The food that people eat in the United States has changed over time due to the population growing to include to encompass many different cultural and ethnic groups. As a result, there is diversity in eating habits and food preferences (Kittler & Sucher, 1989). This report is based on the research carried to establish nutrition practices among three biggest ethnic groups in America. The groups are Asian Indians that is one of the fastest growing group immigrants in the U.S. the second one is the African-American, numerically the biggest group of minority and lastly the Mexican Americans (Latinos).
Culture was played a very important role in defining the nutrition practices of each ethnic group. They have their own culturally based foods that have been passed on as traditions having been influenced and adapted through contact with the typical culture.
Nutrition practices among African-Americans
This group’s diet was based partly on certain health beliefs passed on through generations and still being practiced currently. Other factors included socio-economic status and levels of education (Kittler & Sucher, 1989). Traditional African-American fare also known as soul food was as discussed. The first category was a variety of green leafy vegetables like mustard, kales, spinach, collard, turnip, among others, generally refereed to as greens. Corn was the mainstay food item and was served with vegetable plate together with sliced cooked or raw spring onions. Grains such as grits, rice, biscuits, muffins, cornbread and macaroni were also vey basic. Starchy vegetables like dried beans, peas. The beans could be served with pork, corn and sweet popular as a popular meal. All these meals are of high protein content. The popular combination was rice with black-eyed peas, rd kidney rice and beans and lima beans with corn (succotash). There were also meats that were often fried after being breaded. They included pork and beef cuts, fish, poultry, tongue, tripe and oxtail. Another choice that was popular included buttermilk and whole milk, commonly referred to as sweet milk.
Nutrition practices among Asian Indians
Qureshi (1981) observes that the group is largely depended upon their religions and region of origin to determine their nutrition practices. They had many religions, Hinduism being the most predominant. Islam was the second, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Judaism followed in that order. Due to this, the follower of this diverse religions practiced different dietary laws according to their respective religions. Different codes of feasting and fasting heavily influenced their patterns of eating.
Among this group there are those who have abandoned their old eating habits due staying in America for long. They could use Americans’ or other ethnic groups’ delicacies as their main meals. These meals included: doughnuts, cookies and other western pastries (Algert, 1998). Nevertheless, their typical meals steal remain ghee and butter. They have continued to consume flat bread (chappati), rice, dhal (spiced lentil fish), yoghurt, and curried vegetables. There was also a reported increase in consumption of meat, poultry, fish, grain breads, fruits, potato chips,, non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages (as opposed to water) upon immigration to the united sates of America. A major finding in their eating practices was that has changed to one characterized by low fiber, high levels of saturated fat and higher-fat animal protein from earlier high-fiber and low-fat foods.
Nutrition practices among Mexican Americans
Among the group, food was a big part. The contemporary diet of Mexican Americans (Hispanics) was heavily influenced by the traditional dietary patterns of their native countries. Some had also adopted the eating practices of the communities in which they lived in (Algert, 1998). due to this there existed regional differences among Hispanic subgroups basing on both the mode of food preparation and their dietary composition.
However, many Mexican Americans still retained their core elements of traditional diet despite heterogeneous ancestral backgrounds. They heavily relied on beans and grains. Additionally, they incorporated fresh fruits and vegetables as part of their popular culture. Their dietary behaviors were influenced by family life that traditionally occupied a central position in their culture (Qureshi, 1981). Thus they preferred preparing their meals at home and eating together as a family. Typically, their traditional diet was made up of plenty of legumes and grains. This was very lower in cholesterol and fat.
To sum up my report, I came to realize that other that the socio-economic status of different ethnic groups, culture played a great role in determining the nutritional practices of different ethnic groups.
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