We Americans like to think of ourselves as a world leader, and in many respects we are. That unfortunately includes obesity. Sometimes, it can pay dividends to look around and see what your neighbors are doing and what you might learn from them. When it comes to eating healthy, out international friends can teach us plenty!
From Our Asian Friends
Citizens of countries like Japan and China enjoy a fairly low rate of obesity for several reasons. One reason is that they eat much smaller portions than we in the U.S. do. Typical Asian dietary staples are also extremely healthy. Take sushi, for example. It’s low in saturated fats, high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It’s also packed with Omega-3 fatty acids from the fish. Rice is a good source of carbohydrates that’s also very filling, while seaweed and tofu are full of protein.
From Our Scandinavian Friends
Many Scandinavian cities are laid out for walking and cycling, thus giving citizens a workout on their way to and from work. Scandinavian folks also eat a lot of fish, which is a great source of protein without excess fat. They also maintain active, healthy lifestyles, in contrast to the relatively sedentary lifestyles many Americans lead.
From Out Mediterranean Friends
Inhabitants of Mediterranean nations like France, Italy, and Greece eat a great variety of vegetables and herbs, many times shopping for fresh local produce to use in meal prep. They use healthy fat, like olive oil, in their foods and employ very balanced eating habits. They rarely eat processed foods. They also eat more slowly and really savor their food, which makes food more satisfying. And they show restraint in their in-between-meal snacking, staying away from sugary snacks.
A Few Other Tips
- Eat at home more than you eat out. (Poland)
- Chow down on the rice and beans. (Brazil)
- Using spices can make food more satisfying. (Asia)
- Get nutty. Nuts are loaded with protein and healthy fat, making them a good replacement for fatty meats. (Africa)
- Go large at lunch. Make lunch the biggest meal of the day. This will give you more time to break all that food down. (Europe and Mexico)