I think that almost everyone is now interested in a healthy diet and in a healthier lifestyle. I believe you’ve also noticed that nutritional habits change a lot from country to country. Let alone from continent to continent… I imagine that every time you visit a country or another continent, you crave something different from what you usually eat, and apart from the culture, discover some new and different flavors.
Now, those of you that care a lot for your diet and almost never get out of your healthy eating plan, will love the ideas that I’m going to share with you in this diary!
Europe – Italy
The Mediterranean diet is definitely something that characterizes the particular country, just like our own! Our neighboring country is one that we regularly visit and in fact, one that has many common characteristics with ours, regarding cooking and its traditional cuisine. As we mentioned before, Italians also follow the Mediterranean diet, they love olive oil, vegetables, legumes, cheese -like mozzarella- but also herbs, like oregano and thyme. Do not restrict yourselves only to pizzas and pasta during your visit there. I prepared for you a Caprese chicken and broccoli, to see how a healthy dish can be tasty at the same time.
Asia – China
Asia is the largest continent in which there are many different cuisines that you can try…More specifically, it has Japanese, Korean, Indian, Thai, Israeli, and Vietnamese cuisine. There, they also use a variety of foods like rice, noodles, legumes, plenty of seafood and vegetables, but also plenty of spices (mainly in India). Of course, in each country the recipes can vary a lot. The sure thing is that all these different cuisines can give us plenty of nutrient-dense dishes that contain vitamins, minerals, and they’ll make us feel full without filling us with extra calories. I would suggest you try seafood noodles or shrimp and broccoli noodles as they are complete meals, high in protein and good sources of fiber.
Africa - Ethiopia
Despite the fact that Africa’s recipes are not that widespread in Greece, in most countries of this continent, they have one of the healthiest diets in the world. The dishes that we meet in African cuisine are low in saturated fats, salt, and processed foods. Something that I believe you like a lot and, for this reason, I prepared for you, is the easy Ethiopian flatbread-Injeras. They can be combined with lentils, kale, spinach, chickpeas, hummus, and of course plenty of different salads. Try it either when you visit a restaurant with African cuisine or by simply making my recipe in your kitchen!
America – Mexico
America is definitely a continent whose cuisine you have to try, as it has a wide variety of foods and diets. Surely, a great part of this continent follows a pretty unhealthy diet, since the food portions are usually large and rich in saturated fats and sugars. However, there are a few healthy choices if, for examples, you visit Mexico. There, you will be able to try some healthy dishes, except for the burritos and the nachos that we usually meet in Mexican cuisine. Mexicans use beans, chili peppers, and rice a lot. Try this Mexican quinoa and these Mexican black beans that I prepared for you and you’ll see what I mean. ;)
Oceania – New Zealand
Oceania is one more continent where there are plenty of different eating habits. According to the 2011-2013 Australian Health Survey, 92% of Australians do not eat enough vegetables and 49% do not eat enough fruits. Moreover, it seems that they consume a lot of cheese and dairy products, juices, but also desserts; in fact, pavlova is considered a dessert that originates from this continent. For this reason, I prepared a light version for you to try guilt-free. Of course, we all know that when you get to the particular continent, you’ll try several different versions of this dessert…that won’t be so innocent!
As you see, there are many different cuisines all over the world! If you are on holidays or getting ready to go, and if you follow a balanced eating plan or not – believe me – it is worth trying all the above recipes.
This article was written in collaboration with Kitchen Lab’s Sports Nutritionist Anna Maria Volanaki, MSc, BDA, SENr.