This diet was just named the best way to eat in 2018

The bad news: It’s January, so we’re all looking for ways to be more healthful after our holiday excesses.

The good news? If we embrace the Mediterranean diet, which was just named the best overall diet for 2018 by U.S. News & World Report, it should be pretty easy to stick to.

The Mediterranean diet, rich in veggies, nuts, whole grains, fish, olive oil, poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt, hardly sounds like a chore. Although you do have to skip processed foods and sugar (sigh) and keep beef to a minimum.

But still: Chicken souvlaki!

The Mediterranean diet tied for the No. 1 spot as Best Diet Overall with the Dash Diet, which is more restrictive and aimed at preventing and lowering high blood pressure. Full-fat dairy food and salt, for example, are avoided.

The Flexitarian Diet (think: adding more plant-based meals to your diet) took the No. 3 overall spot, followed by the popular Weight Watchers at No. 4, according to the analysis of 40 popular diet plans, which took into consideration a variety of factors, including how easy the diet is to follow.

A panel of the country’s top nutritionists, dietary consultants and physicians specializing in diabetes, heart health and weight loss took part in the analysis. Because there is no single diet right for everyone, you can find more details, including the best diet for those dealing with diabetes, or looking for fast weight loss, here.

“It doesn’t surprise me,” California olive oil guru Theo Stephan said of the findings. Her newest cookbook is “Opa! The Healthy Greek Cookbook: Modern Mediterranean Recipes for Living the Good Life,” about the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, which she said is easy to follow, even for busy families.

And it’s easy on the wallet, too, said Stephan, who founded Global Gardens olive oil production in Los Olivos, and runs a popular farm stand there.

“You just go to your local farmers markets, go down the aisle and fill up your bag with a week’s worth of produce,” she said. Sauté it up with some high-quality olive oil, add a lean protein, a squeeze of lemon and a glass of red wine, and call it dinner.

“You can eat something that is fresh and delicious quicker than you can prepare something out of a box,” she said.

@ReneLynch on Twitter

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