Healthy Eating Tips from Other Cultures

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At Farm to Fit, we love learning and experimenting when it comes to food. Whether it's intermittent fasting or the paleo diet, we're down to try it. We love Portland, and we source our ingredients locally as much as possible. We also believe that sometimes it's great to look outward, and get ideas for healthy eating from other cultures. In that spirit, we've compiled a list of some healthy eating tips from other cultures.

France: Small Portions

The French eat small portions

According to American ex-pat writer living in Provence, Elizabeth Bard, "a French portion is half what an American portion might be and takes three times as long to eat." While the French typically eat multiple courses, including a cheese course and dessert, the small portion sizes paired with the lingering they tend to do at the dinner table mean they don't leave the table feeling stuffed, but instead satiated.

Spain: Snacking on Nuts

Healthy snacks

In the Mediterranean diet, nuts play a big role. It's important that they're not overly salted or candied, but unsalted nuts and dried fruit make excellent, healthy snacks that the Spaniards are known for. Next time you're thinking of a snack, do like the Spanish do and reach for nuts, fruit, or vegetables instead of chips.

Japan: Artful Presentation

Japanese sushi presentation

Japanese meals are known for being presented thoughtfully and artistically, which can translate to smaller portions and a more healthy approach. Giving some time to presentation on the plate, as well as pausing for a moment to appreciate it before chowing down, is a healthy habit worth taking on.

Russia: Home Grown

Home grown vegetables

In the former Soviet Union, many Russians grew their own produce in country homes called "dachas." This tradition continues today, where it is estimated 40 percent of Russia's food comes from dacha gardens. Growing your own food is one way to ensure you'll be mindful of what you eat. (Not to mention proud!)

Finland: Vegetable Oil FTW

Cooking with vegetable oil

Finland used to be a notoriously unhealthy country, with the highest rates of coronary heart disease among men being the highest in the world in the 1960's. However, the government intervened with a variety of programs, including requiring farmers to produce a new variety of oilseed that made vegetable oil widely available in the region for the first time. The rates of heart disease fell. Next time you're cooking, think of Finland and reach for the vegetable oil rather than butter.

India: Spice it Up

Spicy food dish

Indian cuisine makes heavy use of spices such as turmeric, ginger, and red pepper, which is proven to help people lose weight. In addition to the enjoyment of being flavorful, making food spicy can also cause you to eat slower, which is always a plus!

Ethiopia: Eat with Your Hands

Eating with your hands

In Ethiopia, food is served communally. They use injera, a type of flatbread high in vitamin C and protein, as a vessel for bringing food to the mouth. While eating with your hands isn't always possible with American cuisine, it can be great to try sometimes, as it might make you more mindful as you eat.

Mexico: Focus on Lunch

Mexican lunch dish

Traditionally, in Mexico, almuerzo is a midday meal that's the largest of the day. Doing as the Mexicans do an having a hearty lunch can stave off afternoon snacking, while also giving you a chance throughout the day to burn off calories consumed.