The delicious (and nutritious) flavours of South America

After an awe-inspiring trip abroad, Bupa Dietitian Rosalyn D’Angelo has returned with a mind full of fresh and flavoursome nutrition ideas, and a burning desire to add a little extra lime to her life! Here’s how you can too.

I’ve just returned from a month in South America and Mexico and absolutely fell in love with the landscape, people and of course the food. Seeing new cultures and witnessing how other people live leaves me inspired to mix my own food intake up a bit and experiment with new recipes back home.

I think I had about 20 serves of Ceviche in the month, and don’t regret one single mouthful. Fish, shrimp or scallops marinated in lime/lemon and pepper - what’s not to love. It reminded me that salt is such a one-dimensional flavour, and that lemon juice, pepper, garlic, onion and vinegar can add so much more dimension to dishes we prepare at home. Interestingly, the citric acid in the lime or lemon juice causes the proteins in the fish to become denatured, so although it’s not cooked, it’s not really raw either! Try this snapper and mango coconut ceviche - perfect for a warm summer’s night with friends.

Ceviche in Mexico

We spent a bit of time in Peru where Quinoa hails from. High in protein and naturally gluten free, it has quickly taken off in Australia. Add it to salads, experiment with quinoa porridge for breakfast or try this amazing chargrilled Mexican vegetable quinoa jar.

I also came across purple corn for the first time in Peru. Purple foods are rich in antioxidants (think blueberries and eggplant), and purple corn is no different. Rich in carbohydrates and high in fibre, any variety of corn is a great one to include in your diet. Homemade corn fritters and air popped popcorn are both favourites of mine. Check out my colleague Gemma’s recipe for savoury pikelets with smashed avocado and feta.

In Rio de Janeiro, Acai bowls were on nearly all the menus as Acai Palm is native to Brazil. Watch out for added sugar in the acai bowls back home but in its natural state, this fruit is a fantastic source of fibre and antioxidants.

Market in Peru

Churrasco is a term used for grilled meat, and Brazil is famous for its churrascaria (AKA steakhouses). As someone who doesn’t eat a lot of red meat, I was a little hesitant, but my goodness they know how to cook it and it was amazing. Lean red meat is a great source of protein, iron and zinc, but not something we need too much of. My blood iron levels were certainly restored upon my return to Australia, and I tried to balance out the meals by choosing the lean cuts and enjoying them with plenty of vegetables.

Mexican ingredients such as lime juice, coriander, pepper, avocado and corn tortillas are some of my favourite flavours. I’ve already cooked these charred fish tacos with tomatilla salsa verde since I’ve been home. Check out this Huevos rancheros recipe, a dish which I enjoyed for breakfast on more than a couple of occasions!

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