By: Josefina Girón, RDN, LDN
March is National Nutrition Month and this year’s theme is “Celebrate A World of Flavor”.I love this theme because it helps us appreciate and understand different cultures and learn about different cuisines.
Today I am going to give you a glimpse of 5 cuisines.
1. The Mediterranean
Did you know that the Mediterranean diet has ranked #1 on the US News and World Report Diet list for over 5 years? Yes, and what makes it so special is the plant-based eating plan that includes daily intake of whole grains, olive oil, fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, herbs, and spices. Try Something New like tzatziki, sumac spice, or babaganoush.
2. The Middle East
A transcontinental region that centers on western Asia, Egypt, and Turkey. Spices that encompass the Middle East’s flavors include allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, cardamon, turmeric, sumac, and za’atar. Which of these have you tried? Popular ingredients include flatbreads, bulgur wheat which can be found in tabbouleh, chickpeas used in the popular hummus, tahini, legumes, and nuts.
3. East & Southeast Asia
East & Southeast Asia include countries such as China, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia. Some commonly used spices in this region include ginger, garlic, sesame seeds, peppercorn, and chili pepper. Asian cuisines also commonly use sauces to either marinate the protein or add to the cooking like in stir fry’s. Sauces commonly used include soy sauce, hoisin sauce, fish sauce, and oyster sauce. With sauces moderation is key as they are often high in sodium, you could also look for the low sodium options. Try something new like a garlic ginger teriyaki marinade, a pho broth, or a bag of the frozen Asian stir fry vegetable blend to add to your next meal.
4. West Africa
West African flavors are comforting and tasty. Spices include cayenne, ginger, chili powder, iru (type of fermented locust bean), and ground seeds like ogbono seeds. Some common ingredients include yams, plantains, cassava, okra, and swiss chard. Try something new like fufu, jollof rice, or egusi, so delicious!!!
5. Latin America
Latin America is made up of 20 countries and the food is as diverse as the people and geography. Some of the spices used include aji, cumin, oregano, chili, bay leaf, garlic, and onion. Ingredients depend on the region, but some carbohydrates include tortillas, quinoa, corn, potato, yuca, plantain, flour, rice. Proteins include fish, chicken, pork, beef, beans, nuts, and seeds like chia seeds. Try something new like an empanada, Peruvian Aji Amarillo, or quinoa.
Hope this quick tour of some world cuisines has inspired you to explore other flavors and try something new.
Check out our World of Flavors webinar at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/celebrate-a-world-of-flavors-tickets-261071661367
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About Josefina Girón :
Josefina Girón is a Registered Dietitian (RD), Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist (LDN), and holds a certificate in child and adolescent weight management. Texas born and Florida raised, she received her Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Florida International University. Josefina makes nutrition accessible for our Spanish-speaking customers through classes, consults, and store tours. She is passionate about helping others live their best healthy life by meeting them where they are and empowering them to make healthy eating a fun part of their lives! She is driven to live new experiences and is ready to try different foods, travel, run a race, or go on a hike.
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