Lots of colorful vegetables and herbs go into preparing a delicious Mediterranean meal.

Healthy Cooking: Preparing the Perfect Mediterranean Picnic

There’s a reason so many cookbooks and diets focus on the Mediterranean diet – it’s one of the healthiest cuisines in the world, and one of the most delicious, too. Based on the traditional eating habits of people in Italy, Greece, Spain, and other countries that border the Mediterranean Sea, this cuisine features fresh seafood, fruits, vegetables, and lots of beans, legumes, and nuts, with a very small amount of meat. Another reason for the health benefits of Mediterranean cuisine: The use of olive oil in place of butter in place of unhealthy saturated fats, and herbs and spices in place of salt.

Luckily, it’s not hard to learn how to cook Mediterranean food – join us for the June Thrive Kitchen class, and we’ll do it together! Even better, our menu will include foods that can be prepared in advance and served outdoors for the perfect summer picnic.

Thrive Kitchen classes take place at Kaiser Permanente Mission Bay and are open to all. Fees are $30 for Kaiser Permanente members and $40 for non-members and include a hands-on cooking class, take-home recipes, nutrition discussion and the meal we’ll cook together. Registration is now open; call (415) 833-3450 or email SFHealthEd@kp.org to secure your spot!

To learn more about my cooking and my Thrive Kitchen classes, visit my Facebook page, The Doctor’s Spicebox, where I announce upcoming events. For more recipes and healthy cooking ideas, check out my blog, Spicebox Travels. Also check out my recipes for  Kaiser Permanente’s Food for Health blog, a repository for all sorts of great cooking and meal planning ideas.

Melanie Haiken writes about health, wellness and fitness for national magazines and websites. She specializes in discovering and reporting the latest research on diet, nutrition, fitness, weight loss and other health-related topics. Her award-winning stories have appeared in Fitness, Shape, Health, Forbes, and other respected magazines. She also contributes health stories to numerous Kaiser Permanente newsletters and other publications.