These Substitutes Make Our Favorite Latino Foods Healthy, Delicious, Satisfying, And Good For You

After having returned from a lovely trip to Mexico, I couldn’t help but wonder why I can’t eat the way I did while on vacation when I’m back home? It’s not like we overate, or ate fast food, but the foods we consumed just seemed so fresher and healthier. So why can’t we continue to eat Latin foods we love here? One of the reasons why Latin foods, especially Mexican food, is so popular in the U.S. is because it’s just overloaded with too much. Taco in the U.S. isn’t just a taco, or a burrito can’t be a simple burrito. Food in the U.S. is all about bigger and fattier portions.

We’ve decided to make healthier food choices this year, without cutting out on the pleasures of having a good and delicious Latin meal. Here’s how our family is changing up the way we eat in the new year.

1. Cut back on meat, especially red meat.


We love meat and would probably never go vegetarian, let alone vegan, but that doesn’t mean we can’t cut back on meaty foods. Instead of eating meat (bacon, ham, carne asada, pork, chicken), every other day attempt to eat it once a week. Substitute fish or meatless products. Have you ever tried Soyrizo? It’s so good!

Think about the healthy foods you do like to eat, and eat more of that.


Who doesn’t love avocados!? While avocados may be high in fat, it’s a good kind of fat. Avocados are also high in fiber, which is great.

Have you ever tried cucumbers con sal y limon? It’s so good. Cucumbers have a ton of positive nutrients including antioxidants, it promotes hydration, and it can contribute to lowering blood sugar.

Everything should be consumed in moderation especially alcohol.


This is probably one of the toughest things to cut back on, and it’s not because we love drinking night and day, but we do love to socialize. Socializing always comes with drinking, but alcohol has a ton of sugar and is loaded with calories. Typically a margarita has 150 calories, and you know you can never have just one.

Cutting back on drinks is hard but doable. Try low sugar drinks and/or refreshing and healthy mocktails.

Cheat days should be limited to once a week.


Restricting fatty foods shouldn’t mean you have to ban them from your life, that will most likely make you want them even more. If you truly want to eat those loaded nachos, have them once a month, and make a note of it so you keep account of what you’re doing. If you can’t cut them out that much, treat yourself once a week.

Plan out your meals.


If you’re one of those people who eats last minute, meaning if you find yourself hungry, you turn to eat anything quickly, that is how you’ll get in trouble.

Planning what you’re going to eat a week ahead, even a day ahead, will make you more likely to make better choices.

Decide what meal gives you the most fuel.


There’s an age-old saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. That can be the case for some people, but that’s not the general rule. So if you feel that lunch gives you the most energy, make that your bigger meal. Eat smaller meals for breakfast and dinner. Just understand when your body needs fuel and feed it at that time.

It’s okay to make limitations but do not starve yourself.


As we said, healthy choices are all about moderation, but never about starvation. Your metabolism needs to keep moving, so if you skip meals or not eat, your metabolism will just stop itself and the result is completely devastating.

Make pragmatic choices.


When attempting to make healthier choices, be sure to be rational about what you are going to eat, and when you’re going to be eating. Think about your meals, the ingredients, and how it’s going to be cooked. By being pragmatic, you will make smarter and healthier choices.

Sub meat with meatless foods.


Have you ever tried meatless tacos or seitan asada? Yes, that’s a thing. There are so many ways to incorporate tofu, or meatless products into your meals.

Cut back on tortillas.


As much as we love eating tortillas with everything they also contain a lot of carbs. The low-calorie tortilla is a good substitute, but in my opinion, they are not very good. What we decided to do is instead of buying a whole pack of tortillas, we made them ourselves. That means we can omit the salt, the lard, and anything else, and just include the basics. That also means the size is much smaller, which is a very good thing.

Top Latin foods with more veggies.


Rather than load nachos, tacos, burritos, or any Latin food with cheese, sour cream, or meat, load them up with lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, carrots, any veggie that you like. Latin foods tend to be more vegetarian or vegan with meat added later. Keep to the basics and you will see a feel a change in yourself.

