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Enjoy Foods from Many Cultures with MyPlate

The summer months often present more leisure time for families and friends to gather together.  These celebrations, like celebrations throughout the year, usually involve food. The USDA wants to make sure that your festive meals are healthy and that’s why the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) has released a new resource offering 10 tips to wisely celebrate healthier foods and customs. The new tip sheet, which is part of the 10 tips Nutrition Education Series, shows you how to embrace the favorite foods of your culture, as well as foods from other cultures, in a healthier way.

Enjoy Foods from Many Cultures, available for free download at ChooseMyPlate.gov, highlights ways to maintain a healthy diet while preparing and enjoying the food we love.  I recently talked about this with Taylor Durkin, a summer intern at CNPP, who reflected that “One of my favorite tips from this resource is to add a touch of spice. I always use herbs and spices like basil, cilantro, and ginger when I cook. It adds freshness and flavor to my meals!”

As a diverse Nation, we can embrace our cultural traditions for the foods we love and still prepare them in healthier ways. This involves being creative with favorite recipes by substituting foods and ingredients that are less healthy with flavorful and appealing choices that still help remind us of our treasure food ways.

10 Tips to Wisely Celebrate Healthier Foods and Customs. Click to enlarge image.

Another great resource for inspired healthful cooking is this video featuring White House Chef Cris Comerford that I had the pleasure of developing.  Released in May 2013 in recognition of Asian American and Pacific Islanders Heritage month, Chef Comerford demonstrates how she celebrates her culture in a healthy way.  She draws inspiration from the familiar MyPlate food icon and follows suggestions from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, creating well-balanced dishes with variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean protein foods. The tip sheet and the video also offer strategies to reduce the intake of saturated fat and sodium when eating out or when cooking at home- another recommendation from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Find ways to make your favorite cultural dishes healthier and don’t be afraid to get creative or try something new.  Remember, all types of foods can fit on MyPlate!

For more recipe  inspiration check out these MyPlate-inspired recipes on ChooseMyPlate.gov:

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