Dietary Tips Tailored to Cuisines Around the World

Eating right doesn’t have to mean giving up your favorite cultural and ethnic comfort foods. “The trick is to find good things in what you eat every day,” says Lona Sandon, a registered dietitian at UT Southwestern. “It’s also important to be mindful of portion sizes, as well as how your food is prepared.”

Proteins should be regarded as side items, while colorful vegetables should make up the largest portion of meals. Aim for a healthy balance of vegetables, whole grains, and proteins. Here are a few of Ms. Sandon’s tips for nutritious and delicious meals, no matter what type of traditional cuisine is on the menu:

1. Chinese

Incorporate plenty of broccoli, kale, carrots, and water chestnuts into stir-fry dishes. Opt for long-grain or brown rice instead of white rice.

2. African-American

Make healthy vegetables like collard and mustard greens (without bacon fat), sweet potatoes, and corn half of your plate. Also, a 2-inch square of cornbread is a great grain addition.

3. Mexican

Color your dishes with plenty of jalapeño and bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, and avocados. Corn tortillas contain fewer calories and less lard than flour tortillas, making them a better choice.

4. Italian

Strive to add artichokes, beans, spinach, bell peppers, and zucchini to your favorite dishes. Instead of pasta, try using quinoa with a dash of olive oil as your main grain.