Some Traditional Hispanic/Latinx Foods Can Be Rich and Heavy—Are There Ways to Make These Beloved Foods Healthier?
Enjoying your family's traditional foods on occasion isn't the problem. Adopting healthier daily habits makes the difference.
Lorena Alarcon-Casas Wright, M.D., director of the LatinX Diabetes Clinic at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, talks about how to keep enjoying the best of your culture's cooking without throwing your diabetes treatment out the window.
I really like cooking because I think it is very creative, and we can always modify the traditional foods. I love traditional Mexican food and Puerto Rican food. One way to modify, for example, is to add more vegetables to everything that we cook. We can have that same dish, but we have grilled vegetables on the side and we include the grilled vegetables in it. Then the portion of what is not so healthy will be smaller. We can also substitute butter or lard with olive oil and that might still taste pretty good.
I think part of the problem is that sometimes we just don't really have a lot of time. I'm not completely sure whether our traditional foods are the culprit of the obesity and being overweight. It's true, a lot of these foods are not the healthiest, but we might not be eating that every day. Then perhaps paying attention to what we are eating every day, that are more likely to hurt us or to contribute to being overweight, like drinking sodas or juices. Those may be stronger contributors.
One of the main recommendations that I always have, is I just start by knowing what my patients are doing and then take it from there. The traditional foods and the foods that we really love, might not
necessarily be the problem. Sometimes we just eat them on special