Healthy eating: Latina style

You are what you eat: gordita edition

We’ve all heard the phrase “You are what you eat” as you reach for that extra enchilada smothered in chile and queso, but just because you eat a gordita, doesn’t mean you have to turn into a gordita. Healthy eating is difficult for Latinas because the temptations of home cooked comfort food outweigh the idea we have of foods that are healthy. What if there was a way to combine the foods we love, loose weight and eat wholesome nutritional foods that have flavor? This may surprise you, but there is.

As Latinas, our families are such a huge part of our lives! And we know all too well they are willing to share their opinion, especially about our weight. So when your tío says, “You’re no tortilla chip” for the thousandth time, you start to rethink the extra enchilada… and that side of beans… and the flan your abuelita made.

The crazy thing about losing weight is that you can eat real food and things that you want and still lose weight. It’s all about balance. A few key tips to remember are as follows.

Make a food plan for success

Going to the grocery store and grabbing everything you see is never a good idea. Make a list of what you need (clip the coupons for those items if you have time) and evaluate what it is you are eating. If you eat mostly high-fat red meat, think about swapping that out for a low-fat pork or chicken. Spanish rice is delicious, but it is packed with empty calories and starches that don’t break down easily in your body. When you digest the white rice, it acts as a sugar in your body with almost no nutritional value. Limit these temptations by using brown rice with a little cumin and diced tomatoes for flavor.

Smart swapping

Mi Bisabuela always used a ton of lard in her cooking. It’s sinfully delicious, but it’s not safe for your cholesterol, arteries and heart health. A healthier version would be to swap out lard for vegetable oil. Fresh fruitas y verduras are full of nutrition and vitamins your body needs.

Avocados are a Latina superfood. They offer 20 essential nutrients like fiber, vitamins E and B and have a healthy amount of fat your body needs. (They also make your skin look great!) Look for ways to lighten the heaviness of every meal. Take a look at the new “Food Plate” this replaces the food pyramid and gives an example of what our meals should resemble.

A bag of flaming hot Cheetos may be your favorite snack, but it’s not something you should eat everyday between meals. Think fruits and veggies with a little humus for protein and fullness or baked chips with sea salt. Whole grain tortilla chips with salsa are a timeless Latina favorite with less calories than the nachos we love! Just because you’re looking to lose weight, doesn’t mean you have to skip out on taste.

Think about everything you eat in a week and be honest with yourself. Eat to thrive and survive, not to satisfy a craving. When you know what you are eating and take the time to evaluate the food you put into your body, the healthy choices come easier.


-The Healthy Latina


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