Northeastern University Dining Services Blog

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Celebrating Cultural Diversity

Tuesday, March 22, 2016 | 10:31 AM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , , , , No comments

All of us belong to a cultural group and one’s culture most often influences daily food choices. Unfortunately, sometimes our favorite cultural dishes contain a great deal of fat and calories. One way to reduce fat and calories in these dishes is to swap out ingredients for ones that are lower in fat in calories. For example, if a recipe calls for cream or whole milk, choose low fat or skim milk instead. You can always use a little less of ingredients such as shredded cheese to cut back on calories and fat.

Foods from various cultures can be healthy or unhealthy. To balance things out, some cultures choose their large meal early in the day and have a light meal at night. Other cultures may include foods that are high in calories but were brought up practicing portion control and not overindulging on these foods. There are many cultural cuisines that contain lots of healthy foods including fiber-rich grains, protein-rich legumes along with a variety of vegetables.

When you make your favorite recipes at home, here are some ingredients you can choose instead to make them a little healthier:

Instead of this ingredient
Try this ingredient
Shortening or butter to coat pans
Vegetable spray
Butter or Margarine
Low/fat free margarine, canola, safflower, or olive oil
Whole milk
Skim milk or plain non-fat yogurt
Full fat cheese
Part-skim milk cheeses
Sour cream
Low-fat or fat-free sour cream
Baking chocolate
3 Tbsp. cocoa powder plus 2 tsp. of water for each ounce of chocolate
1 whole egg
2 egg whites
Meat with skin on it
Remove skin prior to cooking
Dark poultry meat
White meat
Frying food
Bake or broil them
Fatty ground meat
Lean ground meat (90-95% lean)
Stews and casseroles that are heavy on meat and light on vegetables
Increase vegetables and decrease meats
Regular Mayo and/or salad dressing
Low-fat mayo and/or salad dressing
Full portion of traditional food
Half portions
Canned foods
Fresh or frozen as an alternative
Red meats (bacon, sausage, luncheon meats)
Turkey, chicken, or fish


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