Consequently, malnutrition is not uncommon among their children. Also, Puerto Rican children born in the United States may have adopted favorite mainland foods such as hamburgers, hot dogs, canned spaghetti, and cold cereals instead of the traditional Puerto Rican food prepared by their mothers. If these children have picked up the mainland habit of snacking on nutrient-light foods, they may be more poorly nourished than people adhering to the relatively inexpensive but nutritionally adequate traditional diet of Puerto Rico.

Nutritionists encourage Puerto Ricans living in northern mainland cities to become familiar with different fruits, which are inexpensive when they are in season or canned; to use more milk, cheese, and inexpensive cuts of meat; and to substitute canned tomatoes for fresh tomatoes, which are expensive when not in season.

Middle Eastern People

Middle East people—Greeks, Iranians, Arabs, Turks, Armenians, and Lebanese—tend to be farmers. Dietary emphasis is on crops and animals raised—cattle, sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, geese, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Lamb holds the position of the favored meat, and wheat products, grains, and rice are the major energy sources. Popular dairy foods, derived from sheep, goats, and camels, are sour milk, including yogurt, fermented milk, and sour cream.

Lentils and beans may be boiled or stewed with tomatoes, onions, and olive oil; they may be eaten alone or mixed with other foods. A favorite combination is seasoned chick-peas mixed with bulgur (wheat that has been steamed, cracked, and fried) and spices and then fried in fat.

Traditional vegetables include okra, squash, tomatoes, onions, leeks, peppers, spinach, brussel sprouts, cabbage, peas, green beans, dandelion greens, eggplant, artichokes, and olives. Grape leaves, used either fresh or canned, are stuffed with rice, bulgur, meat, and seasoning.

Fruits grown in these warm climates are used extensively. Some common ones are dates, figs, melons, cherries, oranges, apricots, and raisins.

Common Middle Eastern cereals include rice, wheat, and barley. Typical breads are flat, thin, and round and may be baked outdoors. Olive oil and butter from sheep's and goat's milk are used generously. Turkish coffee, a favorite beverage in the Middle East, is a strong, dark drink containing the crushed coffee bean that is served with a

Table 3. Characteristic Chinese Food Choices

Protein foods

Milk and milk products

Grain products





Flavored milk


Bamboo shoots


Soy sauce


Milk (cooking)




Sweet and


Ice cream

White bread



sour sauce

Organ meats

The Mediterranean Diet Meltdown

The Mediterranean Diet Meltdown

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