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

Where Americans Stand Nutritionally

New research shows that Americans are not reaching the nutritional recommendations overall, however some groups are better than others.

Researchers said that children and the elderly seemed to eat a healthier diet than younger and middle-aged adults, and women had a better diet than men. Hispanics also tended to have better quality diets than either blacks or whites.

“Regardless of socioeconomic status, age, race and education, the American diet as a whole needs to be improved,” said the study’s lead author Hazel Hiza, of the USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) in Alexandria, Virginia.

Hispanic children were getting closer to the recommended amounts of fruit and vegetables compared to white children, and closer to the recommended amount of fruit compared to black children. The researchers say that children from poor families were meeting more of the USDA dietary recommendations than wealthy children in several food groups, which is possibly due to the low-income families’ participation in the National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs.

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For more information:,0,2683588.story By Andrew M. SeamanReuters

Eat Right When Money’s tight

USDA’s Nutrition Assistance Program: Eat Right When Money’s Tight. This PDF gives good tips on how to budget your food planning.

Some tips:

  • Know how much money you have to spend on food
  • Make a shopping list based on the money you have to spend
  • Buy only amounts of fresh foods you can use before they spoil
  • Consider frozen or shelf stable items that last longer
  • Before going to the grocery store, check what foods you have already: What meals and recipes can you make with the foods on hand already?

Before shopping:

  • Make a shopping list to help you stay within budget
  • Plan your meals– use leftovers if you have to!
  • Look for coupons, sales, specials
  • Sign up for the stores discount card

During shopping:

  • Don’t shop when you are hungry
  • Try store brand items– they usually cost less
  • Compare products for the best deal
  • Check the selling dates and choose the freshest possible

After shopping:

  • Store food right away
  • Freeze any frozen food to prevent spoiling
  • Use foods with the earliest expiration date first!

Breads and Grains :

  • Look for bargains on day old bread, it costs less but is still nutritious
  • Buy regular rice and oatmeal instead of instant to save on money, sugar and calories

Vegetables and Salad:

  • Buy large bags of frozen vegetables
  • Avoid pre-bagged salads. They are usually more expensive and spoil faster


  • The cheapest fruits are the ones that are in season
  • Frozen and canned fruits are a good choice all year

Low fat dairy:

  • Buy in the largest size that can be used before spoiling. The bigger, the cheapest

Meat and Beans:

  • Dried beans and peas are a good source of fiber and last a long time
  • Chuck or bottom round roast has less fat and cheaper than sirloin
  • Buy meat on sale for big savings

For more information: