Celebrate a World of Flavors

Emily B, Lifestyle Consultant

During National Nutrition Month, It’s the Perfect Time to Try a New Dish!

It doesn’t matter where in the world you’re from, everyone must eat. The foods we eat are often influenced by our family’s history and culture. We can habitually get in a routine of eating the same types of food that we know we like and not think about trying something different. Enjoying different flavors of the world is a chance to learn more about food cultures that may be new to you. New flavors may also be a fun way to present familiar ingredients you already know and love. Many diverse cuisines offer dishes that increase the variety of nutritious foods from all the food groups. Have some fun with your food dishes and embrace global cultures and cuisines! Here are a few ways how you can personalize your plate:

Vary your breakfast (or first meal of the day)

Unique options are available, even if time is limited! Try besan cheela which is an Asian Indian dish that consists of savory pancakes made with chickpea flour and vegetables along with tomatoes, spinach, and a cooked egg on the side. Another dish to try originates from Middle Eastern cuisine which is zaatar mixed with a little olive oil and spread on whole wheat pita bread topped with tomato slices, olives, cucumber and mint.1 If time is of the essence try a smoothie with low-fat yogurt and tropical fruits like papaya or mango.1 If you are already set on what you like for breakfast maybe try something different for a snack or dinner time!

Choose snacks that include foods from different cuisines

You may have already tried hummus, but there is a different take on hummus called baba ganouj. This is a creamy dip made from roasted and pureed eggplant rather than chickpeas.1 Raw veggies with tzatziki which is a creamy yogurt-based dressing made with cucumbers, garlic and dill is another option!1

Choose healthful recipes to make for dinner based on other cultures

A Filipino dinner dish called Pinkabet is a vegetable stew with long beans, bitter melon, eggplant, squash, and okra served with whole grain noodles.1 This dish might sound familiar but have a couple of ingredients you normally wouldn’t use. Ropa vieja is a Latin dish consisting of shredded beef in a spicy tomato sauce with rice, black beans, collard greens and avocado.1 There are so many exciting dishes to try as a family or with your partner!

Research new foods and cook recipes as a family

New cuisines come with different ingredients and appearances which may make your children or partner a little nervous to try them. Pick an area of the world and sit down together to search online for recipes from that region. When you all agree upon a recipe or two, make it a plan that you will cook that meal together. Typically, those that are involved in the cooking process will have more of an open mind when trying the meal.

Host an “Around the World” dinner with family and friends

New cultures and cuisines can often be found right around the corner. If you have friends or neighbors from a different culture, give them a call and ask for a recipe to one of their favorite dishes.2 Even better, invite people over to enjoy the dishes together! That way you can all learn from one another and form another connection.

Trying foods from different cultures is beneficial in several ways. You can learn about cultures and food traditions that you didn’t know before. You can also create a sense of community and foster deeper connections with people. Not to mention you might find a new cuisine you really enjoy! During National Nutrition Month this month make it a goal to try a new recipe from a culture other than your own!

Resources

  1. “National Nutrition Month Toolkit.” EatRight, https://www.eatright.org/food/resources/national-nutrition-month/toolkit.
  2. “Using Food to Introduce Children to New Cultures – San-j.” San, 16 Jan. 2021, https://san-j.com/blog/using-food-to-introduce-children-to-new-cultures/.