11 Healthy Hispanic Foods You Should Eat

In many cultures, food is more than just a source of sustenance, but also a way to bring families and friends together. This certainly applies to Hispanic cultures, says Lorena Drago, RDN, CDCES, author of Beyond rice and beans. “Food unites us. Family is an integral part of the Spanish family, no matter what country or region we come from.

The term “Hispanic” describes anyone whose origins are in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Central or South America, or other Spanish origin, according to the Pew Research Center. Some people prefer to use the term Latino or Latino, which describes people of Latin American descent.

In the United States, the Hispanic population is the largest racial or ethnic minority, numbering more than 63 million individuals, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau. This is approximately one-fifth of the total population. As a result, elements of Hispanic cultures, including food, found a large place in American life. “Food is used to celebrate, mourn, uplift, bring together, relieve, and uplift pivotal and mundane moments in our lives,” says Tanya Bernard, RDN, who works at Culina Health, a virtual nutrition company.

Unfortunately, American life can also affect traditional Hispanic diets. Research has found that when people immigrate to the United States, their diet becomes more American as they incorporate more comfort foods into their diet, such as burgers, fries, and soft drinks, according to a study published in Nutrition magazine in September 2021. The study showed that the longer Hispanics and Latinos lived in the United States, the more their dietary patterns changed as they adopted a Western diet. Another study published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health A February 2021 report showed that Latino men eat more unhealthy foods and more meals outside the home due to working long hours.

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