If you traveled to other parts of the world this summer, you may have brought back some healthy eating habits. Every culture has signature dishes and ways of preparing food. And many of these traditions are healthier than the foods we are famous for here in the U.S. Take the lead from these countries who are known for their healthy eats:
Lentils are eaten in many parts of the world, but India probably serves up the best variety and most tasty dishes prepared with lentils. Lentils are high in fiber, protein and magnesium, which can help sustain your blood sugar levels and aid in calcium absorption. Dal, which refers both to dried lentils (and other legumes) and to various spiced stews made with them, is an integral part of every Indian meal. Replicating the dishes can be challenging unless you have an Indian food market close by, since most dishes require spices not typically found in American grocery stores. But there are plenty of curry recipes that incorporate lentils that can be made with more common ingredients and still capture the essence of these dishes.
Countries in the Mediterranean, like Greece and Turkey, are famous for incorporating nuts into their meals and snacks. Nuts like pistachios, almonds and walnuts offer a heart-healthy boost. People who eat nuts can lower the LDL (“bad”) cholesterol level in their blood, which can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. Some nuts have more heart-healthy nutrients and fats than do others, but almost every nut has a lot of nutrition packed into a tiny package. Furthermore, they are easy to take on the go and require little to no preparation, making nuts a great go-to snack.
Kitchens and their appliances in typical European homes are usually very small. But this is manageable because people in these countries typically make multiple trips per week to the market or grocery stores to get what they need for that day or the next. This allows them to always have fresh fruits and vegetables on hand so they eat more of these healthy foods.
The street food vendors in Mexico offer their version of fast food. This includes fresh cut fruits like papaya and watermelon, and veggies like jicama, carrots and cucumber seasoned with lime, salt and chili. Now that is healthy food to go!
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