least expensive nutrient (when compared to carbohydrate and protein) and provides for
greater satiety (feeling of "fullness" after eating) than both carbohydrate and protein."
e. Physical Condition. The patient may not feel well enough or strong enough
to eat. Encourage the patient to eat without forcing him to do so. Encourage him to
feed himself, so that he will not feel helpless.
f. Cultural Heritage. Food preferences are closely tied to culture and religion.
Understanding these preferences will enable you to assist the patient in reaching and
maintaining good nutritional health.
(1) African-Americans. Food habits may be based on West Indian, African,
or regional American influences. The majority of African-Americans are lactose
intolerant and avoid milk but can tolerate cheese, yogurt, and ice cream. African-
Americans who have been in the US for many generations have similar eating patterns
to other Americans. Their diets are rich in fat, salt, sugar, and starches. Those who
have recently immigrated to the US eat the staple rice and bean combination, yams,
and tropical fruits.
(2) Hispanic-Americans. The Hispanic population is thought to be 60
percent Mexican, 18 percent Central and South American, 15 percent Puerto Rican,
and 7 percent Cuban. They are a varied group having different food habits.
(a) Mexican-Americans eat tortillas, rice and beans with most meals.
Meats are heavily spiced, and often chopped or ground. Adults use limited amounts of
milk and milk products, but enjoy sweet baked desserts, sweetened beverages such as
hot chocolate and carbonated drinks.
(b) Puerto Ricans tend to adopt American food habits. Traditional
meals include white rice cooked with lard and served with beans. Some practice the
"hot-cold" theory in the treatment of illness with food.
(c) Cuban-Americans use rice and beans extensively and meat is
served if income is sufficient. Children drink milk but adults use milk only in coffee.
(3) Chinese-Americans. A common dietary principle is "Fan-tsai." Fan is
the grain and tsai are the vegetables or other items served at the meal. Chinese-
Americans obtain 80 percent of their calories from grains and 20 percent from
vegetables, fruits, animal protein, and fats. Most adults dislike milk and cheese.
Lactose intolerance is common.
(4) Japanese-American. Most Japanese-American's eating habits are
Westernized. Traditional meals are light and little animal fat is used. The major starch
used is rice. Meals contain fish, soup, fresh or pickled vegetables, and tea.