Don’t use lard as an ingredient.


Some Latin foods such as refried beans and tortillas call for lard as an ingredient but putting straight up fat is not a healthy choice. Some people opt to use shortening instead of using lard, but we don’t use either. You truly don’t need it at all.

Try dairy free products.


Two main ingredients that most Latin foods contain is cheese and sour cream, but if you don’t want those added calories, try using dairy-free sour cream and dairy-free cheese.

Make your own food instead of eating out.


The food served at restaurants, whether it’s fast food or not, contains so much more sodium and butter. You truly don’t need to cook with those amounts. If you make your own tacos or your own nachos, you will be saving yourself hundreds of calories.

Skip the salt and use herbs, garlic, and other seasonings


Rather than using salt to add flavor to your meals, they’ll become more flavorful if you use other kinds of seasoning and herbs. The meals will instantly be more unique.

Take advantage of the fruit.


Yes, fruit has a lot of sugar which equals carbs, but it’s so much better if you eat plantains, or a mango rather than eating ice cream or chips, you will notice a huge difference in yourself.

Incorporate fiber in your meals.


Beans, one of our favorite foods, has a ton a fiber. In fact, a lot of Latin foods including avocados, nopales, and much more.

Don’t like veggies? Try superfood powders.


If you’re not a fan of eating salads or just eating vegetables, you still need those nutrients. One great substitute is incorporating superfood powders into smoothies. That is an instant and nutritious meal.

Good fat vs. bad fat.


As we said before, some fatty foods like avocados and beans have lots of great nutrients that will benefit your health. That also includes extra virgin olive oil, so when you’re making those huevos rancheros, be sure to put some EVOO in the pan for those good and beneficial fatty foods.

Don’t think of food as your enemy, enjoy it.


Once you start to consider that food isn’t a crutch or comfort food but rather fuel to energize your body, you will start eating better. Just because us Latinos love to eat yummy foods, doesn’t mean there isn’t really good substitutes out there.

Just remember, we need food to survive, not to make us feel heavy and/or tired, so have fun and enjoy those meals.

READ: 20 Foods And Drinks That Instantly Take Caribbean Latinos Back To Their Childhood

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Surprise! People Who Live In Neighborhoods With More Immigrants Eat Healthier And Weigh Less


Surprise! People Who Live In Neighborhoods With More Immigrants Eat Healthier And Weigh Less

New research has emerged, showing that people who live in neighborhoods that boast a larger immigrant population eat better than those that don’t. For all of us who’ve lived in neighborhoods with a considerable immigrant population, this news is probably as startling as the revelation that water is wet. But, it’s important that bona fide research is conducted on the things that we already feel in our gut – in this case, literally – because it proves that, yes, we have good reason to think the things that we do.

Give us the highlights of the study.

Instagram / @picturesofmagicmoments

The researchers found three main things when they conducted the study. Firstly, that native-born Americans who live in neighborhoods with a higher immigrant population tend to eat less fast food and more fruit and vegetables than their less-immigrant-populated counterparts. Secondly, that those same native-born Americans have lower body mass indices, or BMIs. And thirdly, that these native-born Americans swimming in immigrant neighbors also have lower rates of hypertension. Okay, maybe we’re exaggerating that last part – there’s no swimming needed. But, the lower rates of hypertension still stand.

Whether you prefer Japanese, Korean, Mexican, Ethiopian – you’ll still see the benefits.

Instagram / @thesushiaddict

The great thing is that it doesn’t matter what kind of immigrants set up shop in your neighborhood, native-born Americans still see the benefit. “In places with a high density of immigrants, whether it’s Latino immigrants or Asian immigrants, their native-born neighbors also go shopping a lot in those ethnic grocery stores, like those Mexican supermarkets or Chinese supermarkets. They buy fruits and vegetables at significantly lower prices than they would get at places like Walmart or Trader Joe’s,” Lu Shi, the lead author of the paper, said.

