Ethnic Eating Guide

Does the recent spate of news about the high fat content of Chinese, Mexican and Italian food have you resigned to a lifetime of low-fat yogurt and bland skinless broiled chicken? Well read on. There’s hope for ethnic food lovers.

Real Ethnic Food – A Dieter’s Dream

Most ethnic foods are not high fat in the lands where they came from. Chinese, Mexican and Italian food have all been adapted to the American love of meat and fat. For instance, Italians dine mainly on fruits, vegetables and grains- using meat as a garnish if at all. The Chinese eat meat only on special occasions well-seasoned rice and vegetable dishes form the bulk of the Chinese diet, which gets only 15 percent of its calories from fat. Mexicans eat far less cheese than is served in restaurants catering to anglo tastes.

A Matter of Choice

When dining out, choose Chinese food that has been steamed rather than fried. Ask for cheese on the side when ordering Italian, so you can sprinkle it on sparingly. The same goes for those rich cream sauces. Eating Mexican? Ask for plain black or pinto beans and soft tortillas instead of fat-filled refried beans and fried taco shells. In all cuisines, choose dishes low in meat and those that are steamed, broiled or boiled over fried and heavily sauced foods.

Balance Out Rich Entrees

Okay, you’re thinking, that pretty well eliminates my favorite entrees. If there’s a high-fat item on the menu you simply can’t resist, ask for a half order or split an order with your dining partner. Make up the difference with steamed rice, pasta, bread, tortillas or plain beans. When you do this you’ll be doing exactly what the natives do – filling up on complex carbohydrates livened up with just a little rich food.

You can see that with a little knowledge and discrimination, you can tease your palate with nutritious foods from practically everywhere. Buon gusto!

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