Cretan diet: recipes and tips to lose weight


 The Cretan diet, also called Mediterranean, is inspired by the diet of the inhabitants of Crete. A slimming method that makes you lose weight while taking care of your health. Recipes and tips to get started.

It all began with a study carried out in the 1950s by an American nutritionist who found that life expectancy was longer among Cretans than among the rest of Europeans. This is thanks to eating habits that reduce cardiovascular events and cholesterol. By adopting the diet of a Cretan, you can lose up to one kilo per week, thanks to a low calorie consumption estimated at about 1,900 per day. But this without starving you. Indeed, the Cretan or Mediterranean diet mixes fish, cereals, vegetables, lean meats and eggs. In addition, fats and salt are replaced by lemon and aromatics to give taste to dishes. Olive oil is, of course, an integral part of this balanced diet. Cooking is also fundamental. Prefer dishes cooked in the stew or in the oven.

Cretan diet: recipes and tips to lose weight

How to make the Cretan diet?

'When eating Cretan, it is necessary to consume fish three to four times a week' On the seasoning side, olive oil, lemon and herbs are constantly used and do not lack flavors. They happily replace fat and excessive salt use, which promote water retention. Cooking is also one of the founding pillars of the diet: in the smother or in the oven, food is not attacked by saturated fats and thus releases all its flavors. Take a market basket under your arm and set off without delay to discover the light flavors of the Mediterranean.

What to eat when following the Cretan or Mediterranean diet?


When following the Cretan diet, it is necessary to consume three to four times a week fish (cod, swordfish, salmon, sardines, mackerel, etc.), seafood or molluscs (octopus, cuttlefish, squid ...). Provided with omega 3, they contain fats that are excellent for the heart and bones.

Meats: poultry and eggs

Meat consumption at the rate of two to three times a week is necessary. However, we should not hear chops, cold cuts, roast, duck and other festivities saturated with bad fats. Only poultry are advised, such as turkey, chicken, rabbit, etc. As for eggs, they can replace the daily intake of meat or fish.

Fruits and vegetables

Consumed in large quantities by the Cretans, fruits and vegetables are sources of vitamins, fiber and antioxidants. They can be cooked or raw and are to be consumed according to the seasons. In the list of vegetables to welcome on his plate are artichoke, tomato, salad, garlic, cucumber, eggplant and all vegetables rich in vitamins. For fruits, we find apricots, dates, figs or citrus fruits... That can be consumed for dessert or outside of meals.

Almonds, cashews and hazelnuts are mineral treasures and offer the advantage, consumed in small quantities, of providing the body with essential omega 3 fatty acids.

Cereals, breads and starches

Contrary to popular belief, starchy foods are not prohibited if they are consumed as part of a supervised diet. Magnesium and vitamin B9 are present in the cereals, breads and starchy foods that make up the Cretan diet. Essential for the proper functioning of muscles, organs and brain, they are rich in nutrition-protectors.

Vegetable oils

Used for both cooking and seasoning, olive oil is rich in vitamin E and unsaturated fatty acids. The Cretan diet favors olive, peanut or rapeseed oils, because they are provided with monounsaturated fatty acids like walnut, soybean or rapeseed oils rich in omega 3. Be careful with quantities.

My shopping list

  • Groceries: green tea, coffee, eggs, fresh goat, yogurt 0% fat, honey, fig jam, aromatic herbs, bulgur, coriander, olive oil, feta, pistachios, quinoa. 
  • Fruits and vegetables: banana, apricot, tomato, cucumber, cherry, avocado, fennel, kiwi, endive, fig, pineapple, mango, lemon, anise, peach, purslane, rhubarb, mint, eggplant, walnuts, onion, artichoke, black grape, grapefruit, pepper
  • Meat: a slice of chicken, a slice of turkey, a rabbit's leg, a lamb rib
  • Fish: 150 g prawns, 100 g mullet, 300 g pink shrimp, sea bream fillet, salmon fillet, sardine fillet, 2 smoked herring fillets
  • Bakery: cereal, bread, gingerbread
  • Drinks: still water, 1 to 2 glasses of red wine per day.

A week of menus to follow the Cretan diet

Breakfast is essential, it is a question of guaranteeing your body a maximum of slow sugars but also vitamins. The ideal is to combine bread with cereals, rich in fiber and energy, and the vitamins present in fruits. 


Breakfast: tea or coffee, 2 slices of cereal bread, lean yogurt, banana

Lunch: a tomato tartare, 4 prawns, cucumber portion, a handful of cherries

Dinner: a crab avocado, a slice of chicken, a serving of steamed fennel, a kiwi


Breakfast: green tea or coffee, a slice of cereal bread, lean yogurt, half a mango

Lunch: a salad of endives with nuts, a mullet with aromatic herbs, 2 figs with honey

Dinner: a bulgur with coriande, a warm tomato with goat, a pineapple salad

"The meal is the moment of conviviality par excellence," says Dr. Jacques Fricker. The pleasure of cooking good things is essential to feel in harmony with this new way of eating.


Breakfast: green tea or coffee, honeyed yogurt with nuts, a slice of cereal bread, 2 apricots

Lunch: a cucumber and mango salad, a slice of chicken with lemon, 2 olive rolls, a peach granite

Dinner: an eggplant stuffed with tomatoes and onions, a portion of fresh goat, a slice of watermelon

The texture of the foods present in Cretan cuisine alternates crunch (raw or lightly cooked) and firmness such as bread, nuts, pasta cooked al dente... Which promotes taste pleasure!


Breakfast: green tea or coffee, a grapefruit juice, a slice of cereal bread, a banana

Lunch: a tomato-feta salad, an eggplant gratin, a portion of shrimp, a rhubarb compote

Dinner: a cucumber soup with mint, a slice of turkey, a lean yogurt with nuts

Fruits and vegetables are essential in the Cretan diet. They provide fiber and vitamins and are excellent for health. They must be consumed very regularly, at every meal. Jacques Fricker specifies that it is important to consume at least one vegetable at each of the two main meals.


Breakfast: green tea or coffee, a slice of cereal; bread, a lean yogurt fig jam, a citrus juice

Lunch: a purslane salad, a rabbit paupiette with goat and mint, peaches with pistachios

Dinner: an artichoke, a sea bream, an eggplant puree, a bunch of black grapes

Preparing meals is simple. The pleasure of tasting lies in the combinations of fresh products, not in the sauces or the cooking method.


Breakfast: green tea or coffee, a grapefruit, 2 slices of gingerbread, a lean yogurt

Lunch: a salmon in papillote, a tomato gratin, a tomato gratin, 

Dinner: fettucines with peppers, hard-boiled egg, citrus carpaccio

Fish is one of the pillars of the Cretan diet. It is often prepared in papillote, or steamed, cooked with the skin and removed after cooking. Olive oil added later.


Breakfast: green tea or coffee, 2 cereal, rolls, a serving of fig jam, a grapefruit juice

Lunch: a quinoa salad, a portion of beef, a portion of eggplant jam, a kiwi

Dinner: a portion of ratatouille, a grilled sardine, a lemon granite

Seasonal fruits are preferred at least twice a day, for an impromptu snack or as a dessert

Sources: Jacques Fricker is a nutritionist at Bichat Hospital and is the author of numerous books on diet, dietetics and fitness. He co-authored with Dominique Laty Crétois Diet, Bienfaits et Délices published by Hachette (2000) and Maigrir vite it has been by Odile Jacob (2010).