Okay but there could be a lot of other reasons for why people in immigrant neighborhoods are healthier!

Instagram / @chronicledelicious

Here’s the beautiful thing: the study controlled, or took into account, things like socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, and the level of education the respondents had received. So when the next neckbeard trolling on social media tries to argue with the findings, you can confidently say that the researchers know their stuff, and have ticked the boxes when it comes to conducting a legitimate study. In fact, you can even throw in the phrase, “the healthy immigrant effect,” to show that you’ve really done your homework. Essentially, it’s the tendency for US immigrants to have better health than their native-born counterparts.

There is one caveat: the study was conducted only on LA neighborhoods.

Instagram / @tortilla_inn

Now that being said, the study was conducted in Los Angeles County neighborhoods, so it’s possible that the findings have only revealed something that’s true for Los Angeles County. Chances are that the researchers will have to look into testing other neighborhoods before they can say for sure that they’ve truly stumbled onto a winner. But that’s not going to stop us proposing to the Trump administration that they need to reconsider their stance on immigration. Who’s to say now that stationing a few immigrant families in every neighborhood won’t improve the nation’s health?

Naturally, Twitter’s got the receipts: we’ve always known immigrants are good at eating healthy.

Twitter / @fabucat

Even though this savvy user was commenting way back in 2014, the statement still stands. If Barack Obama had gotten everyone on a diet of immigrant food, everyone would now not only be healthier, but also probably happier. We’re pretty sure it’s scientifically impossible to be unhappy after eating a delicious taco/dumpling/massaman curry.

This babe is on the money.

Twitter / @chloereichel

While the respondents for the study were still indulging in less-than-healthy practices, native-born Americans living in an area with a higher immigrant population had 67 percent lower odds of regularly eating fast food, and 64 percent higher odds of eating the recommended daily intake of fruit and vegetables, as per the guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It’s not just about the fact that immigrants eat healthier, they are healthier, too.

Twitter / @imthatholly

The interesting thing is that this commenter isn’t wrong. It’s not just about the fact that immigrants eat healthier, they are healthier, too. This is something that the paper’s lead author points out – on average, Latina women smoke at lower rates than their peers, so it stands to reason that they lead by example and create a culture of non-smoking. By extension, it’s these “contagious” social norms that may factor into why native-born Americans living in immigrant-dense neighborhoods in the study were healthier: they’ve caught the bug of living healthy, so to speak.

Before you get all excited and haul your butt to the Korean barbecue joint down the road with the justification that it’s healthy, we should probably point out Shi’s little caveat: “Ethnic food outlets, like the Mexican lunch truck, the Chinese barbecue that you see on New York streets, those are not necessarily healthier than McDonald’s, KFC.” Sorry babes.

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21 Ways To Stay Accountable And Motivated About Your Fitness Goals For 2019


21 Ways To Stay Accountable And Motivated About Your Fitness Goals For 2019

With every new year comes the idea that we will somehow magically transform into a dream version of who we want to be. We want to be a better person, a healthier person, a person that doesn’t slump around the world unmotivated. The way we become a healthier person is obviously one of the biggest struggles that people deal with every day, and that we vow to change on Jan. 1. However, becoming a new you — while it may seem sort of impossible — is doable, and if you want it bad enough change is possible if you allow it to be.

In order to figure out how to accomplish our fitness goals for the new year, we didn’t speak to trainers or health nuts. We spoke to real people, with real lives, who are not consumed with fitness 24/7 but are somehow doing it. They are staying fit, eating better, making time to work out all the while holding down a full-time job, raising kids, and living life.

So here are 21 tips from real people about how to stay accountable and motivated about your fitness goals.

1. Write down your fitness goals.


Before beginning any project, it’s important to tell yourself what your intentions are. It’s even more important if you write them down. Taking time to visualize your goals and journaling what you want in life will show you how important making changes is. If you’re not taking it seriously, you’re never going to be able to stick to goals. Be intentional and write it down.

