Hispanic Heritage Month Comidas

As we kick off the Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations, we round up four traditional kind of Latin food that are both tasty and healthy to serve your family and guests every week during the month.

Venezuela: Arepas

For either breakfast, lunch, or even as an appetizer, arepas have a great advantage: their versatility. To keep them healthy, we need to stay away from the oil, instead of frying them consider baking or grilling them. Arepas are made of cornmeal, a great source of energy and nutrients like iron and phosphorus. They also are a great option for those following a gluten-free regime.

But, what is an arepa without the filling? Depending on the time of day, we can fill them with a variety of ingredients, while keeping them light. For breakfast, we can fill them with low fat cheese, turkey and egg whites. Later in the day, add tomatoes, avocados, and your favorite grilled protein.  

Perú: Ceviche

Ceviche is one of those guiltless dishes; it is light and healthy. The key to making a successful ceviche: Selecting fresh lean fish with white meat like grouper, mackerel, tilapia or corvine. These fish options contain protein, phosphorus, omega 3 and other nutrients. With ceviche, we also get all the vitamins from the ingredients we add to the fish to marinate it, including: onions, garlic, tomato, cilantro, and fresh lemon juice.

México: Tacos

We can’t leave tacos out of our list of plates for Hispanic Heritage Month. To keep our tacos light we should always consider corn tortillas over flour, they have less calories, less flour and less carbohydrates. You can fold in grilled chicken or fish and vegetables. If you like adding in some cheese and crema keep in mind low fat options -- or you could swap crema or sour cream for salsa, which is usually less fatty.

Puerto Rico: Flan de Coco

Let’s go to the Island of Enchantment for a sweet treat. Many traditional desserts in Puerto Rico showcase fruits like: papaya, passion fruit, guava, mango, and of course coconut. One of the most delicious ones is Coconut Flan (Flan de Coco). To create a healthy version of rich flan de coco: substitute the whole eggs with egg whites, and use low fat milk. For the simple syrup, instead of refined sugar, switch to either brown or even agave nectar. These little changes will cut the calories and sugar content, without sacrificing flavor. Remember, it is all about the coconut, which will provide the punch.