Traditional and cultural foods are essential to a balanced diet
According to nutritional guidelines, cultural foods and healthy eating go hand in hand. Cultural foods are part of a healthy diet but the message is not always clear and is often ignored. To make these recommendations easier and more realistic, additional cultural competency and institutional resources are required.
Healthy eating, at least in the United States, is defined by eating a variety of nutrients from the “five food groups”, which are dairy, proteins, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Each of these groups provides us the vitamins and minerals we need for a balanced diet and good health. However, if we look at other parts of the world and what they consider as balanced and healthy, it is much different.
What we eat regularly is influenced by marketing, or even gentrified. There isn’t much cultural representation or diversity when it comes to healthy eating or finding a balanced diet. In short, it will depend on location and cultural background to figure out what is actually considered fitting for a balanced diet..
Cultural foods have a significant social purpose and are necessary for community and individual health. To give appropriate nutrition counseling and produce beneficial health outcomes, it is vital to recognize ethnic dietary inequalities. We need to remember that cultural cuisines suit the concept of healthy eating, even if they aren’t gentrified or prominent on the internet.
Barring any underlying health conditions, cultural foods will suffice for a balanced diet. There are numerous options out there for you to substitute the usual kale, salmon, or quinoa that is recommended in most American food guides out there. All it takes is some research and you will be able to find what suits you best.
Do not hesitate to go back to your roots, or try something new from a different cuisine. Across many cultural dishes, there is a variety of nutritional categories and nutrients mixed into a single meal. Just be smart with what you eat. Before you know it, you will naturally eat a balanced diet.