The Best Gift for Mother’s Day? Help Mom Live a Long, Healthy  Life with the Mediterranean Diet (and These Delicious Recipes)

By Amy Riolo

May is Mediterranean Diet Month, and with Mother’s Day just around the corner, most of us are busy planning the perfect present for Mom. The usual gifts of flowers and cards are nice ideas, but the greatest gift you could give your mother is helping her achieve lasting health.

The best way to show love to your mother on Mother’s Day is by making a meaningful contribution to her life. Let your mom know that you love her, and that’s why you want her to live a long, healthy, and happy life. Introducing her to the healthful and delicious dishes from the Mediterranean region is a great way to do just that.

You’ve likely heard of the Mediterranean diet, which was recently named best overall diet of 2019 and has been shown to help extend your lifespan by roughly a decade. This eating pattern has also been linked to preventing heart attacks, strokes, certain cancers, and diabetes, and reducing inflammation. It may even help lower your risk of dementia by a third.

The Mediterranean eating pattern centers around seasonal produce, fish and seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy, and small amounts of meat and sweets. Part of what makes this diet so successful is that people in the Mediterranean region consider food to be a friend and ally—a source of pleasure, nutrition, history, medicine, and tradition. When combined with lifestyle choices like communal eating and physical activity, the Mediterranean diet is believed to contribute to remarkable longevity in the region. For example, residents in Sardinia are ten times more likely to live past 100 than people in the United States.

Mother’s Day is the perfect time to help your mother make the lifestyle changes that can give her a longer and more joyful life. Read on for two ways you can celebrate your love for your mom and help her start living a healthier life.

Prepare a delicious Mediterranean-style Mother’s Day lunch. Show Mom how much you love her by preparing her a special Mother’s Day meal. Offering a lunch that features delicious and healthy Mediterranean-inspired dishes is the perfect way to celebrate with your mom and the rest of your family. Not only is this a great time to enjoy healthy food, it’s also a chance to reap the benefits of communal eating, a long-upheld tradition in Mediterranean communities. Sharing a table and enjoying camaraderie with loved ones provides a sense of comfort, security, and stability. Below you’ll find a tempting lunch menu.

Help her stock a healthy Mediterranean pantry. A well-stocked pantry saves time, money, and stress, and makes it easy to eat more healthy meals. With a full Mediterranean pantry in place, Mom can whip up fresh and delicious dishes in just minutes. For Mother’s Day, treat her to a shopping trip and stock her pantry with the basics she’ll need to continue cooking healthy meals.

Ready to start planning an unforgettable Mother’s Day feast? Read on for two healthy dishes to share with Mom and the rest of your family.

Swordfish Alla Ghiotta


Serves: 4 | Serving Size: 1 Fillet | Prep Time: 5 Minutes | Cook Time: 25 Minutes

This is one of my favorite recipes to teach. I first printed it in my Italian Diabetes Cookbook. Since swordfish is not always stocked in American supermarkets, it’s a good idea to call ahead to find out when a shipment will be arriving and place an order. Pumpkin swordfish, tuna, haddock, and cod can all be substituted for swordfish when making this recipe. The swordfish also tastes great grilled with the sauce spooned over the top.

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium stalks celery, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups boxed no-salt-added chopped tomatoes, or canned no-salt-added petite diced tomatoes

3 Tbsp freshly chopped basil

1/8 tsp unrefined sea salt

1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Dash crushed red pepper

2 Tbsp capers, rinsed and well drained

1/4 cup green olives (such as Sicilian Colossal or

Cerignola), rinsed, drained, pitted, and roughly chopped

4 (1/4-lb) boneless swordfish fillets

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add celery and sauté until tender, approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook until it releases its aroma, but do not let garlic turn brown.

Stir in chopped tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, capers, and olives. Mix well to combine, and cover. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.

Carefully remove lid from tomato sauce and add swordfish fillets into simmering sauce. Cover and cook for 10–15 minutes or until fish is cooked through.

Transfer fish to a serving platter, top with sauce, and serve.



2 Nonstarchy Vegetable, 3 Lean Protein, 1 Fat

Calories 210

Calories from fat 80

Total fat 9.0 g

Saturated fat 1.9 g

Trans fat 0.0 g

MangoMiSu (Mango Tiramisu)


Serves: 8 | Serving Size ½ Cup |

Prep Time: 5 Minutes, Plus at Least 6 Hours Chilling Time | Cook Time: None

The rich, indulgent flavors of traditional tiramisu are reserved for special occasions in Italy. This version combines yogurt, mango, and cooling cardamom for a light, uplifting treat that is perfect for a healthy indulgence any time of year. Keep in mind that the MangoMiSu needs to set for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight. Peaches and pineapple also work well in this recipe.

12 BelVita breakfast biscuits, golden oat

16 oz fresh mango cubes, or frozen and thawed, divided

2 Tbsp light agave nectar

1 tsp cardamom

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups fat-free organic vanilla yogurt, divided

1/2 cup strawberries

8 fresh mint sprigs

Line the bottom of an 8-inch wide bowl with 4–6 biscuits, making an even layer. (You may need to break a few to get them to fit.)

Purée 8 oz mango cubes by placing them in a food processor and processing until liquid. Using a spatula, remove from food processor. Add agave nectar, cardamom, and vanilla to mango purée.

Pour or spoon half of the mango purée over the biscuits. Spoon 1 cup of yogurt over mango purée evenly. Scatter remaining mango cubes over the yogurt, reserving 1 Tbsp for garnish. Sprinkle the strawberries over the mangoes, and top the fruit with remaining 6–8 biscuits.

Pour remaining half of mango purée over the biscuits. Top with remaining yogurt, and smooth out to cover surface. Scatter remaining 1 Tbsp mango cubes over the top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 6 hours or overnight or until set.

Serve 1/2-cup portions in small dessert cups. (Alternative plating idea: To plate as 8 individual servings rather than using a large bowl, simply layer 1/8 of each ingredient in a glass dessert dish or wine glass.) Garnish each serving with a mint sprig.



2 Carbohydrate, ½ Fat

Calories 170

Calories from fat 30

Total fat 3.5 g

Saturated fat 0.3 g

Trans fat 0.0 g

Cholesterol 0 mg

Sodium 110 mg

Potassium 230 mg

Total carbohydrate 31 g

Dietary fiber 2 g

Sugars 19 g

Protein 4 g

Phosphorus 85 mg

Getting healthy and staying that way means adopting a lifestyle that allows you to enjoy more nutritious homecooked meals and share them with the ones you love. There’s no better time than Mother’s Day to help your mom make a commitment to eat fresh and delicious foods that will keep her healthy and well for years to come. For more recipes like these, visit our website at:

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