Traditional Festive Meals Serve Up Perfect Mix of Nutrition and Flavor

Traditional Festive Meals Serve Up Perfect Mix of Nutrition and Flavor

USDA analysis reveals common cuts of pork are 16 percent leaner than fifteen years ago


Des Moines, IA–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–November 9, 2006–For generations, Latino families have been ringing in the holiday season by enjoying flavorful pork dishes. This year, enjoy the traditional flavors and aromas of a centerpiece meal, without the guilt.

New findings unveiled that pork tenderloin rivals the leanest type of chicken – a skinless chicken breast. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) analysis found that pork tenderloin contains only 2.98 grams of fat per 3-ounce serving(1), compared to 3.03 grams of fat in a 3-ounce serving of skinless chicken breast(2).

According to the National Pork Board, today’s hogs are fed a healthy, science-based diet consisting of corn, soybeans and grains. By combining healthier feeding and enhanced breeding practices, today’s pork producer delivers leaner, healthier pork – great for all occasions!

“Pork has been at the heart of Latino dinner tables and festive celebrations for many generations,” said Judith C. Rodriguez, PhD, a registered dietitian, member of the American Dietetic Association, and professor at the University of North Florida. “In the past, the challenge was to enjoy great holiday feasts while maintaining a healthy weight,” added Rodriguez. “Now, you can indulge with healthy menu options, without sacrificing the Latin flavor that we all enjoy. Pork has become much leaner and more nutritious, making it a perfect choice for holiday dishes. For example, six common pork cuts are now 16 percent leaner with 27 percent less saturated fat than 15 years ago.”

In addition to the great taste Latinos have grown to love, pork packs a significant amount of nutrients in each lean portion. Not only is a 3-ounce serving of pork tenderloin is an “excellent” source of protein, thiamin, vitamin B6, phosphorus, and niacin and a “good” source of riboflavin, potassium and zinc, it contributes a mere 6 percent of the calories to a 2,000-calorie diet. This is great news for those who enjoy seasonal delicacies but want to avoid added calories that can pack on the pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

The “skinny” on pork should prove popular over the holidays. Rodriguez offers these healthy tips to families as they plan their celebrations or make resolutions to adopt better eating habits beyond January 1st:

— Don’t overcook your meats. Because pork is such a lean meat, it’s very important not to overcook it. Use an instant-read thermometer and cook until it reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit for tender and juicy pork.

— Keep your lean meats low in fat. When shopping, look for lean sources of meat with the word “loin,” such as pork tenderloin. Avoid cooking in saturated fats. Instead, try dry rubs or marinades with a drizzle of olive oil, salsas, chopped onions and peppers. These are excellent choices that seal in flavor without adding unwanted fats.

— Impress and de-stress. Spend more time with friends and family by serving easy-to-prepare pork dishes like Arroz con cerdo or Cerdo asado con salsa de chile guajillo. Not only will guests enjoy your delicious meal, these favorite recipes help ease holiday stress by eliminating the time you spend cooking in the kitchen. Both of these flavorful pork dishes can be prepared in less than 20 minutes — and they’re wholesome too!

— Size does matter. While it is OK to try samples of all your favorite dishes, if you pay attention to your serving sizes during regular meals, you won’t pack on those unwanted pounds.

— Add variety. Ensure holiday meals include a variety of food types so you are getting many different nutrients.

— Add zest to your holiday meals with typical Latin flavors. Fresh salsas made from a wide variety of chilies, fruits, vegetables and spices are great, low-caloric additions to your pork dishes. They are both tasty and visually appealing accoutrements, especially if served on colorful holiday platters.

For detailed nutritional information, access to a wide variety of traditional and eclectic recipes or to request a free recipe brochure, SABOR Y SALUD, visit the National Pork Board’s Spanish-language web site at

About the National Pork Board

The National Pork Board is a non-profit commodity organization based in Des Moines, Iowa, that represents the producers of U.S. Pork. The National Pork Board provides information on preparing and enjoying U.S. Pork to a variety of audiences, including consumers.

(1) Williams JR, Howe J, Trainer D, Snyder C, Boillot K, Lofgren P, Buege D, Douglass L, Holden JM. Nutritional changes in fresh pork cut between 1991-2005. Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting & Food Expo, June 26, 2006.

(2) USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference SR 18, 3-ounces cooked, skinless and roasted

Traditional Festive Meals Serve Up Perfect Mix of Nutrition and Flavor