The Produce Moms Podcast
Episode 51: Nutritional Trends in Hispanic Cuisine with Sylvia Klinger
“Food is one of the main things that glue our communities together, and the Latinos take that concept to a whole new level.” – Sylvia Klinger (5:46 – 5:53)
Sylvia Klinger is a registered dietician (RD), the Founder of HispanicNutrition.com, and an industry thought leader when it comes to Hispanic nutrition. Listen to this week’s episode of The Produce Moms Podcast with Sylvia Klinger to learn more about the fresh produce consumption trends in the Latino community.
How Cultural Influences Affect Nutrition in the Hispanic Community
We all have different needs when it comes to nutrition. Our culture, family and friends often play a significant role in what we eat on a regular basis. Sharing meals is one of the primary ways we connect to those around us. This is especially true in the Hispanic community. Food is central to every celebration in the Latino community whether its a wedding, graduation party, or another one of their many fabulous festivities.
The rich food culture doesn’t come without its challenges. Some of the most popular dishes in the Latino communities, while incredibly delicious, can be lacking in nutritional quality. They are often deep-fried and processed foods. Also, they may not contain an adequate amount of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are an essential element of a well-balanced diet. The key is to come up with ways to continue enjoying the cultural aspect of food without sacrificing nutritional requirements.
“Nielsen shopper data tells us that the Hispanic community is filling their grocery basket with more fresh produce than other shopper demographics.” – Lori Taylor (8:15 – 8:34)
There are, however, some positive trends. According to Nielsen shopper data, the Hispanic community is buying more fresh produce at the store when compared to other demographics. One of the reasons for this trend might be the fact that Hispanic shoppers often buy food to cook for the entire family, which could be eight to ten people. While the statistics are encouraging, there are still some challenges when it comes to enhancing the nutritional quality of the Hispanic cuisine.
The Barriers to Increasing Nutritional Quality in Hispanic Cuisine
Lack of Variety – As human beings, we are creatures of habit. Consequently, we often end up eating the same things repeatedly. And the Latino community is no different. When it comes to fresh produce consumption, they might only eat a couple of items on a regular basis. However, it’s more beneficial to consume a variety of fresh fruits and veggies to get a wide range of healthy nutrients.
Large Portions – With Hispanic food being as delicious as it is, overeating can be a natural by-product. Also, in the Latino community, it is customary to finish the entire plate. This is especially true in a fun, social setting with friends and family. But that can lead to a variety of health conditions like cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, among others.
Preparation Methods – Another nutritional challenge facing Hispanic cuisine is that a lot of their most popular preparations are deep-fried, sugary or contain processed foods. Nutritionists within the Latino community are looking for ways they can transition eating habits. One way is for them to switch to a diet more abundant in fresh produce.
Quick and Easy Tips to Improve Nutrition in Hispanic Cuisine
There are a few easy changes that can be made to honor a rich tradition of Hispanic cuisine, while still promoting a healthy lifestyle.
Add More Veggies – No matter what meal, there are always opportunities to add more fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. Make a vegetable smoothie for an energy-boosting breakfast. Or add some leafy greens to your soup for lunch. You can also get creative. Make some delicious snacks with jicamas, avocados or other everyday Hispanic cuisine items.
Make Smaller Portions – Instead of cooking in a large tray, prepare smaller portions. Then serve them in little containers. This is especially helpful when it comes to the indulgent menu items in most Hispanic cuisines.
Explain the Benefits – If your family is reluctant to eat more fruits and vegetables, help them learn about the specific benefits of eating a particular produce item. For example, you can tell them how eating berries or leafy greens will boost collagen production, and how great their skin will look because of it.
Make it Enjoyable – Eating an orange can become an experience. Learn to enjoy the aroma as you’re peeling the skin. Take in the bright color. The goal is to associate fun with eating fresh produce. This tip can be especially helpful when teaching kids to appreciate fruits and vegetables.
“As a nutritionist, my goal is to wow people with fruits and vegetables. I want to make sure that the food they want to eat the most is also the healthiest for them.” – Sylvia Klinger (17:34 – 17:46)
The Hispanic community isn’t the only one that could benefit from better nutrition. It is estimated that around 90% of Americans don’t get an adequate amount of fresh fruits and vegetables regularly. And it’s contributing to a variety of health conditions in our country. So, regardless of whether you’re a part of the Hispanic community or not, just remember to add more fresh produce items to your shopping bag next time you’re at the store.
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Food is Culture...And in Episode 51 of #TheProduceMoms #Podcast, award-winning author and global nutrition entrepreneur @sklingerrd talks #Nutrition and #HispanicCulture. Click To Tweet