What is heart healthy about the traditional Latino diet?
The traditional Latino diet provides a variety of foods that are lower in fat and sodium, such as bread, corn tortillas, beans, rice, vegetables, fruits, poultry, fish, and milk products.
What are some foods that we should eat less often?
We should limit foods that are high in saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, added sugar, and calories, including:
High-fat foods, such as refried beans, fried chicken, fatty meats, and high-fat cheeses
Salty foods, such as potato chips and taco chips
Foods such as pastries, cookies, and chocolate that are high in fat and added sugar
Candy and soft drinks that have added sugar
How can the heart healthy eating plan be used to choose heart healthy foods?
Use the heart healthy eating plan to choose foods that are lower in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, and added sugar from each of the five food groups. The eating plan also shows you the number of servings that you need from each group every day.
Why is it helpful to know how much you need to eat from each food group each day?
When you know the amount of food you need to eat every day, it can help you get the right amount of calories you need.
Ask: How are you doing on the pledges to include a variety of heart healthy foods in your diet? What went well? What kind of problems did you have (such as family not liking the change or showing a lack of interest)? What did you do to solve these problems? Note: Allow about 4 minutes for group members to respond.
About This Session
Say: Today you will learn how to eat in a heart healthy way – even when you have very little time and are on a tight budget. During this session, you will learn:
Quick and easy ways to prepare heart healthy meals
How to eat right when eating out
How to make smart food-buying choices that meet your family's needs and budget
How advertising can cause us to buy things that cost more or that we don't need
Eat in a Heart Healthy Way Even When There Is Little Time
Say: Many people have little time to shop, prepare food, and clean up after meals. This session will help you eat in a heart healthy way, even when you are in a rush.
Say: Busy people may think they don't have time to eat in a heart healthy way. These people may:
Skip breakfast and lunch, and eat one big meal in the evening.
Eat out several times per week.
Buy boxed, instant, or already-prepared foods.
Buy food from vending machines.
Ask: What foods do you eat when you don't have time to cook?
Note: Allow about 5 minutes for group members to respond. Write their answers on the blackboard or on a large piece of paper taped to the wall.
Say: Eating on the run often means that we are eating foods that are higher in fat, sodium, and calories. For example, we eat snacks and candy from vending machines or hotdogs and french fries from fast food restaurants.
Say: People often eat these foods because they are easy to buy or quick to prepare. When people are in a hurry, they often don't think about what kinds of food are heart healthy.
Say: They may also eat bigger portions of foods that are higher in fat and calories when there is no time to prepare healthy side dishes such as salad, vegetables, or rice.
Quick and Easy Meal Tips
Note: This part of the session will help group members to think about ways to prepare meals in less time.
Say: People often find that they are too tired to prepare the kinds of meals they would like their families to eat. Today, we will learn some ways to save time and make meal preparation easier.
Give each group member the “Tips for Busy Families” handout. Note: Show picture card 9.1 while you review the “Plan Your Meals” and “Use a Shopping List” sections of the handout. Show picture card 9.2 when you review the “Cook in Advance” section.
Ask for volunteers to read the tips aloud, one at a time. Allow group members to comment as the tips are read.
Ask: Would you find any of these tips difficult to do? Note: Allow 3 to 5 minutes for group members to respond.
Note: This activity will help group members think about creative ways that families can enjoy heart healthy meals even when time is limited.
Say: I am going to read a real-life situation. You can follow the story on the handout. Think about how Rosa can solve her problem.
Rosa is married and has two sons, aged 7 and 10. Her husband Tomás works Monday through Friday for a construction company. He leaves for work at 6:30 a.m. and gets home at 4 p.m. Rosa works Monday through Friday at a restaurant. She leaves home at 10 a.m. and gets home around 7 p.m.
Rosa prepares the family's dinner after she comes home from work every night. Many times, she is too tired to cook, so she often picks up a pepperoni pizza, hamburgers and fries, or fried chicken on her way home.
Rosa sees that the whole family is gaining weight. Tomás wants her to make traditional Latino dinners. Rosa tries to get her husband to help her with dinner, but he is also very tired. Besides, he thinks that cooking is the woman's job.
Ask each small group to discuss ways that Rosa can make sure that her family eats in a heart healthy way. Note: Allow about 5 minutes for the groups to come up with suggestions.
Ask one person from each group to present his or her group's suggestions to the others.
Add these ideas if they are not mentioned:
Rosa could cook two or three meals over the weekend and store them in the freezer.
She could make meals in a slow cooker (Crock-Pot®), which saves time during the evenings. Meals cook during the day and are ready when the family gets home.
Rosa's family could help her by putting casseroles (from the freezer or made the night before) into the oven before she gets home from work.
Several families could get together and share meals.
Rosa's family could help her by setting the table and doing the dishes.
Rosa could buy roasted chicken instead of fried chicken or burgers and fries.
She could buy vegetable pizza and salads instead of a meat pizza.
Note: This activity will teach group members how to make heart healthy choices at fast food restaurants.
Ask: Where do you eat when you eat out? Note: Allow about 3 minutes for group members to answer. Write their answers on the blackboard or on a large piece of paper taped to the wall.
Say: Many people eat at fast food restaurants because:
The food is served quickly.
The food tastes good.
The food is less expensive than food at sitdown restaurants.
Special food and toys appeal to children.
There may be a playground for children.
Say: Many fast foods can be higher in saturated fat, sodium, and calories, but you can choose healthier foods from the menu.
