greek salad header

I’m a huge fan of Greek food, having been introduced to it properly during my time at Reading University. I never expected the town to be such a haven for the Greek community, but I experienced lots of wonderful Mediterranean food at lots of the parties held there.

The Greek diet is regarded as one of the healthiest in the world because it’s based largely around fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, fish, and a small amount of cheese and yoghurt.  Non-meat protein sources in the form of beans and legumes such as fava, split peas, and lentils are also a popular staple, usually used in soups, stews and salads. This array of foods looks a lot like what I regard as a healthy, balanced diet.

The Greeks are also famous for their love of olive oil, which is lower in saturated fat than butter, and therefore a good choice for cooking. If you’ll forgive some geeky science, recent evidence published by the PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) journal shows that the combination of olive oil and leafy salad or vegetables is what gives the Mediterranean diet its healthy edge, because the formation of nitro fatty acids between the two food groups lowers blood pressure. So I recommend that as a side, whatever you’re eating!

Of course, Greece’s diet isn’t perfect – according to the World Health Organisation, 33% of 11-year-old boys and girls in Greece are overweight, which is actually the highest prevalence in Europe. It’s likely down to the rise of fast food outlets in the major cities and increased access to processed food that’s high in fat, sugar and salt. Their traditional cuisine isn’t faultless, though – if you’ve ever tried saganaki, a fried hard cheese, then you’ll know it’s a wildly indulgent (but delicious) dish. A nod should also be given to tiropita, otherwise known as cheese pie.

Generally, however, there’s a lot to be said for Greek cuisine, so here are a few delicious Greek-inspired recipes. My favourite is Jamie’s twist on Greek chicken with couscous, which everyone can tuck in to and help themselves.

greek chicken and couscous

To accompany this, there’s a great recipe on for a very simple Greek salad, although the key to getting this right is to use the best olive oil you can afford for the dressing and use the ripest tomatoes you can get your hands, so to maximise the flavour!

simple greek salad

Alternatively, try something new with this beautiful Cypriot-style potato salad!

greek diet

These colourful vegetable kebabs are a fun dish for the whole family, perfect in the summer and for getting kids exciting about cooking.

greek diet

And lastly, this simple fish stew is actually a total showstopper – big on flavour, and big on nutrition, full of lovely fish and healthy herbs. Get stuck in!

greek diet



cheese, feta, grains, greek, olive oil

More news

  • Anne

    How would you compare the Greek diet to the Spanish diet?

    • World citizen

      Cannot! Greek food is by far REAL FOOD

  • Living in Greece

    For the record, Greeks in Greece do not follow the Med diet, which is
    why Greek and Italian children are the fattest in the world — look at
    the latest OECD figures, if you don’t believe me. The old generation
    does to a small extent, but everyone under 55 eats a lot of meat and
    junk, barely any vegetables and fruit. The healthiest people live on
    islands where only basics are for sale (aka, no supermarkets) and

    • Anna Pollo

      So true, here on the island (middle of Cyclades) where we live there is not a big choice of processed foods (thanks God!) and everybody has got a vegetable garden and raises animals. (or knows someone who has) So we eat lots of organic food and we don’t even think about it as organic. Going out is really expensive, especially in the tourist season, so we cook home food, and share it with others. Sometimes we forget how privileged we are that we don’t have the opportunity to eat so much junk as the rest of the world! :)

  • Elaiza

    fattest in the world are americans .

  • Petra Shia

    BEST food ever! <3 Ellada

  • leos

    Well. It is true that fast food has ruined it a bit for the younger generation but since the Cretan (aka Mediterranean) diet is generally very healthy there is no need to follow a specific diet in Greece. Our ancestors were saying “ΠΑΝ ΜΕΤΡΟΝ ΑΡΙΣΤΟΝ” meaning for everything there is a limit. Goes the same for food too. We have cheese and wine and all sorts of food but there is a limit on how much you can eat. What strikes me most is that Jamie Oliver thinks is making healthy food, he has visited Greece but only a limited places and probably has no idea about Greek foods. He needs more research.

  • pavlaki

    This idea of the ‘Greek Diet’ is mythology. Obesity is a major issue in Greece, largely because of changes of habit and lifestyle.