This past weekend we went to Mar del Plata with all the family. Mar del Plata is a beach front city from the Buenos Aires Province and is a classic destination for Argentineans in the summer. This trip brought to me lots of memories from my childhood, specially the typical foods we eat on the beach. These are the 10 foods you don’t want to miss from the Argentinean beach:
1. Mate: this is an herbal infusion made from Yerba Mate leaves and it´s a must on the beach. You can have it hot or cold (called tereré), or add citrus peel for extra flavor. Even hot it´s a good option to satisfy your thirst. Better without sugar or with calorie free sweetener to save on calories.
2. Facturas (sweet pastry): I don´t know why but facturas taste better on the beach. Maybe is the water used on the dough or maybe because they sell lots of them I end up buying always fresh and warm from the oven. Croissants or medialunas (sweet or salted), pastries with dulce de leche, with fruit jam or custard cream…delicious..but an important source of saturated fat and sugar. Not healthy at all..How many calories? About 180-200 cal. each one and medialunas a little less (125 cals)
3. Churros: one could say that churros are the argentinean “doughnuts”, because they are made from a fried dough, with sugar and different filllings like dulce de leche (my favourite), chocolate and custard cream. Churros came from the Spanish colonization and they are also traditional in other Latin American countries. They are made in churrerias (there is one very famous) and sold by beach vendors. How many calories for 1 churro? About 190 (filled with dulce de leche)
4. Alfajores: these are typical Argentinean sandwich cookies filled with dulce de leche and covered with chocolate. Alfajores from Mar del Plata are the best! There are also with fruit jam, chocolate mouse, nuts, with sugar frosting, etc. Each alfajor have about 200 calories.
5. Choclo: choclo is a corn on the cob, very popular on the beach. You can buy it from food stands on the beach or from walking corn vendors. We eat them just with salt and butter. (175 calories each). At least it´s a veggie with lots of fiber and vitamins.
6. Sandwichs: the most typical sándwich is made with sliced bread with ham and cheese or milanesa sandwich (milanesa is a thin steak breaded and fried). Many people made sandwichs at home. Here we have to be careful with food safety and make sure that cold food stays cold using an appropriate insulated container. This option is healthier if we use whole wheat bread, low fat cheeses and meats and adding vegetables like lettuce, tomato, arugula, avocado, etc.
7. Ice cream: beach vendors offer ice cream screaming: “heladoooo, palito, bombón heladoooooo” (meaning ice cream, stick ice cream). And most people can´t resist to that call. Specially kids! Stick to sorbets, which are a better option compared with creamy ice cream.
8. Sodas and water: with the extreme hot weather we are having the bottles don´t last much and soft drink vendors are everywhere. They are much costly on the beach than on the grocery store. Stay with water or sugar free sodas.
9. Fruit: it´s very common to see fresh frui t or fruit salads on the beach. Again, here we have to be careful with food safety as cut fruit have lots of manipulation and hot temps turn that “healthy “fruit salad in a risky food. It would be better to bring your own whole fruit or make sure that the fruit salad was always cold.
10. Barquillos: this sweet snack is another food from Spanish heritage. It is a thin dough like a biscuit with a ship (barco) kind of shape. Usually barquilleros are the food vendors, but you don´t see them often these days. Each one has 120 calories.
As you can see, it´s easy to put up some weight during summer vacations.
So, on the beach we should try to eat:
· Varied sandwiches (with whole wheat bread, vegetables, low fat meats and cheeses) light vegetable quiches (tartas) or salads (with greens, tomatoes, whole rice, low fat meats, egg, etc)
· For dessert: fresh seasonal fruit, fruit salad, fruit sorbets
· Drink plenty of water!
· And for afternoon snack (merienda) lots of sugar free mate with 1 medialuna or 5 crackers or bread sticks or 1 alfajor once and then.
Important! Make sure to keep cold foods cold when you bring food to the beach.
Moderation is key as well as physical activity on the beach like walking, volleyball, soccer, etc. Exercise keeps us busy and is good for you!
What is your favorite food to eat on the beach?
Global dietitians is a fun place to share and network between for food and nutrition professionals from around the world. Made for dietitians by dietitians.