New Study Finds Mediterranean Diet Highly Beneficial -- Here's How to Get Started

Oven-steamed halibut"Eat less meat." That was one of my resolutions for 2013, and so far, I've kept it. (Yes, that statement gives me a lot of leeway, but it's a start.) And with the recently released study reinforcing the heart-healthy benefits of the Mediterranean diet (less red meat, lots more fish, veggies, fruits, nuts, and olive oil) I feel like I have a new-found impetus to keep it up.

I have plenty of company: From the families, schools, corporations, and chefs across the country who are supporting the Meatless Monday campaign, to those who've decided to embrace a vegetarian, or even vegan, diet, piling on more vegetables and grains on your plate just makes sense.
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Want to join in? To start you off, here are 5 hearty, tasty, easy meatless recipes that will help to get you on the right track, and still satisfy your family.

Sweet potatoes and lentils are a natural pairing - serve over rice and you're set for dinner

Colorful and veggie packed, this ultra-fast stew gets a hint of sweetness from raisins and carrots.

This black bean picadillo will save you a trip to the grocery store-chances are you'll find most of the ingredients already in your kitchen.

Not quite ready to go all the way to vegetarian? The health benefits of eating more fish are undeniable, so hit the fish counter!

Related: How to Tell When Your Food Is Done Cooking

The recipe (pictured above), made with sustainable Alaskan halibut and served over quinoa, gets crunch and extra flavor from a tomato, cuke, and apple relish.

Salmon roasts at the same time as green beans to get dinner on the table in a little over half and hour.

Whether you decide to go meatless for just a day-or a lifetime of meals--it's an investment that pays dividends.

What are your favorite Mediterranean Diet meals? Let me know in the comments!

--By Catherine Lo

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