Festival Foods in the Immigrant Diet

Dietary acculturation for immigrant groups has largely been attributed to the “Westernization” of indigenous diets, as characterized by an increased consumption of unhealthy American foods (i.e. fast foods, hamburgers). However, acculturation and adoption of western dietary habits may not fully explain new dietary patterns among racial/ethnic minority immigrants. The immigrant diet may change in such a way that it elaborates on specific ethnic traditions in addition to the incorporation of Western food habits. In this paper, we explore the role that festival foods, those foods that were once eaten a few times a year and on special occasions, play in the regular diet of immigrants to the U.S. This paper will focus on the overconsumption of ethnic festival foods, which are often high in carbohydrates, animal protein, sugar and fat, as opposed to Western “junk” food, as an explanation for the increased risk of cardiometabolic disorders among new immigrant groups.