Healthy Cookout Creations – A Multicultural Style

The summer months are always a great time to start up the grill and invite over friends and family! The problem is, while all of the food is delicious, barbeque and all of its accoutrement add up to be a not-so-nutritious splurge. To rectify this, we’re providing you with three recipes that can help you keep the flavor you crave while eliminating the fat and calories you don’t. 

Hawaiian Skewers

Hawaiian Skewers


  • 1-2 packages of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 14oz cans of pineapple chunks
  • 2 sweet onions, any variety
  • ½ cup Barbeque sauce
  • Lime juice
  • Wooden or metal skewers (if you’re using wooden, don’t forget to soak them in cold water!)


The beauty of this recipe is that you can make it up to a day in advance. Cut up the chicken and onions into chunks. Place the pieces in a bowl and pour the pineapple chunks, and a quarter of their juice, on top of the chicken and onions. Squeeze barbeque sauce and lime juice (to your liking) on top of ingredients and mix. Arrange the chicken, pineapple, and onion on the skewers. Refrigerate for at least an hour, then grill away!

Greek Yogurt Coleslaw

Greek Yogurt Coleslaw

  • ½ cup nonfat, plain Greek yogurt
  • 3½ tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • 16 ounces (about 6¼ cups) bagged coleslaw blend or shredded cabbage


In a small bowl, combine Greek yogurt, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper and whisk until smooth and thoroughly combined. Place slaw blend/cabbage in a large bowl and pour Greek yogurt dressing mixture over top. Stir to coat cabbage thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate until using (preferably at least 30 minutes)

Recipe from

Red, White, and Blue Fruit Salad

Red, White, and Blue Fruit Salad


  • ​4 cups sliced strawberries
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 2 cups diced watermelon
  • 1 cup diced jicama (or apple)
  • 1½ tablespoons lime juice
  • 1½ tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon minced mint
  • ⅛ teaspoon chipotle chili powder (optional)


Place strawberries, blueberries, watermelon, and jicama in a large bowl. In a small bowl, stir together lime juice, honey, mint, and chili powder. Pour over fruit and toss to coat.

Recipe from

Credits belong to rightful owner.


A Chinese Way of Living


In this day, many Asian cultures have some Chinese influences in them whether it is food, religion, holidays, lifestyles, and such. You don’t have to be a certain race or ethnicity to live a bicultural lifestyle. It is about combining cultures together in positive ways. Here are some things you can do to incorporate some Chinese ways of living:

  • A common thing found in across Asian cultures that originated in China is tea. There are many varieties of them and ways to consume tea. Teas can be enjoyed during different occasions and are versatile in what you can do with them. Also, they are easily found anywhere and can be made at home.
  • Many Chinese cuisine nowadays are Americanized so they don’t taste as well and authentic. So other ways to enjoy them is seeking out local small Chinese owned restaurants, Asian groceries, flea markets/towns, and having connections to Chinese communities/friends/families. You may be able to see how they’re made and will be more likely to taste true Chinese cuisine.
  • Chinese medicines are very popular, especially among the older generations because of its healthy benefits. Many traditional Chinese medicines are a mix of herbs, plants, roots, and such. Trying them out could be an healthier alternative and more natural process of eliminating sicknesses.
  • Tai Chi is a form of Chinese martial arts and is known to be good for the body and mind. It helps the body exercise, relax, and destress. Anyone can take part of it and it can be done with a group or solo.

Bicultural Birthday Party Ideas

A Bicultural Birthday Party Ideas copy

There are fun ways to make parties multicultural. It allows adults and kids to share experiences from different aspects of other kinds of cultures. Also, it is one of the best ways to introduce others to new kinds of things. Here are a few how-to:

  • Cater different kinds of food. Whether it is American, Asian, French, Indian, or Spanish food, everyone will enjoy it. The best part is that everyone will get a taste of something that is not usually from their own culture. Variety is the key to allow other to discover what they may or may not like.
  • Incorporate different fun activities! For example, a piñata is very popular in the U.S. for birthday parties. This type of activity can be found among many Hispanic cultures and has been adopted into other cultures as well. Other games and activities are pin the donkey tail, musical chairs, charades, bingo, thumbs up, and more, etc.
  • Dress up parties are another way for people to physically experience a culture. Whether it is formal, traditional, or a theme color, it can allow creativity and participation from all the guests.
  • Music is a big part of all cultures and usually, parties have a playlist, a dj, a live band, or some form of music to entertain the guests. Some of them is to allow just for hearing, entertainment, and group dances.

