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meatless meals

5 Fresh and sizzling meatless summer meals to try 

Be adventurous this summer by incorporating more plant-based dishes onto your personal menu. Check out some of these fresh and sizzling meatless summer meals to get started! 

The summer months are often associated with BBQ-ing and outdoor fiestas or family picnics in the park. In fact, July is also recognized as National Grilling Month and National Picnic Month. It’s hard for some to think of summer without grilling and meat-filled dishes, especially for Latinos who pride themselves on their asados. However, incorporating more plant-based dishes into our diets has many health benefits. 

Statistically, Latinos are more likely to suffer from heart disease. On average,  Hispanic women are likely to develop heart disease 10 years earlier than non-Hispanics, according to data from Go Red for Women. While there are many factors that contribute to developing these issues, such as genetics, diet also plays a big part. Hispanic diets are often rich in fat from dairy and meats. By reducing one’s consumption of meat and dairy, it can help lower the risk of developing heart disease and other health issues. 

Summer is also the perfect time to be adventurous! Embrace your inner adventurer and experiment with food this season. You don’t have to commit to an all plant-based lifestyle, simply introducing a meatless day of the week can make a difference. One of my personal favorite food-stagram accounts is “Meatless Mondays.” The account offers a variety of fun and fresh meatless meals to try and encourages people to swap out meat at least one day a week. 

If you’re ready for the adventure, then check out some of our favorite fresh and sizzling meatless summer meals below! 

Try these meatless summer meals on your next picnic or party

These meals will make the perfect addition to your next family picnic or outdoor gathering, especially this week during Latino Conservation Week. What better way to celebrate nature conservation than by getting outdoors with friends and family and enjoying some delicious food together!

Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas

 

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Fiery and Fresh Plant-based Tacos

 

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Grilled Stuffed Peppers 

 

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Pasta Primavera 

 

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Chipotle Cauliflower Tacos with Garlic Aioli

 

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Celebrating 4th of July Latina Style! 

The Fourth of July holiday weekend is here! The U.S. national holiday is known for its fantastic firework shows, barbecues, picnics, and outdoor parties. If there’s anything we Latinas love is a good celebration. Today we’re sharing some fun ideas to give your 4th of July a Latina twist! 

Celebrate 4th of July Latina Style! (Design photo created by freepik)

Get the music pumping 

It’s not a Latina party if there isn’t music! Kick off your 4th of July Latina style celebration with some Latin favorites. Curate your own fabulous playlist or invite music-playing friends to bring their instruments and share some live tunes. With the right music, your celebration is off to a great start. 

Make it an asado 

Next– the food. Food is everything at a Latina party. It’s the center focus, the thing that brings everyone together. It is the foundation of the party, especially for a 4th of July celebration where the air is always smokey and sweet from the holiday’s signature BBQs. Here is the perfect place to give the holiday a little Latina flavor! Instead of just the usual hamburgers and hot dogs, make it a truly Latino asado. Incorporate other meats and foods traditional to your country. You can make carne asada marinated with chimichurri, elote, chorizo, and more!  

Fun flavors for all 

While the barbecue is a staple of the holiday, there are other tasty ways to add a Latin touch to your celebration. While you’re outside enjoying the warm weather, cool down with some traditional Latino cocktails and frozen drinks like mojitos, margaritas, and sangria. Then, break out the snacks and appetizers with chips and salsa, guacamole, or your favorite traditional dip, tapas, tortillas, empanadas, and traditional meats, cheeses, and ensaladas. And of course, no Latina meal is complete without the desserts! Prepare some of your favorite sweet treats to share with friends and family. 

Dance the night away

Get ready for a long night! No Latino party is a short event. And what better way to pass the time than to dance to those fun Latino tunes? You can even combine traditional Latin dances and songs with patriotic classics to create fun remixes in a fusion of cultures and heritages. Did you know there’s even a salsa version of The Star Spangled Banner? Check it out on YouTube and let it inspire you to create your own remix as a representation of the melting pot of cultures that makes the U.S. the diverse and multicultural nation it is.

You might be interested: Honoring and remembering the Latina heroes of the past this Memorial Day

Latina diet

Balancing your Latina diet this National Nutrition Month®

Every food-loving Latina knows that the Latina diet has both pros and cons. With rich flavors and a variety of local produce, Latin American cuisine can certainly be very healthy. But sometimes we can also go a little overboard on the sweets. That’s why this National Nutrition Month® the focus is on personalizing your plate to create a more balanced, healthful diet. 

National Nutrition Month® is an annual campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. National Nutrition Month® started as National Nutrition Week in 1973, then as interest and excitement grew, National Nutrition Month® was inaugurated in 1980. 

Now, every year during the month of March, people are invited to learn about making informed food choices and developing healthful eating and physical activity habits.

