Cultural Healthy Eating Guides

Published Date: August 29, 2023

table top with healthy foods

The Obesity Medicine Association, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, has created a number of cultural Healthy Eating Guides to be a resource to clinicians to aid in conversations with patients and provide healthy alternatives to help in their weight loss goals.

Caribbean Healthy Eating Guide

The Caribbean region consists of approximately 7,000 islands and surrounding coastal areas with blended cultures and traditions from native islanders, Africa, Europe, Latin America, China, the Middle East, India, and Southern Asia. Caribbean cuisine traces its origins from pre-existing Taino Indian and Afro-Caribbean cooking techniques and local fruits, herbs, spices, fish, and meats of the West Indies, blended with culinary influences from around the globe. Learn practical tips and substitutions such as preparing foods by sautéing, broiling, baking, grilling, or stewing rather than frying. Also access eating plans and meal ideas such as roasted fish with Ackee and boiled eggs to help your patients.

Hawai’ian Healthy Eating Guide

Hawaii is home to the largest multiracial population in US; White and Asian is the largest biracial group followed by Asian and Native Hawaiian / Pacific islander and then by White and Native Hawaiian/ Pacific Islander. Hawaiian cuisine traces its origins from Polynesian settlers who introduced new livestock and produce, such as taro from which poi is made. Learn practical tips and substitutions such as reducing the frequency of Poi without eliminating it altogether, by substituting it with whole grain starches that grow well in the Hawaiian climate such as amaranth or oats. Also access eating plans and meal ideas such as Hawaiian style oatmeal and healthy Hawaiian Loco Moco.

Mexican Descent Healthy Eating Guide

Mexican-descent refers to those whose parents or grandparents have their origins in Mexico. The U.S. is home to the second-largest Mexican community in the world, 24% of the entire Mexican-origin population of the world, second only to Mexico itself. Traditional Mexican diets are usually a mixture of Native Mesoamerican foods (pre-Hispanic) and Hispanic foods, which primarily consist of corn-based dishes cooked with chilies, garlic, onions, herbs, beans, squash, citrus fruits, rice, meats, and lard. Learn practical tips and substitutions such as limiting starchy vegetables (corn, potatoes, plantains or yucca) to no more than one portion per meal and adding a leafy green to at least 2 meals a day. Also access eating plans and meal ideas such as chocolate smooth bowls and shrimp quesadillas.

South Asian Healthy Eating Guide

South Asia is a subregion of Asia consisting of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bhutan, Afghanistan and the Maldives. The enjoyment of traditional cuisines plays an integral role in community and family life in South Asia. Dietary patterns in this region are typically high in saturated and partially hydrogenated fats from ghee, coconut products, palm oil and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and refined carbohydrates. Learn practical tips and substitutions such as limiting fried foods high in carbohydrates and fats such as Samosas, pakoras, chevdas, plantain chips, spring rolls and egg rolls. Consider converting deep fried recipes to oven-baked recipes. Also access eating plans and meal ideas such as steel cut oats and vegetables cooked with Indian spices.

West African Healthy Eating Guide

West Africa stretches from the Cameroon Highlands in the East to the Atlantic Ocean in the West and from the Atlantic Ocean in the South to the Sahara Desert in the North. The variability of the climate influences staple foods, methods of food preparation, and food consumption. Tropical humid rainforests characterize the climate in the South, which progressively turns into savanna, then arid grasslands, and finally the desert further North in the region. Islamization of the North, with a principally Muslim population, and Westernization of the South, with a predominantly Christian population, also influences food preparation methods and modes of food consumption.

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