Thanks to the initiative of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, March is National Nutrition Month, celebrating Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day on March 9th. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has prepared for this year a battery of media resources, with the theme “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right”. It is about helping people to prioritize family meals and appreciate the pleasure of flavors. Food is not only for the body, it is a source of pleasure and entertainment and it has a major role in socialization. This is something a see a lot in my home country. In Argentina, we take the time to sit down and enjoy daily meals with family and friends. This is probably due to the great influence of Italian and Spanish immigrants. Family mealtimes is a tradition that Argentineans should not lose with modern lifestyles. It has been shown that shared mealtimes makes family members feel loved, confident and happy and promote healthy eating. So, here I share some tips to enjoy more family mealtimes:
We pick a sunny and warm Brazil beach for our summer vacations: Maceió, a city of Alagoas state. With my hubby and 3 y.o. daughter we had very fresh and delicious dishes. Plus, Brazilians were so much fun and attentive, we had a great time! Afraid of mosquitos? We used lots of mosquito repellent and we did just fine.
Of course, I tried every new food I came across. If you are planning a getaway to Brazil, you better try some of these
2. Tapioca: is a very common delicacy in the Northeast and northern Brazil. Of indigenous origin, it is made of cassava flour (starchy flour from yucca o manioc root) which when spread on a hot frying pan it gels and becomes into a something similar to a pancake or tortilla. This dough has almost no flavor and nutritionally speaking it is mainly carbs, being low in protein and sodium (and gluten free!). Then, you can choose from a variety of sweet or savory ingredients for filling, but the most traditional is filled with coconut and guava paste or with cohalo cheese (a firm but very lightweight cheese produced in Northeastern Brazil, with an almost "squeaky" texture when bitten into).
3. Drinks: Coconut water (água de coco), guaraná (and why not a caipirinha once and then): One of the days on the beach I said: “I must have those coconut water sipped straight from the coconut!”. Coconut water is the clear liquid inside young green coconuts that are sold refreshingly cold and then you can ask them to open the coconut and scoop out the flesh. Coconut water is slightly salty when coconut palms are near the sea. Is an isotonic beverage, good for rehydration as contains sodium, potassium, magnesium. Then, I had couple of cans of Guaraná, a soft drink original from Brazil, that you may find in the supermarket. Guaraná sodas are made from guarana extract, which is thought to be stimulant (similar to caffeine) and has sugar or other sweeteners (I had guaraná zero). It tastes mild, and slightly apple-like, with a berry after-flavour, Lastly, the last day of vacation I had a caipirinha, Brazil´s national alcoholic drink made of cachaça (sugarcane liquor), lime and sugar.
4.Corn on the cob (milho verde): Brazilians share Americans love for corn on the cob, but it is mainly consumed as a snack or street (beach) food. Normally it is sold from a large cauldron of simmering water, placed in a clean and cut half-circle of corn husk, salted and butter, and is eaten on the run. You can ask the vendor to skip butter and salt and also they offer to cut off the kernels and serve the corn kernels on a small plate.
5 .Feijoada: it is a black bean and meats stew originally from Rio de Janeiro area, considered one of the typical dishes of the country and for many, even it is the national dish without discussion. Feijoada has lots of ingredients and can be a high calorie dish. Best prepared over low heat in a thick clay pot, main ingredients are black beans, salted pork or beef products, varied vegetables, all in a thick broth usually served with rice. I personally prefer, Feijão com arroz is the rice and black beans without the addition of the meat.
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