There are many other ways to make parties fun and innovative. The more ideas and activities that a party can have, it will encourage more participation and entertainment for the host(s) and the guests. The main part is to make sure everyone have a great time!

Postcard of the Week: Bicultural Healthy Living


The spread of cultural awareness, acceptance, and knowledge has continue to rise as society become more open towards different kinds of people. Today we celebrate all kinds of things; such as holidays, ethnic identities, and more. Embracing our differences is what brings people together. Here are some ways you can experience different cultures:

  • Eat ethnic food! It’s fun, fast,y and will allow you to really test your palate. Also, it’s easy to access (global markets, groceries, restaurants) or make on your own.
  • Research about or attend a museum dedicated to the group. It’ll help give you historical, cultural, and facts about the culture you’re interested in.
  • Interact with people from those cultures! Best experience for you to understand another culture on a deeper level is talk to the people from that culture. They can give you more information that you wouldn’t find by yourself.
  • Listen to their music! Most likely that another culture may speak a different language or the same, but with a bit of difference. Listening to their music can give you an understanding what they like, value, and how they celebrate.
  • Understand their native environment! It has a lot to do with how the group developed and use their environment in terms of their food, clothes, housing, hunting, traditions, and more.

Remembering Where We Came From


Many of us came from our parents and our parents came from their parents and so on. Everyone must’ve came from somewhere in the world to get to the place that they are now. As time passes on, we can forget our cultural roots and traditions that has faded due to many reasons. Such as assimilation, none to very little exposure to our own cultural heritage, or/and untold/forgotten stories, values, folktales, and traditions.

Thankfully, we have many resources nowadays if we want to learn where our ancestors come from, where they live, and such. But the real reason why it’s important to know your own cultural background is because it has to do with your identity. It is about learning more about your ancestors and understanding that as an individual, you and everyone else all connect somehow and are a part of a bigger world.

For example, the struggles of our ancestors directly impacts us how we may live life or make decisions today because we learn from our right and wrong choices. Idealistically, people like to become more advanced/better over time and without our ancestors going through the challenges that we didn’t have to, our present lives was made easier by little factors.

Some people in your life like your parents, grandparents, and elderly relatives had to go through hard times to provide for their families and themselves. Whether it was giving up their own education to find a job, leaving their home country to emigrate to a different country, sacrificing their time to invest in their offspring, and shedding blood, sweat, and tears for the sake that everyone present today has a better life and more opportunities.

Also, it is thanks to our ancestors that today the world have so many different kinds of ethnic groups, languages, religions, civilizations, and intellectual knowledge about life, space, animals, and more. Our ancestors made some impact in the future where we can arguably say that we do live in a better world in some aspects.


Hmong Americans

According to the 2010 U.S. Census the eighth largest Asian American populations in Minnesota are the Hmong, Asian Indian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Filipino, Laotian, and Cambodian communities. Specifically, 27 percent of the total population identify themselves as Hmong, 15.5 percent are Asian Indian, 11.7 percent are Chinese, 11.1 percent are Vietnamese, 4.9 percent are Laotians, and 3.9 percent are Cambodians (Figure 2).

ethnic races pie

Minnesota is home to over 40 different Asian Pacific Minnesotan immigrant and refugee communities.  Each community has its own strengths and challenges that may be unique to that ethnic community.  The following is an overview of how the Hmong American community is faring in Minnesota.

Hmong American Community Overview

The Hmong American community is the largest AAPI ethnic community in Minnesota and is second to California which has the largest Hmong American population in the U.S.1 APA ComMNet was able to survey a larger number of respondents from the Hmong American community – almost three times more than any other ethnic AAPI groups compared to other AAPI groups. .  APA ComMNet REACH CORE project staff and volunteers met with Hmong American community members and leaders throughout the Twin Cities to understand the community’s strengths, challenges and other social and environmental factors affecting its overall health and wellbeing.

