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Top Tips to Enjoy Healthy Latin Food Without Losing the Taste (Recipe)

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Sept. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Traditional Latin American foods have a reputation for being full of flavor. Unfortunately, many of these foods that have brought families together for generations are being prepared now in ways that can compromise one's health.

Oftentimes Latin foods are prepared with high-calorie ingredients that are fried or full of salt and sugars. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), eating foods high in fat and calories can place people at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. This is especially important for Hispanics/Latinos, since they are at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes than non-Latino whites.

"It is possible to enjoy Latin food that is both delicious and good for you," comments Chef Lala, national spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association's Latino initiative, Por tu Familia. "By making simple changes to ingredients and cooking methods, people can keep the big flavors of Latin cuisine without missing any of the traditional tastes families have shared for years."

Chef Lala, Laura Diaz-Brown, is an internationally know celebrity chef, author, television host and certified nutritionist who has devoted her love to mastering and refining Latin cuisines and educating her fans about how to enjoy the 23 varieties in a healthful fashion.

Approximately 2.5 million Hispanic/Latino Americans over the age of 20 have diabetes and are at increased risk for serious complications such as kidney disease, blindness, and amputations. If present trends continue, one in two minorities born in 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetime.

The ADA offers these simple tips to make Latin food that is both flavorful and nutritious.

-- Go bananas -- Take advantage of all the fruits and vegetables that come

from the Caribbean, and Latin and South America and incorporate them in

your meal plan. Be adventurous and pick up a new fruit or vegetable

the next time you go to the store.

-- Every fiber of your being -- Incorporate more fiber in your meal plan

by choosing fresh produce and whole grain products, such as brown rice

or whole wheat tortillas.

-- 'Tis the season -- Skip the salt and use herbs, garlic and other

seasonings. Use spicy chili peppers to add flavor and zip. Try smoked

turkey instead of salt pork.

-- Now you're cooking! -- Broil it. Bake it. Grill it. Or, use a low

calorie cooking spray instead of butter when frying or sauteing.

-- Lean on me -- Remove skin and fat from meats before cooking. Use skim

instead of whole milk.

Por tu Familia, translated into English as "For Your Family," sponsors community based programs in English and Spanish to inform Latinos about the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices in order prevent diabetes and to help those living with the disease. The initiative sponsors a variety of outreach programs that are culturally specific to the Latino community. Programs and events sponsored by the initiative emphasize the uniqueness of the Latino culture and incorporate rich customs such as dance and traditional cuisine. These programs teach the basics of preventing diabetes and how to lead a healthy lifestyle for those diagnosed with diabetes.

Red Snapper Veracruz (Mexico)


1 Tbsp olive oil Prep time: 20-30 minutes

1/2 medium onion, finely chopped Cook time: 35-40 minutes

2 garlic cloves, crushed Serves: 8

4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and Serving size: 4 ounces fish

finely chopped

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 jalapeno pepper, seeds and white vein

removed, cut into strips or 1/4 cup canned

jalapeno pepper

1 Tbsp capers

6 stuffed green olives, sliced

2 lb red snapper filets (or use any other white fish)

cut into 8 4-oz pieces


(1) Heat oven to 350F. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat

and saute onion and garlic for about 3-4 minutes. Do not allow the

garlic to brown.

(2) Add tomatoes, cinnamon and cloves. Cook on low heat for 3 minutes.

Add the jalapeno, capers and olives and continue cooking for another 2


(3) Place fish in a 13x9x2 inch baking dish that has been coated with non-

stick cooking spray and cover with the sauce. Bake for 25-30 minutes

or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Nutritional Value Per Serving:

Calories 151 Total Carbohydrate 5 gm

Calories from Fat 34 Dietary Fiber 1 gm

Total Fat 4 gm Sugars 3 gm

Saturated Fat 0 gm Protein 24 gm

Cholesterol 40 mg Exchanges:

Sodium 173 mg 3 Very Lean Meat

1/2 Fat

1 Vegetable

Reprinted with permission from the American Diabetes Association. To order this book, please call 1-800-232-6733 or order online at

To receive more healthy recipes from the American Diabetes Association, call 1-800-DIABETES to order your own free copy of the new "Latin Flavor in the Kitchen" recipe sampler. You also can purchase cookbooks by calling 1-800-232-6733 or shop online at To learn more about the Por tu Familia Latino Program and outreach activities in your area, call 1-888-342-2383 or visit

SOURCE American Diabetes Association
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