2. Set short term goals.


If you try to pursue your health in extreme ways, such as saying you’re going to lose 50 pounds in six months, you’re only going to disappoint yourself. Be realistic in the sense that you will tell yourself “this week I will workout three times, and only have one cheat day.” Make your bigger goals smaller so you can accomplish them. You can also give yourself a goal of feeling better in those tight jeans. You’ll get far within your goals if you remain practical.

3. Stay away from toxic people.


Before you read this as a judgment call not to drink, let us explain. For a second, just think about people in your life that love to have not one or two, but three or four drinks, sometimes every night. The person that loves to see you at Happy Hour, or that friend that loves getting a quick meal in the drive-thru lane, may not be the kind of people you want around on a daily basis if you are trying for certain goals.

If there are people around you that don’t mind making unhealthy choices and are totally okay with taking you on their journey, ask yourself: is that the path I want? If the answer is no, try to distance yourself from going to that Happy Hour, perhaps suggest bowling or karaoke, some kind of activity that doesn’t revolve around drinking.

Having a glass of wine or beer isn’t harmful, but it’s all about moderation and understanding that each glass carries loads of calories. If you’re going to go out to dinner think about what you rather have: a drink or dessert. Try opting for one indulgence instead of two.

4. Limit your social media time.


People have replaced being lazy on the couch to spending time on their phone. If you cut back on screen time and instead take a walk at the mall or around town, not only will you be more active, but you also won’t get bogged down with images that can sometimes be damaging to your self-esteem.

5. Be good to yourself: Leave inspirational notes around your house.


Since you have already journaled what your fitness goals are, remind yourself of what they are by making notes and placing them around your house. You don’t want to force yourself to go for a run if you’re not feeling it, but it would be nice to read a note that read: “you love the feeling of your hair blowing in the wind” or “that J.Lo song will really push you to get out there and do it.” It’s important that you stay motivated by being kind to yourself, not feeling bad if you didn’t work out, but know that you will try again tomorrow.

“Keep those sneakers by the front door, instead of in a closet, so they are ready to go,” a friend told me once. “It will remind you of your goal and keep you from procrastinating and losing momentum by searching for them.”

6. Don’t do exercises that are too difficult. Be active by doing activities that you enjoy.


Don’t believe that 2 months at Barry’s Bootcamp is going to change your life, although for some it might. The last thing you want is to cause harm to your body. We know plenty of people that push themselves to do CrossFit training and end up getting hurt.

If you love to dance, join dance classes or Zumba. If you love to walk but find it boring, go somewhere that it’s scenic. You can easily adjust your activity by doing things you like to do.

7. Follow inspirational, fitness-minded people on social media.


There are so many incredible people on social media that are great to follow, simply because they can provide tips and inspire you to be healthier. Robin Arzon is one of those people that knows how to balance her fitness account with a lot of fun and educational posts.

8. Be practical about your fitness goals.


Find what works best for you. Maybe self-motivating is tough and you need some accountability. Find a personal trainer that you can check in with once or twice and week and use what they teach you to continue your fitness journey for the rest of the week. Don’t worry about the number on the scale. Muscle weighs more than fat so the number will fluctuate depending on what exercises you are doing. It is all about how you feel in your own skin.

9. Think of that gym membership as a real investment in yourself.


“Another thing that’s been motivating me is how much I’m paying for my membership,” a friend, who’s recently lost weight and kept it off, told me. “I work out more often to make sure I get my money’s worth. I’m also looking at it as an investment in myself and my health instead of ‘damn I’m paying so much.'”

10. Don’t compare yourself to anyone, especially celebrities.


If you’re following Kim Kardashian and her sisters on Instagram while you’re trying to get fit, you’re only going to be doing yourself a disservice. Your body is yours, and no one else’s, nor should it look like anyone else’s. Figure out the goals you want to meet this year and work out towards those goals and your body.