Show picture card 9.3. Keep it on display while you review the handout.
Ask for volunteers to read the suggestions on the handout aloud.
Say: Do you have other ideas for making heart healthy choices at restaurants? Note: Allow 2 or 3 minutes for group members to respond. Write their answers on the blackboard or on a large piece of paper taped to the wall.
Save Money on Your Food Bill
Ask: What do you do to save money on food? Note: Allow about 5 minutes for group members to respond. Write their answers on the blackboard or on a large piece of paper taped to the wall.
Say: There are things you can do to save money on your food bill. Let's go over a list of ideas.
Say: You can use this shopping list when you go to the store. Just check off or write on the blank lines what you want to buy.
Food Advertising Activity
Note: This section will help group members become more aware of how advertising can affect their food-buying decisions.
Say: Food advertising is big business.
Advertisements try to get adults and children to buy a certain product.
Advertising costs money. Billions of dollars are spent on food advertising. The people buying the food – the consumers – pay for this.
Nationally advertised items usually cost more than store brands and brands that are not nationally advertised.
Most people are more likely to buy items with fancy, eye-catching packaging.
People, especially Latinos, can be very loyal to certain brands. They will often buy these products even if they cost more.
Ask group members to describe advertisements that have caused them to buy certain products. Note: Allow about 3 minutes for group members to respond.
Review different advertising themes that are used to get people to buy food products. (Show or describe an example of the following advertising themes. Prepare these examples before the session.) Note: As you discuss the six themes, write them on the blackboard or on a large piece of paper taped to the wall. You will need these themes for the group activities.
Say: Popular advertising themes often focus on family, health, sex appeal, humor, appearance, or famous people.
Family Advertisers try to get you to use their products based on your love for your family. This works well with Latinos, because the family plays an important role in their lives. Ads with a family theme often target Latina women because of their role as family caregivers.
Health Some ads focus on the positive health effects of using certain products. This works because people care about their health.
Sex appeal Sex appeal sells products. Many people want to believe that they also will be beautiful and sexy if they use the advertised product.
Humor A funny situation often helps people remember a product.
Appearance Food advertisers show food that may look better than the real thing. This makes people want to try the product.
Famous people Famous people are used to sell products. Advertisers also can have a celebrity use a product in a television show or movie.
Note: This activity will help group members think about how advertising affects how we buy food.
Divide the group members into smaller groups, with about three to four people in each group. Give each group two to three advertisements that you have collected.
Say: I have given you real advertisements. Discuss with your group which themes are used in the advertisements. Note: Allow about 5 minutes for the group to come up with their ideas.
Ask one person from each group to present his or her group's ideas to the others.
Say: Advertising can be helpful, because it tells people about different products they can buy. But ads also can get people to buy products that they do not need or cannot afford or products that appear better than they really are.
Ask: What can you ask yourself when you are trying to decide what brand to buy? Note: Allow 4 to 5 minutes for group members to respond.
Add the following questions if they are not mentioned.
Do I really need it?
Is there a less expensive product that serves the same purpose?
Have I compared the product's nutrition label with an item that costs less?
Am I buying the product because it comes in a nice package?
Am I buying the product because the advertisement says it will make me look better or help me lose weight?
Am I buying it because I have a coupon or because it's on sale?
Can I afford it, even with a coupon?
Can I wait until it goes on sale?
Say: Even if you want to buy name brands, you can save money by buying the products when they are on sale.
Say: You have learned a lot today about eating in a heart healthy way even when you are on a budget or have little time. Now let's think about how you can apply what you have learned. Please think of one change you can make in your everyday life to eat in a heart healthy way while sticking to your budget. This will be your pledge for the week.
Say: Be specific about what you plan to do, how you plan to do it, and when you will start. Here are some examples:
I will use a shopping list the next time I go to the grocery store.
I will try a store-brand product the next time I go grocery shopping to see if my family likes it.
I will choose a restaurant that is not buffet style the next time I go out to eat.
I will plan my dinners for the next week, so that I do not eat fast food.
Note: Allow 5 minutes for group members to think of a pledge. Ask: Would anyone like to share his or her pledge with the group? Note: Write down pledge ideas on the blackboard or on a large piece of paper taped to the wall.
(Optional)Say: Keeping a personal value in mind can help you eat in a heart healthy way when you are on a tight budget or have little time. Remember that a personal value is a quality that you consider important. Today's value is gratitude. Gratitude can help you appreciate all of your own efforts to change, no matter how small they may be. Gratitude helps you to be thankful for those who help you change old habits and show you how to have a healthier lifestyle.
Ask: How could you use gratitude or another value to help you keep your pledge? Note: Allow 3 minutes for group members to share their thoughts.
Say: We will discuss the results of your pledges next week. Don't forget to work on your pledges to be more physically active; to cut back on salt and sodium, saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol; to reach and keep a healthy weight; to prevent or control diabetes; and to make heart healthy eating a part of your family life.
Say: Thank you for coming today. What did you think of today's session? Note: Allow a moment for group members to respond.
Say: I am looking forward to seeing you at the next session. The next session will be on living smoke free. Note: Think about today's session. What worked and what didn't work? Have you made any changes in your own life that were covered in today's session?
Information on this page is taken from the English print version of “Your Heart, Your Life, A Community Health Worker's Manual.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, NIH Publication No. 08-3674, Originally Printed 1999, Revised May 2008.