Tuesday, March 08, 2022

Enjoying different flavors of the world is a chance to learn more about your own food culture as well as those that may be new to you. Trying foods and recipes from various cultures is one way to include different flavors into your healthy eating routine. Many cuisines offer dishes which include foods from each food group, so it’s possible to plan meals that are nutritious, well-balanced, and bursting with flavor. Trying new flavors and foods from around the world can also help you increase the variety in the foods you eat. Choosing a variety of nutritious foods from all of the food groups (fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and protein foods) and in the recommended amounts will help you get the nutrients that are needed for good health. Incorporate your favorite cultural foods and traditions, as you “Celebrate a World of Flavors” during National Nutrition Month® and throughout the year.

These are a few ways to embrace global cultures and cuisines when planning your meals and snacks:

Vary your breakfast (or first meal of the day) to include favorites from around the world.

Healthful options are available, even if time is limited. These are just a few examples for on-the-go or when more time is allowed for eating.

  • A smoothie with low-fat yogurt or buttermilk and tropical fruits, like papaya or mango.
  • Scottish oatmeal or bulgur with low-fat or fat-free milk or fortified soymilk with a topping of fruit and nuts or nut butter.
  • A Spanish omelet with potatoes and other veggies, topped with a sprinkle of cheese. Or, an omelet filled with fried rice, known as omurice in Japan.

Choose healthful recipes to make during the week based on other cultures. Think seasonally when it comes to ingredients, as well as the temperature of dishes.

In hot weather, consider popular dishes from around the world that don’t require heating. Seasonal produce can also inspire your meals. Try different fruits and vegetables depending on what’s in season. For additional variety, choose ingredients with different textures and colors, such as:

  • Salads that include different types of produce along with whole grains, dairy, and protein foods. Many options exist, such as tuna salad made with Greek yogurt, onion, celery and whole wheat pasta.
  • Munggo gisado is a stew native to the Philippines, featuring mung beans, leafy greens and seafood.
  • A spicy lentil and vegetable stew, known as Sambar, originates from India.
  • Da pan ji is an example of a Chinese stew made with chicken, potatoes, ginger, and garlic.
  • Mahshi is an example of a Middle Eastern dish, made of zucchini stuffed with cooked rice, lamb and spices served in a tomato-based sauce.

Choose healthier snacks that include foods from different food groups, such as:

  • Fruit chutney eaten with bread or cheese.
  • Raw veggies with hummus or tzatziki, which is a creamy yogurt-based dressing made with cucumbers, garlic, and dill.
  • Baba ganouj, a mixture made of roasted eggplant and tahini, which is a sesame seed paste, served with whole wheat pita bread.
  • Or, for a crunchier snack whole grain tortilla chips with guacamole or a salsa made with veggies or fruit.

Other ways to explore different ethnic cuisine:

  • Try various ethnic restaurants
  • Browse the ethnic aisle at the grocery store
  • Participate in food festivals offering various ethnic foods
  • Ask a friend/colleague for ethnic food recommendations and/or recipes
  • Take a cooking class or browse food channels for tips on creating ethnic cuisine
  • Incorporate different spices to change the flavor of your meals/snacks

AgeGuide plans to “celebrate a world of flavors” by partnering with ethnic caterers to expand culturally diverse options across the eight-county region. The main goal is to expand access to meal options to address medical needs and/or cultural/ethnic diet options.

If you would like more information on the home delivered meals or community dining program in your community, visit https://ageguide.org/senior-nutrition-programs/

Visit https://www.eatright.org/food/resources/national-nutrition-month/toolkit for additional food and nutrition information, games/activities, and handouts. This information is offered in various languages.

Authored by Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics staff registered dietitian nutritionists.


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