11. Motivation is the spark but determination is the fuel.


Being motivated to work out and eat healthily is key. Being determined takes more energy, and that’s the energy you’re going to need to not lose sight of what you want in life.

12. Measure your foods.


It seems simple but this is one thing that can quickly be annoying. Remember that without proper balance you will just have a life without structure, and that can be really self-destructive. In order to eat what you want and avoid gaining weight try cutting out the excess. For example, if you’re craving fries, don’t go to McDonald’s and buy a large portion, instead go to the grocery store and buy sweet potato fries.

13. Do not get discouraged if you don’t see results right away.


You are creating a new lifestyle and eating habit. You aren’t doing something temporarily if you want to make big changes in your health and body.

“Go at your own pace,” a friend told me. “It takes time to see results so be patient. It took me some time to get used to a different way of eating and changing my diet but don’t give up. It’s all worth it in the end because diet plays a big role in achieving fitness goals.”

14. Have cheat days, but don’t go overboard.


Allow yourself to have some of the treats you love in moderation. Save those treats for a cheat day or cheat meal. We’ve been told that having a cheat day once a week is the way to go. “Sunday’s are the best day to do it,” a friend told me. “Typically when you have a cheat day on a Friday or Saturday it will carry over into the other weekend days.” So sticking to Sunday’s are best.

15. Don’t force yourself to eat healthy foods that you don’t like to eat. Stick to what tastes good.


Just because some diets require that you eat loads of greens doesn’t mean you have to. If you don’t like spinach don’t eat. If you like kale instead, stick to that. Eating foods that you don’t enjoy won’t make eating a good experience, but if you substitute them with healthy foods you do like, well that’s just a win-win.

16. Plan your workouts around your real schedule.


Don’t force an unnatural habit that you cannot sustain. Some find that working out at lunch during work is better for them. Some can wake up at 4 a.m. to work out before getting the kids off to school or starting work. It might even be better for you to work out after work in the evening at home. Do what is best for you that you can sustain.

17. Think of staying healthy without an end date: you’re making a lifestyle change.


If you tell yourself that after a certain date you will have met your goal and then go back to your old unhealthy ways, you can forget the whole thing right now. The point of being healthy is to stay healthy. Yes, it’s hard work, but you will ultimately feel better about yourself and wonder how you could have ever lived in any other way.

18. Name your biggest indulgence and alternate it in a way that will be healthy.


If you love the Real Housewives or binging on Netflix go right ahead and do it. However, why not watch TV while doing some sit-ups in front of the TV or lunges. Working out while watching TV will make you feel proactive.

If your vice is eating chocolate, try substituting it small pieces of dark chocolate. If you like wine, there are low-calorie wines on the market. There are always ways to take a bad thing and turn into a positive.

19. Take every other day off. If you’re tired, rest.


A huge part of being healthy is being good to yourself. It’s a great thing to push yourself to reach your goals, but being kind to yourself is sometimes harder than you think. Working out every other day is a good thing; resting and getting a good night’s sleep is also really good for your body and mental health.

20. Measure backward so you can see your progress.


Take a look at your accomplishments from the prior week and setting your goals for the following week to slightly improve those stats. So, if you’re seeking constant gradual improvement instead of trying to become a new person right away, you are slowly becoming a whole new you. 

Here’s an example on how to measure your progress backward, a goal this week could be to everyday unfold the yoga mat, sit on it and stretch. Then at the end of the week, look back and see if you actually did it. Give yourself bonus points for tracking visually on a calendar or something. If it went well, add two yoga poses to the goal for the next week. If it didn’t, re-adjust to attainable goals so you can follow through on them and celebrate the accomplishments.

21. Remember being healthier is about taking care of yourself so you can feel better.


You’re not losing weight just so you can impress the world with your new body. Don’t be that shallow! You want to be healthy so you can be happy. Life is too short to just sit around drinking all day, eating bad food, and watching TV. Once you realize how important you are, you’ll want to be out there living it.

READ: The Top Latino Fitness Bloggers You Need To Inspire Your Dieta 

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