Each year in March we celebrate National Nutrition Month, a time to focus on making healthier food choices and learning new tips on how to achieve that goal.
This year’s theme is “Celebrate A World of Flavors.” Celebrating flavors from around the world helps increase the variety and enjoyment of foods. It is a way to both honor heritage and appreciate diversity.
Healthful foods and recipes can be found in many traditional diets, including:
- African Heritage
- Latin American
Snack ideas and meal recipes that honor some of these unique flavors and cultural traditions follow.
Snack Ideas from the Mediterranean
- Dried fruit: dates, figs, dried apricots
- Nuts: almonds, pistachios, walnuts
- Pita bread with hummus, or dipped in extra virgin olive oil mixed with Za’atar spice blend or dried Italian herb blend and cracked black pepper
- Greek yogurt, preferably plain mixed with fruit and honey or diced cucumbers and dill
- Seasoned chickpeas, crispy and roasted
- Caprese salad: tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar
Senegalese Sweet Potato Peanut Stew (Maafe)
a West African dish
2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium sized yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large sweet potato, slice into thin bite-size pieces
2 large carrots, cut into thin rounds (cut in half if needed to keep them bite-size)
2 green zucchinis, cut into thin half rounds (cut in quarters if needed to keep them bite-size)
1 (15 ounce) can of “no salt added” diced tomatoes
2 cups low sodium vegetable broth, or more as needed
1 tablespoon curry powder
¼ cup peanut butter (the kind you have to stir is best)
3 sprigs fresh thyme, minced, or 1 teaspoon dried
Salt and black pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a soup pot on medium heat and sauté the onion first for two to three minutes and then add the garlic for only 30 seconds until it releases an aroma.
- Add sweet potato and carrots to the pot and sauté for two to three minutes, then add curry powder. After two minutes, add the zucchini. Continue cooking for one to two minutes.
- Add the diced tomatoes and vegetable broth, then bring to a boil. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, add the peanut butter and the thyme to the stew. Let it cook for three to four minutes or until broth becomes thickened.
- Salt and pepper to taste, serve and enjoy.
Jicama Sticks with Chile and Lime
a Latin American-inspired snack or side dish
1 medium jicama, peeled (or 1 pound of peeled jicama sticks sometimes found in the fresh produce section of grocery stores)
2 limes, juiced (about ¼ cup)
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
¼ tsp ground dried chile, cayenne or red pepper flakes (or use tajin spice blend)
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste.
- Cut the jicama lengthwise in half, then cut the slices into half-inch wide sticks.
- Place them in a large bowl and toss with the rest of the ingredients OR simply serve with just lime juice and pinch of salt.
Indian spiced scrambled eggs
2 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (Jeera)
1 green chili pepper (reduce or omit if do not want it spicy)
1 large onion, 1.5 cups diced
1 medium tomato, quarter-cup diced
Cilantro to garnish
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric (Haldi powder)
1 teaspoon coriander powder (Dhaniya powder)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (Jeera powder)
1/2 Kashmiri red chili powder (can reduce or omit if do not want it spicy)
Salt, adjust to taste
- Break the eggs into a bowl. Whisk the eggs well and set aside.
- Heat a pan over medium heat and once hot, add oil and cumin seeds. Saute for about 30 seconds until the cumin seeds change color.
- Add onion and green chili pepper. Saute for about five to seven minutes until onions become golden brown in color.
- Add tomatoes, spices and mix well. Cover with lid until tomatoes soften, for about two to three minutes.
- Add the egg mixture and cook for one to two minutes, stirring and scrambling the eggs until cooked. Switch off heat.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve with pav, roti or paratha.
Variations: You can add bell peppers, green peas or mushrooms to vary the taste of these scrambled eggs.
- If using bell peppers or mushrooms, sauté them along with the onions.
- If adding frozen green peas, add them along with the tomatoes.
- If using fresh green peas, pre-cook them.
We are all unique with different bodies, goals, backgrounds and food preferences. Want help with a meal plan that will work for you? Make an appointment with one of our registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN) to help you create healthy habits that celebrate your heritage, introduce you to new foods and flavors and help you meet your health needs and goals!