Hmong American Community Strengths

In general, the Hmong American community perceived its quality of life in the Twin Cities as fair or improving.  Hmong Americans stated that they are healthier living here in the U.S. compared to their relatives in Thailand, Laos and other areas of Southeast Asia.  Several Hmong community members indicated that ample activities and opportunities exist for youth to be physically fit, reach their academic goals, and live to their fullest potential.  Numerous participants also expressed that Hmong American youth of today hold more degrees in higher education and are expected to live longer compared to their parents’ generation. Furthermore, the Hmong American community pointed to an increasing number of political leaders, male and female, who assist in creating policies and programs that are aimed at improving the overall well-being of the community. Others also mentioned the large number of businesses and institutions created to serve members of the Hmong community.  Such factors have created a positive perception of the how the Hmong community is faring in the eyes of its members. Many Hmong Americans state that their most important community assets include their strong family foundation, clan network and their value of having a good education.

A 2010 report found that the household size of a typical Minnesotan Hmong family is 5.4 members, the largest household size among all AAPI ethnic groups.2   Hmong community members interviewed for this project said that having a large family is an asset because they rely on their family for support and assistance.  Chingla Thao, the Dean of Students at New Millennium Academy – a Hmong charter school in Minneapolis said he comes from a “community-dependent” community that values interdependence between members.  Thao added that this interdependence and the value of having a large family might be traced from the Hmong’s agrarian culture.  According to Thao, more family members provide financial security:

“The Hmong often want bigger families in an event of a crisis, so the burden is shared by more people.  Having bigger families builds community and it helps us be independent in a way that we don’t have to seek for outside help.  We can get that help and support internally, from each other.”

hmong pplEducation also is a priority for many Hmong community members who participated in this project. In recent years, more charter schools have opened its doors in the Twin Cities with a focus in providing culturally appropriate education to students of Hmong descent. When asked about the value of education, Thao stated that the Hmong community recognized early on that education was the “key and the way out of poverty.” He mentioned that a phrase young Hmong American children consistently hear from their parents is “Rau siab kawm ntawv” or “work hard in school.”

Hmong American Community

Some of the barriers to better health and wellbeing for the Hmong community are high rates of unemployment and poverty, limited English ability and unaffordable medical costs.  Over 12 percent of the Hmong community reported that they were uninsured.1   Hmong community members who participated in the project indicated that uninsured members at times seek medical care from Shamans to alleviate their physical and mental health issues (See side bar).  Hmong American families also use herbal remedies and may conduct healing ceremonies in the hospital and in the home. In addition, community members indicated that surgery and organ donation may not be acceptable as treatment for medical ailments and some members of the Hmong community believe that certain Western medicines may poison them, rather than help them.

While Hmong community members value physical activity, especially low-impact exercises such as gardening and walking, many Hmong community members identified the traditional diets as a health issue that needed to be addressed in the community.  Hmong Americans have among the highest obesity rates in comparison to other AAPI ethnic groups (Figure 3). White rice and fatty meats are considered a staple for many Hmong families while vegetables are often cooked with the meats and not eaten raw.  “Hmong people, in general, don’t know what food is nutritional and what is good for the body, but through word of mouth, more people are learning about it,” said a Hmong community member during his key informant interview.

1 Council of Asian-Pacific Minnesotans (CAPMN).  2012.  The State of Asian Pacific Minnesotans: 2010 Census and 2008-2010 American Community Survey Report.  St. Paul, MN.

2 Pierce PhD, Alexandra.  2010.  Health Disparities in Southeast Asian and African Refugee Communities.  Produced for the CAPI – Center for Asian and Pacific Islanders.  Minneapolis, MN.

REACH CORE Radio Talk Show:radio hmong

Hmong Community

Guest P. Vang: Yes. A few have medical insurance. However, there are others who do not have medical insurance due to unemployment or is not eligible to apply for medical insurance through the state.

Host Yang: Without getting access to medical coverage, is there anything else to help you with your health, or are you still looking for resources to help you with this area?

Guest P. Vang: Yes, we do need help. There are those who are in severe pain and in critical conditions who don’t get access to healthcare and don’t get treated due to the lack of medical coverage. Therefore, the only alternative our Hmong communities fall back on is to perform cultural practices; such as performing spiritual activities from a Shaman. Plus, if evil spirits is the cause of the person’s sickness, then “spirit calling/healing” from a Shaman would work. However, if the cause of the sickness is due to diseases, then it is necessary to seek a physician and be hospitalized.