Like probably every other Latino in the world, I grew up eating meat. Lots and lots of meat.

Lunch and dinners around my house pretty much consisted of a lot of rice, beans, and some kind of fried steak or chicken. With a diet like that, it's no wonder that so many of us suffer from diabetes, heart disease and are 1.2 times more likely to be obese than non-Hispanic whites, according to the Office of Minority Health. To be honest, the concern with weight management is the number one reason that I try to eat more vegetables--but getting my family to do the same is ONE BIG STRUGGLE. 

Read more ¿Que Mas? Vegetarian Awareness Week: 10 Latin recipes that'll make you forget meat!

You don't have to be struggling with obesity to know that eating more fruits and veggies is healthier for you. Unfortunately for me and my family, we tend to put on weight pretty easily. I struggled with being overweight my whole life, until I finally got a gastric bypass to help me keep the weight off. Now I keep off 100 pounds and, to be honest, a big part of that for me is eating vegetarian. 

Getting my family to do the same and take care of their health, though, is a WHOLE other issue. I really want my parents to live to a very old age, which I'm afraid really isn't going to happen if they keep eating the food we grew up with and all of the processed junk that's added into our diets now, too. So how do I get them to eat a diet that's a little healthier and has a few more greens?

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Well, pestering them to eat more fruits and vegetables certainly isn't working. I can tell them again and again what to do, how to do it and why it's important but it's never going to work if they're not interested. So what's my secret? Actually COOKING the food myself!

That's right, the easiest way to get my family to eat vegetarian is to put the food in front of them. The other key is to make delicious Latin vegetarian dishes, like the one of the 10 Latin recipes that I guarantee will make you forget meat! I also try to incorporate more veggie-friendly sides, like serving some spinach along with that bistec, arroz con frijoles, and maduros.

It's maybe not the best system but I find that it's becoming increasingly important for me to make sure that my family is eating the healthiest diet possible. If that means a couple of extra nights in the kitchen and learning to make new recipes, then so be it--cause that's how I'm going to get my family to eat more vegetables.

Does your family eat vegetables? Share with us in the comments below!

Image via Irina Gonzalez

About the author

Irina Gonzalez is a Staff Writer for MamásLatinas. She loves pop culture, social media, photography and, above all, discovering new places. She's also a foodie eating healthy and learning to enjoy exercise.

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