The theme for this year’s National Nutrition Month® is “Personalize Your Plate.” There is no one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition and health. We are all unique with different bodies, goals, backgrounds and tastes! And a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist can tailor a healthful eating plan that is as special as you are. For more information and healthful tips, check out the resources provided by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics available in various languages including Spanish.   

National Nutrition Month, personalize your plate, balanced diet

Eating healthfully doesn’t have to be complicated! Choose nutritious foods that have vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients. Use these tips: https://sm.eatright.org/ERnotcomplicated #NationalNutritionMonth

Balancing your Latina diet 

As Latinas, food is a big part of our culture. While many Latino dishes are full of healthy ingredients, it’s no secret that we love our carbs and dulces. Many Latin American dishes can also be heavy on fats such as whole-fat cheeses and fatty cuts of meat. Consuming too much of these foods in unbalanced proportions can lead to many health risks such as high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure, risk factors commonly found in Hispanic populations. 

However, there is no need to completely cut out the foods we love, but learning more about how to create a colorful, well-balanced plate will help us all be healthier in the long-run. 

Some tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: 

Latina diet, personalize your plate, balanced diet

Photo by Sam Moqadam on Unsplash

Personalize Your Plate 

  • Fill half your plate with fruits and veggies. Get creative with produce by trying an assortment of colors and textures.
  • Experiment with different grains. Try substituting whole grains for refined grains in recipes.
  • Choose lean protein foods. Vary your choices to include seafood, beans, peas and lentils, as well as eggs, lean cuts of meat and poultry that are prepared in a healthful way, such as baked or grilled instead of fried.
  • Complete your meal with dairy. Include low-fat or fat-free options like milk, yogurt, cheese, calcium-fortified soymilk, or lactose free milk.

Meal Planning Tips

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated or boring. Think about the foods you like from each food group – mixed dishes count, too! These are just a few examples of how different foods can be eaten as a meal to personalize your plate. If a food you enjoy is not listed here, consider which food group it meets when planning your meals.  

National Nutrition Month®

Meal plan suggestions from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (Source: Personalize Your Plate to Include Foods From Other Cultures–Latin American)

You might be interested: 10 Snacks to boost productivity and get you through the work day

Building a balanced Latina diet doesn’t have to be a chore. With so many delicious ingredients and a passion for our food, us Latinas are sure to have fun cooking up some colorful, creative dishes to meet our health needs and our passion for flavor!

10 Snacks to boost productivity and get you through the work day

Did you know that the foods you eat greatly impact your levels of motivation and productivity? In fact, eating the right foods can boost productivity up to 20 percent, according to the World Health Organization. The right foods can help you stay focused longer, improve your memory, and stabilize your moods. If you’re a busy professional, you may notice that some days you feel more sluggish than others. This might be due to the foods you’re eating throughout the day. If you’re looking for snacks to boost productivity get you through the work day, check out our top picks below. 

Top 10 snacks to boost productivity 

1. Almonds

Almonds are the go-to focus foods. They are full of healthy fats necessary for our brains to function better. These healthy fats also slow the body’s digestion of sugar and carbs which helps to keep your blood sugar levels steady. Not only that, but the protein in almonds will also help curb your appetite without feeling sluggish. 

2. Dark Chocolate

Yes, chocolate can be good for you–if it’s the right chocolate! Dark chocolate is abundant in nutrients that impact your productivity. Dark chocolate contains just the right amounts of sugar and caffeine to give you the boost you need without the caffeine-jitters or sugar-crashes.  Also the magnesium in chocolate can help relieve stress and anxiety, another great bonus for those particularly stressful work days! 

3. Apple & Peanut Butter

They say “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” and that’s because apples are rich in antioxidants that keep our bodies healthy. Apples also have about 13g of sugar, making them a more effective source of energy than coffee. Paired with a tablespoon or two of natural peanut butter, which is full of powerful protein, and you have the perfect combination to keep yourself feeling full and focused longer. 

4. Carrots & Hummus

Carrots are a fun snack. They’re crunchy, delicious, and great for you. Pair them with some hummus and you have a powerful combination. See, carrots contain luteolin which helps improve memory, while hummus is full of Omega 3 fatty acids and amino acids which help improve intelligence and boost your mood. The protein and calories in the hummus will also help curb your appetite so you can focus on your work and not your rumbling stomach! 

5. Avocados

Avocados are a natural stimulant that, “enhances blood flow, offering a simple, tasty way to fire up brain cells,” according to WebMD. Consistent, healthy blood flow around the heart and through the brain is the secret to staying productive. Avocados are full of the monounsaturated fatty acids that help protect a certain kind of brain cells called astrocytes, which support information carrying nerves and contribute to healthy blood flow. So an avocado may just be what you need to stimulate your body and stay energized and focused throughout the day. 

