Vary Your Healthy Plate with Ethnic Flavors

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By Jessica Ivey, RDN

 

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, breakfast, lunch, dinner…

 

It can be so easy to get stuck in a rut, eating the same foods over and over again. Incorporating ethnic cuisines can be a fun way to break out of the mealtime monotony and add news flavors to your family’s dinner table.

 

As our world has become more and more global, and diners have become increasingly adventurous, Americans are exposed to a plethora of ethnic cuisines. Mexican, Chinese and Italian foods hardly seem foreign anymore, while Indian, Thai and Korean are growing in popularity. Introducing your family to world cuisines can be a healthy way to eat and can make mealtime more fun. Try having a weekly theme, like Mediterranean Monday or Asian Friday. Or why not take a trip around the world, learning about a different country and their traditional foods each Saturday night?

 

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, healthy eating patterns can be adapted for all cultural, ethnic and personal preferences, opening the door to a world of flavors. No matter the cuisine, be sure to include a serving of lean protein paired with plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole grains for a balanced plate.

 

Try these healthy global dishes to add flavor and variety to your week:

  • Mediterranean: Beef kofta are meatballs bursting with flavor thanks to the addition of onions, spices and/or herbs. Skewer the meatballs and grill along with skewers of peppers and onions. Serve the kofta and veggies on top of grilled pita bread with Tzatziki sauce, a yogurt and cucumber condiment, and fresh parsley. Try this Mediterranean Beef Meatball Kabob recipe for inspiration.
  • Thai: With the characteristic balance of sweet, salty and spicy, this Thai Burger puts a fun new spin on the all-American tradition of grilling out. If you’re watching your calorie intake, try this Thai Beef and Cucumber Salad featuring a peanut butter beef marinade and cool cucumber salad.
  • Korean: Bibimbap, which means “mixed rice,” can be a nutritionally-balanced dish, featuring rice topped with sautéed or steamed vegetables and sliced beef. Make this Bibimbap-Style Korean-Marinated Flank Steak for a lean and flavorful protein, and serve over whole grain brown rice with steamed broccoli, sautéed mushrooms or your other favorite vegetables.
  • Peruvian: Peruvian Lomo Saltado is sure to be a crowd-pleaser, thanks to the addition of one of America’s favorite side dishes – French fries. That’s right – this traditional stir-fried dish features strips of lean beef, onions, tomatoes and French fries. Now that’s a fun Friday night dinner idea.
  • Indian: With its exotic ingredients and aromatic spice mixes, Indian cuisine has many new tastes to entice American palates. This Beef Tikka with Pineapple Coconut Raita features well-seasoned beef topped with a sweet pineapple yogurt sauce. For a hands-off option, try this Indian Slow Cooker Shredded Beef made with a prepared Indian Tikka Masala sauce.

 

Head on over to BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com for more delicious recipes inspired by flavors from all around the world. For me, I can’t wait to try the Beef Tikka, which I will be serving up on the @alcattlemen Instagram story on Thursday, April 12. Join me for step-by-step instructions on this delicious, nutritious dish!

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