Q&A: Eating Healthy In Your Own Culture

How can one eat healthy in the context of their own culture’s food?  Coming from Asian descent, the Asian diet doesn’t normally consist of salads and large cuts of meat, but instead has lots of carbohydrates, little protein content and lots of veggies

– Brian ( Vancouver, Canada)

Thank you for the question Brian.  This question is a great reminder that not all cultures are as protein-focused as the United States, which is evident in some popular restaurant menu themes and advertising.  For instance, Ruth Chris, Capital Grille and Morton’s are renowned names that have created brands for themselves with regards to their showmanship, preparation and cooking of premiere cuts of beef.  Since you can find a number of these restaurants across the country, it is obvious that there is an interested market looking for satiation.  Additionally, ad campaigns on television reiterating the phrases, “beef, it’s what’s for dinner” and “pork, the other white meat” inundate our media.

I believe the key to eating nutritionally sound meals, no matter the country of origin, is balance.  Ensuring that your plate has carbohydrate, vegetable/fruit and protein components so that intake is varied, thus fueling your body with different nutrients, vitamins and minerals is of utmost importance.

Taking into consideration that meat does not routinely play a prominent role in Asian diets, concentrating on having a solid protein element as part of the meal vs. small, thin strips of meat that appear garnish-like would be beneficial.  The protein choice does not have to be meat per se, but could be soy foods, (i.e tofu, miso, etc.), fish and/or nuts.  Since these protein options are more popularly seen in Asian cuisine, increasing the amount on the plate and decreasing the rice/noodle/carbohydrate portion would create more balanced, nutrient-rich meals.

 –  Miss Chef RD


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