexible healthy eating.
  • Her grocery list includes leafy greens, lemons, beans, and farro for nutritious, flavorful meals.
  • The eating style, rich in healthy fats, whole grains, and fiber, is linked to longevity.

The Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest ways to eat — and you can follow it with staples from your local grocery store, a registered dietitian explained.

Sheela Prakash, a dietitian, food writer, and author of "Mediterranean Every Day: Simple, Inspired Recipes for Feel-Good Food," developed an interest in the Mediterranean lifestyle while studying Italy, and now swears by the simple, wholesome, and flavorful eating style.

"They're not just eating giant bowls of pasta all the time. They're incorporating vegetables at every meal. The portions are smaller, they're consuming a lot of fish, healthy fats, olive oil, and honey. They're eating well and they're enjoying their food," she told Business Insider. "It's not just about eating the food, it's the enjoyment of the food."

Prakash shared her typical grocery list for creating nutritious, delicious meals with staples like leafy greens, fresh citrus, and whole grains.

Pre-washed salad greens for vitamin K

Prakash said she starts every grocery trip with a major focus on the produce section, loading up on seasonal veggies.

One of her main shopping trip staples is leafy greens, particularly pre-washed salad greens which add a convenient, healthy side to any meal.

"I don't have to prep it, I don't have to cook it. There's no excuse not to have a vegetable with my dinner or with my lunch when I have salad greens" she said.

Greens are rich in vitamins like vitamin K, minerals like calcium and iron, and antioxidants, which are linked to benefits like protecting your brain as you age.

Go-to recipe: Toss the greens in a bowl with a simple vinaigrette and enjoy!

Lemons enhance the flavor in your meals, and add nutrients

Before leaving the produce aisle, Prakash said she stocks up on lemons to add brightness and complexity to a variety of dishes.

"It's a versatile ingredient that I can use to make my food taste delicious," she said.

Adding acidity to vegetables can help amp up the flavor and bring savory umami notes to a dish, making a nutrient-dense, delicious meal without meat (eaten in moderation on the Mediterranean diet). The extra zip in your meals can help you feel satisfied after eating without needing to rely on processed or packages ingredients or added salt or sugars.

Lemons are also a good source of vitamin C, which supports a healthy immune system.

Go-to recipe: Make a vinaigrette by combining with olive oil and a little honey.

Canned beans are a great source of protein and fiber

Moving on to the shelf-stable aisle of the grocery store, Prakash said beans of all kinds are in regular rotation in her kitchen, both canned and dried varieties.

"Any bean is a good bean. They can instantly just add protein to your dinner and fiber, and they're always a savior to me at lunch," she said.

Beans have even been called a longevity superfood, as they're commonly eaten in areas of the world where people are most likely to live to 100 (or even older).

In the short-term, eating more beans has benefits like keeping your digestion healthy and helping you feel full for longer after eating.

Go-to recipe: Pop open a can of chickpeas or white beans and mix up with any leftover veggies, sauces, or dressing for a quick, healthy meal.

Farro is a satisfying whole grain with depth of flavor

Rounding out the pantry essentials, Prakash said she often reaches for healthy carbohydrates in the form of farro, an Italian grain.

"I just love the texture of it, it's really nutty, and it's very satisfying to eat. It fills you up," she said.

It can be used in recipes that call for rice or pasta, such as anchoring a lean protein source like chicken, particularly saucy dishes so the grains can absorb all that flavor.

Unlike more refined grains like white rice, farro is packed with nutrients like protein, fiber, B-vitamins, and magnesium.

Go-to recipe: Cook it like you would pasta in a large pot of salted water, then make a Mediterranean grain salad with feta, cucumbers, and tomatoes.

Read the original article on Business Insider