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Melissa's Musings: Hispanic Heritage Month

Updated: Oct 28, 2022

From Dr. Melissa Prest, Foundation Dietitian

This month we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and the wonderful foods and flavors of Latin countries. A Latin American diet is a blend of four major cultures including indigenous people (Aztecs, Incas, Mayans, and other Native Americans), the Spanish, Portuguese, and continental Africans. Typical foods included in the diet are maize (corn), potatoes, peanuts, vegetables, fruits, rice, herbs and spices, and beans. For those Latin Americans who moved away from their traditional foods and adopted a Western style diet, their overall health declined. For example, diabetes, a risk for chronic kidney disease, occurs more in Latin Americans than in non-Hispanic whites who consume a Western style diet.

People with kidney disease have often been told to limit foods like potatoes, nuts, and beans which are common in a Latin American diet. Research has shown that patients with kidney disease can still include these foods in their diet with some help from their kidney dietitian. The phosphorus found in nuts and beans is not well absorbed with people only getting about 30-40% of phosphorus in these foods. By soaking and boiling, we can reduce the amount of potassium in potatoes and beans which allows people following a lower potassium diet to include these commonly high potassium foods. If you need help including your culture foods in your kidney diet, contact our Foundation Dietitian, Dr. Melissa Prest, to help guide you.

Rice with Green Chiles

Serves: 6 servings

Per serving: Calories 75, Protein 2 g, Sodium 216 mg, Potassium 161 mg, Phosphorus 14 mg


1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies

1/3 cup chopped tomatillos

2 TBSP green onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 cups low sodium chicken broth

2 TBSP olive oil

1 1/2 cups long-grain rice


  1. Blend green chilies, tomatillos, garlic, green onions, and broth until liquid.

  2. Heat olive oil in a saucepan and add rice. Sautee until opaque, about 5 minutes.

  3. Add broth mixture to rice and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 18 - 20 minutes, or until water is absorbed.

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