You might be interested: Kick the habit! How to avoid overeating when working from home

6. Bananas

Glucose equals energy, and bananas are one of the best sources of glucose. Just one banana holds the daily amount of glucose your body needs. Bananas are also very filling and will keep you feeling satisfied and focused  longer between meals. 

7. Blueberries 

Blueberries can truly do it all. They are packed with antioxidants that help fight off disease, stop bloating, and curb cravings. Blueberries have also been linked to enhancing your cognitive abilities. According to research conducted at the University of Reading, schoolchildren’s memory and attention-spans greatly improved after consumption of flavonoid-rich blueberry supplements. So next time you’re in need of a quick snack, consider a handful of blueberries. 

8. Sunflower Seeds 

Sunflower seeds make a great snack because they are loaded with the amino acid tryptophan. This amino acid is quickly converted to serotonin in the brain.  Serotonin is especially important on those days when you may be feeling particularly stressed, grumpy, or sleepy because it  plays an important part in the regulation of our feelings and energy levels.

9. Green Tea 

green tea, snacks to boost productivity

Photo by Kiran K. on Unsplash

Not really a “snack” but definitely something you want to be sipping on throughout the day. Green tea is a great caffeine-alternative to coffee with way more health benefits. 

Did you know green tea contains an amino acid called L-theanine that improves focus and helps the brain stay alert? On top of that, green tea will also boost metabolism, lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, and improve skin health. The benefits really seem endless! 

10. Yogurt 

yogurt, snacks to boost productivity

Photo by Niclas Illg on Unsplash

Last but not least, yogurt! Such a simple, quick, and easy snack, and yet it’s full of so many benefits that will help boost productivity and get you through your workday. Greek yogurt is a super-snack that contains tyrosine, an amino acid that produces both dopamine and noradrenaline. These are two  neurotransmitters that help boost your mood and behavior. Additionally, yogurt is a great way to improve your gut health and boost the good bacteria in your gut. Gut health is vital and can have a big impact on the rest of your body, especially your brain. In fact, poor gut health has been linked to anxiety and depression, as well as other mood disorders, which can impact your productivity and energy levels. So be sure to take care of your gut and consider incorporating more yogurt into your diet. 

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4 Tips to health proof your work day with healthier choices

Healthier choices help us stay on track on those hectic work days that can cause us all to let our nutrition fall to the back-burner.

healthier choices latino family-owned business

A wide variety of snacks, mostly candy, on display at a bodega in Park Slope, Brooklyn. (Photo credit Jeffrey O. Gustafson at the English language Wikipedia)

Your boss is demanding, your client is driving you nuts, you are behind your deadline… We all have those days when you look at the time and realize you cannot remember the last meal you ate. Or you find yourself grabbing anything in sight (probably sugary, processed foods) to ward off your hunger. Doing this all the time can place your health at serious risk. It can also impact how you perform.

Incorporating these simple tips and tricks can help you “health proof” your work day.

1.Your first line of defense

Fuel yourself with a healthy breakfast that includes at minimum:

  • A complex carb with fiber to keep you full longer such as oats and multigrain options
  • A lean protein like eggs, cottage cheese, or turkey bacon to feed all of your muscles (including your brain)

A big bonus is adding a dark leafy vegetable such as spinach, kale, or asparagus because they provide a boost of vitamins and minerals. Or choose a vegetable higher in water content like peppers and cucumbers to fill you up. One easy way to sneak in fruits and veggies into your breakfast is to make yourself a smoothie. Anything you can prep the night before will save you time in the morning!

2. Join the “Pack Your Lunch” club

Aim to bring your lunch at least 3 times a week so you can ensure you are making healthier choices and also saving money!

healthier choices

Photo credit: National Institutes of Health, part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

3. Build your own vending machine

Stock those drawers with whole grain crackers and cereal, plain popcorn and small portions of unsalted nuts. If you have a fridge at work, fill it with healthier choices of nutritious snacks such as fruit, raw vegetables, lower fat cheese and yogurt, and hummus.

Stay hydrated!!! Often times we think we are hungry when instead our bodies are dehydrated. Keep a water bottle with you at all times. Even setting a timer is a great way to remind you to guzzle! You want to aim to drink at least half your body weight in ounces.

You might be interested: How to tackle stress in the workplace with effective strategies

4. Bonus tips for healthier choices

Don’t work while you eat…this can set you up to eat more than your body needs…put your work to the side for 15 to 20 minutes…

If you absolutely MUST grab something on the go or are eating out do your best to find healthier choices that are higher in fiber, lower in sugar and includes a complex carbohydrate, a lean protein, and a vegetable so you are eating a more balanced meal. If salads are your go-to make sure to ask for the dressing on the side.

Practice these tips consistently and you will reap the benefits long-term! If you need Nutrition and Fitness advice, or have a question, feel free to contact me on the form below!

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