Washington, DC–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–September 22, 2004–The American Council for Fitness & Nutrition celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15) by exploring the healthy advantages of traditional Hispanic foods.
“Hispanic culture has had a tremendous impact on this country, and in no area is it more apparent than food,” said Albert Barrocas, MD, ACFN Advisory Board member. “You’re hard pressed to find an appetizer table at a party without salsa, guacamole and corn chips; and tacos, enchiladas and tortilla wraps are mealtime staples from coast to coast.”
Fresh ingredients, delicious spices and straight-forward preparation techniques have made this cultural cuisine popular in restaurants, cafeterias and homes for generations. Yet life in America has taken its toll on many traditional recipes, and countless favorites are no longer prepared in a healthful manner.
In fact, obesity rates among Hispanics are exceptionally high. Hispanic children have the highest overweight and the lowest fitness rates of almost any other group. An average of one out of four Hispanic adults is obese.
“Making better eating choices more often and becoming more physically active is key. Together, we can work on getting fit and becoming healthier. Our core values, focus on “la familia,” and desire for health – are strengths that can make the difference,” added Cecilia Pozo Fileti, RD, ACFN Advisory Board member.
ACFN offers the following tips for enjoying delicious foods in a healthy way:
— Enjoy lots of healthy beans – they’re high in fiber, protein and folic acid – but skip the fatty flavorings. Instead cook beans with more garlic and vegetables for flavor.
— Substitute corn for flour tortillas. Corn is a more traditional food, and depending on your recipe it can be lower in fat.
— Soft white Mexican cheese is lower in fat than cheddar, American and Monterey Jack cheese, plus it’s a great source of calcium.
— Re-discover native fruits such as papaya, mango, guava or guanabana.
“We can turn the tide on obesity if we build communities that support healthy lifestyles. Best of all, families can do this while enhancing traditional cultural values and cultivating culinary customs,” concluded Barrocas and Fileti.