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Can You Make Hispanic Food Keto?

Adapting My Favourite Hispanic Foods to a Keto Diet Has Helped Me Cope With the Times

A top view of a Cuban food plate that includes yellow rice (arroz con pollo), ropa vieja, fried plantain, white rice and black beans. Shown on a wooden platter with tropical background.

Since I've been home 24/7 social distancing, admittedly I have gained a few extra pounds. I owe this to the comfort I find in eating typical Hispanic foods — nachos, rice and beans, tostones, ceviche — you name it and I've probably had it in the past couple of months. Tapping into my heritage, even if it's just with the food I consume, brings me happiness and joy in these uncertain times.

However, I noticed that I wasn't being as healthy as I wanted to be, so I set my mind to find a happy middle. After experimenting a little, I was sold: I was going to make my favourite Hispanic foods keto.

See, typical Hispanic foods are normally comprised of two of the best parts of life: carbs and fats. I decided I needed one or the other and have since opted for fats, modifying my carb intake significantly to practice a low-carb, keto-friendly approach to food.

I am still having all of my favourite Hispanic comfort foods such as tacos — which I make using the Siete Tortillas shells — and tostones (enter: breadfruit tostones, the best low-carb invention ever). I even incorporate rice into my meals at times — Miracle Noodle rice that is, a no-carb alternative that is not a favourite but I prefer it over cauliflower rice.

The good part about a low-carb, higher fat approach is that you can have one of the most decadent foods of all time: queso! I add it to many dishes, in moderation and sometimes in excess. There's no need to skip the cotija cheese on your favourite enchiladas, and you can even make taco shells out of cheddar cheese for Taco Tuesday.

I've found a way to moderate my carb intake while still feeling like mamá (could have) made my meals, and therefore manage my weight gain (as much as I can and without being hard on myself). I'm sharing this in hopes you realise that indulging in the comfort foods that remind you of home doesn't have to be totally unhealthy.

After all, eating habits during COVID-19 are varied, and there's no one size fits all — with the exception of the size of a banana bread, which is always the perfect fit.

Image Source: Getty / Sonia Tapia
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