Global Voices

Mexicans celebrate indigenous cuisine with an online healthy food challenge

Mexicans eat more processed food than most Latin American countries despite the country's nutritious indigenous dishes.
tlacoyo mexico

Tlacoyo, a pre-Hispanic dish that is making a comeback in contemporary Mexican cuisine. Photo: Padaguan/Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 4.0

A new online challenge in Mexico is encouraging people to eat healthy by returning to the nation's indigenous roots.

Under the hashtag #RetoTlacoyo, people share photos of tlacoyo, a nutritious pre-Hispanic snack consisting of corn tortilla filled with beans, lima beans and curd cheese (but ingredients tend to vary a lot).

The challenge was launched by Alianza por la Salud Alimentaria (Alliance for Health Nutrition), a civil society organization, as a way to encourage people to choose nutritious Mexican cuisine over junk food.

Reporte Indigo describes tlacoyo this way:

Según algunos registros, los españoles probaron los tlacoyos por primera vez en el tianguis de Tlatelolco y les gustó tanto, que incluyeron este alimento en su dieta, no sin antes agregarle productos derivados de la res y lácteos.

La composición básica de un tlacoyo es un pequeña empanada de maíz azul nixtamalizado rellena de frijoles, habas, alberjón, chicharrón o requesón. Se sirven cubiertos, a manera de complemento, con una mezcla de ingredientes como crema, queso, salsa, nopales, cebolla y cilantro.

According to some reports, the Spanish tried tlacoyos for the first time in the markets of Tlatelolco and they liked it so much that they included this dish in their diet, adding beef and dairy products to it.

The basic composition of the tlacoyo is a small, nixtamalized blue corn pie filled with beans, lima beans, grass peas, pork skins or curd cheese. As a complement, it is served covered with a mixture of ingredients such as cream, cheese, sauce, cactus, onion and coriander.

Obesity is a serious public health concern in Mexico, which consumes more ultra-processed foods than most Latin American countries.

Alianza por la Salud Alimentaria argues that the transition from the traditional Mexican diet to an industrialized one has contributed to the population's weight gain.

The promoters of #RetoTacloyo are sharing contributions on their official Twitter account:

Photo: Join the Tlacoyo Challenge. Value our cooking. WORLD HERITAGE. A highly-nutritious, non-expensive popular dish that contains some of the most important ingredients found in our diet. Embedded tweet: Tlacoyos from abroad…why should a Mexican lose the tradition of a good and healthy diet. Tlacoyos filled with lima beans and Mexican-style cactus salad.

The #RetoTlacoyo has spread beyond our national borders! 👏
👏👏
Photo from @jlo517 Thanks! pic.twitter.com/usSrIa6uhT

#retotlacoyo were delicious pic.twitter.com/B4WujHLRNH

#RetoTlacoyo with beans, cactus and peanut sauce pic.twitter.com/qfpHi0ejGO

On Instagram, users nutricionycocinamx and djchrisolive also joined the challenge and shared their photos:

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