Healthy Eating Patterns For Different Cultures

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans calls for a healthy eating pattern that accommodates cultural, ethnic, traditional and personal preferences, food cost and availability, here are some examples:

Chinese: Stir-fried chicken and vegetables such as bok choy, snap peas, carrots and bean sprouts; brown rice and lychee fruit.

Italian: Minestrone with kidney beans for folate, fiber and protein; gnocchi with chopped vegetables such as spinach mixed into the dough, served with lycopene-rich tomato sauce.

Greek: Tzatziki sauce (low-fat yogurt, garlic and cucumber) served on pita sandwiches or as a dip with vegetables; and dolmas (grape leaves stuffed with ground meat, vegetables, rice, dried fruit and pine nuts).

Mexican: Jicama, peeled and sliced served on a salad with lime vinaigrette or chopped in salsa; gazpacho made with spinach or cucumbers.

Indian, Middle Eastern: Naan bread, fruit chutney, stir-fried greens or grilled pineapple as part of a chicken shish kabob.

Lifestyle Eating

Career: Keep single-serve packages of crackers, fruit, peanut butter, low-sodium soup or canned tuna in your desk; granola bars, peanut butter and crackers, fresh fruit and trail mix for eating on the run.

Athletes: Eat a light breakfast or snack before exercising, such as low-fat yogurt, graham crackers with peanut butter, a banana or cereal with low-fat milk.

Students: Combines protein and carbohydrates such as apples with peanut butter, carrots with hummus, hardboiled eggs and fruit, banana and yogurt, almonds with low-fat cheese. At the cafeteria, choose salads, but go easy on cheese, bacon, creamy dressings and high-calorie add-ons.

Families: Get the kids involved with a simple collection of quick and easy family favorites, featuring ingredients to be used for more than one meal — cook extra grilled chicken for chicken salad or fajitas.

Vegetarian: Nutrient-rich beans are perfect in a vegetarian chili. Try a hummus-filled pita sandwich or veggie burger, pasta primavera, veggie pizza and tofu-vegetable stir-fry.


Sources: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at and, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate at and 2010 Dietary Guidelines at


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