Eating healthily doesn’t have to be a challenge, especially for us Latinas. In fact, there are simple adjustments we can make in our daily vida that can lead towards a healthier diet without eliminating our beloved cultural dishes.
Modify your surroundings to stop unhealthy snacking.
Often, we find ourselves snacking even when we hadn’t planned to. We can unintentionally set ourselves up for failure by having snacks easily available and in places that trigger cravings. Store the snacks away or place them in hard-to-open containers that make you think twice before indulging. Consider not bringing junk food into the house at all.
Hydrate with agua after consuming unhealthy drinks.
Drinking water after having a soda or alcohol is an excellent way to hydrate and cleanse your body. If you prefer flavored drinks, consider purchasing or making your own infused waters. For instance, infuser water bottles with a compartment for fruta that will naturally flavor water. A small amount of sweetener is okay as long as fruits do the main job.
Use smaller platos during meal times.
We tend to eat more when we use larger plates and bowls because we feel the need to fill them. Using a smaller dish ensures you’ll eat a smaller portion and tricks your brain into thinking you’ve eaten more. Alternatively, use this trick to eat more healthy foods by using bigger containers for healthy foods like veggies.
Keep a record of your comida and drink consumption.
Keep a log of everything you consume for a week. Analyze your eating habits at the end of the week to spot any unhealthy trends and their triggers. Use this information to make adjustments and revisit this log every few months to stay on track.
Incorporate vegetales into your meals.
Vegetables can be easily incorporated into unsuspecting foods. They can be pureed and mixed into dishes, smoothies, and even desserts. This is a particularly good trick for children.
Never skip el desayuno
Many people mistakenly believe that skipping breakfast aids in weight loss and prevents overeating. In reality, skipping breakfast can harm your metabolism, affecting nutrient processing and leading to more fat storage. A well-rounded breakfast includes whole grains, high fiber, and is low in fat, sugar, and salt.
Find healthy alternatives to your antojos.
Whether you crave a certain texture or taste, there’s a healthier alternative to every unhealthy snack. Instead of reaching for greasy, salty potato chips, try crunching on carrots, pepino, or celery. You could also experiment with making chips from different vegetables. Fruits are a great alternative when you crave something sweet.
Include variedad in your meals.
Each meal should have a variety of textures and colors. Visually appealing food increases your desire for healthy food. Experiment with different frutas, vegetables, and whole grains, which have more unique colors and textures than overly processed foods.
Plan your meals con tiempo.
Meal prepping is fun, promotes healthy eating, and saves money. Plan your meals in advance and only buy the necessary ingredients. If you don’t buy snacks or other foods, you won’t eat them at home.
Develop healthy coping mechanisms for emotional states.
“Eating your feelings” is a real concern for many of us. Stress, sadness, and boredom often lead to unhealthy snacking and overeating. Learn about healthy coping mechanisms that you can use instead of turning to food. Be ready to engage in these coping mechanisms when needed, like keeping a journal nearby or having items that you can chew on.
Remember, change takes time and it’s okay to have a bad day. Keep these habits in mind and strive for progress, not perfection.
Dr. Patty Jiménez is the Founder of Recetas. She obtained 2 Masters in Theology and Ministry and a Doctorate in Ministry specializing in Latinx theology and ministry. She has over 27 years experience in Catholic Ministry and is a spiritual director and training as a wellness coach.