You may think that with all that beef, facturas, alfajores and dulce de leche ice cream the Argentinean diet is an artery-clogger. You would be right – we have much room for improvement, but there are a few things you can take from us that will boost up your diet.
What can you learn from Argentinean food culture? Well, a good part of Argentineans are very health conscious and prefer to avoid grassy foods and to go easy with sweets. Not all Argentineans eat beef and medialunas everyday… So, here are some aspects you should copy:
- Eat at home. Argentineans eat most meals at home with their family. This helps you control food portions, to avoid added fats and sodium from restaurant food and promotes dialogue with your loved ones.
- Keep it simple. Enjoy the simplicity of minimally processed real ingredients. Argentineans don’t add mayonnaise or butter to everything… Instead of creamy salad dressing, just use vinegar and olive oil for your salad; instead of putting butter to a steak, just add a little chimi churri or only some pepper. Learn to enjoy the flavor of the food itself with clean crisp dishes.
- Choose lean cuts of beef. Lean cuts of beef can have as little as 1% fat (much less than a chicken thigh). Some lean cuts are: peceto, lomo, bola de lomo, cuadril, cuadrada, nalga, bife angosto, etc. Plus, some Argentinean beef is from pastures making a leaner meat, that it’s lower in saturated fat and cholesterol and with more content of healthy omega 3 fatty acids than cows from feed lots.
- Drink mate. This herbed infusion is not only drank for its unique flavor, but also because it’s a ritual of sharing. It’s an energizing drink and some investigations suggest that it might help maintain your weight.
If you are coming to Argentina or if you are already living here, you may have some concerns about food and nutrition. Wondering where to find vegetarian options? Worried about food safety? Looking for kosher? How to order gluten free? What about organics? There is a new nutritionist-led app –Eat Well Argentina– that has exclusive information on what to eat, where to eat and how to eat well when traveling to or living in Argentina. Healthy, authentic recipes by local chefs, in English and Spanish, and vocabulary with audio files are also included in this app available for Ipod, Ipad or Android.
Eat well & enjoy Argentinean food!
– Romina Defranchi