health food

10 Healthy Brazilian Foods From A Personal trainer

Brazil is known for its vibrant culture and delicious cuisine. Brazilian food is diverse and full of flavor, with a variety of healthy options to choose from. Whether you’re a food enthusiast or looking to incorporate healthier choices into your diet, here are 10 healthy Brazilian foods to try from Personal trainer Liverpool Street Zone Body Fit.

  1. Açaí: This small purple fruit from the Amazon rainforest is packed with antioxidants and is a rich source of vitamins and minerals. Açaí is commonly consumed as a smoothie or bowl topped with granola, fruits, and nuts, making it a nutritious and refreshing treat.
  2. Feijoada: While feijoada is traditionally a meat-heavy dish, a healthier version can be made using black beans and lean cuts of meat. This hearty stew is a great source of fiber, protein, and iron. Serve it with a side of steamed rice and collard greens for a complete and balanced meal.
  3. Quinoa: Although not native to Brazil, quinoa has gained popularity as a nutritious grain alternative. Packed with protein, fiber, and essential amino acids, quinoa can be used as a base for salads, added to soups, or even made into a delicious breakfast porridge.
  4. Tapioca: A staple in Brazilian cuisine, tapioca is a gluten-free flour made from cassava root. It can be used to make a variety of dishes, including crepes and pancakes. Fill them with healthy ingredients like vegetables, lean proteins, and low-fat cheese for a nutritious meal or snack.
  5. Pão de Queijo: These small cheese bread balls are a popular Brazilian snack, but they can also be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet. Made with tapioca flour and cheese, they are gluten-free and provide protein and calcium. Look for recipes using reduced-fat cheese for a lighter option.
  6. Palm Heart: Known as palmito, this vegetable is harvested from the core of certain palm trees. It’s low in calories and fat and contains fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Enjoy it raw in salads, or add it to stir-fries and pasta dishes for a taste of Brazil’s tropical flavors.
  7. Caju: Cashew fruit, or caju, is a tropical fruit native to Brazil. It’s high in vitamin C, antioxidants, and fiber. Enjoy the sweet and tangy flavor of the fruit by eating it fresh or adding it to smoothies and desserts.
  8. Fresh Seafood: Brazil has a vast coastline, making seafood a popular and healthy option. Fresh fish like tilapia, salmon, and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart and brain health. Grill, bake, or steam them for a delicious and nutritious meal.
  9. Mandioca: Also known as cassava or yuca, mandioca is a starchy root vegetable commonly used in Brazilian cooking. It’s a good source of carbohydrates and dietary fiber. It can be boiled, fried, or mashed, and is often served as a side dish along with proteins and vegetables.
  10. Pitaya: Commonly known as dragon fruit, pitaya is a tropical fruit with a vibrant pink or yellow skin and a sweet taste. It’s high in antioxidants, vitamin C, and fiber. Enjoy it as a refreshing snack, blend it into smoothies, or use it as a colorful topping for desserts.

Incorporating these healthy Brazilian foods into your diet can add variety and nutritional value to your meals. Experiment with different flavors and dishes to embrace the delicious and nourishing aspects of Brazilian cuisine. Remember to consume these foods as part of a balanced diet and consult a healthcare professional for personalized dietary advice.…


Salted Cod (Bacalao) Croquette

This is a classic Portuguese dish that we call our own. It is one of the best ways to eat dried cod and the best croquette in the world. It is quite addictive, that sort of snack you just can’t stop eating. In Brazilian pubs (botecos) this croquette is  beer’s best friend. In Portuguese restaurants the croquettes are served as an entrée. I tried many different recipes over the years, a few recipes even call for eggs and breadcrumbs to coat, which makes it easier to fry. However, the coating jeopardises the distinctive flavour of the dried cod. Remaining as close as possible to the traditional Portuguese simple croquette is the best way to go: potatoes, cod, onion and herbs. I have to agree with Nigella Lawson, it is not easy to make this croquette, the preparation of the cod is really time consuming. Still, the flavour and texture are so special that I urge you to try this at home. The results will speak for themselves. A perfect snack to share with friends while watching the World Cup matches. And  don’t forget that cold beer on the side.

Salted Cod (Bacalao) Croquette


1.5 kg dried cod*

1L milk

400g floury potatoes (such as Desiree or King Edward)

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

1 tbs spring onions, finely sliced

1 tbs parsley, finely chopped

1 tbs coriander, finely chopped

1 egg yolk

1 tbs plain flour

Freshly ground blackpepper to taste

Vegetable or peanut oil for deep-frying

Lime or lemon wedges, to serve

You need to start this dish 2 days ahead

*Available from large delis and Portuguese delis, in Hobart available from The Italian Pantry


1. To desalt the bacalao (cod), place it in an airtight container, cover with cold water, close the container and leave in the fridge for 2 days changing the water 3 times a day, approximately every 8 hours. After 2 days, drain the cod and place in a saucepan with milk over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, bring to the boil and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until the flesh starts to fall off the bone. Drain and transfer to a plate to cool slightly. Using fish bone tweezers, carefully pull off the bones, remove skin and shred the fish very finely (yields between 600-400g of  shredded fish, use 400g for this recipe and freeze the remaining). Store in an airtight container and place it in the fridge until required.

2. Cook the potatoes in the microwave** for about 8-10 minutes or until cooked, turning them once half way through. Peel and mash until smooth. Cover with plastic film and set aside.

3. Meanwhile heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the onions, stirring, for 5 minutes or until soft.

4. Place the potatoes and cod in a bowl and mix them well. Stir in the onions, herbs and pepper to taste.

5. Make 20 croquette-shapes using two spoons or lightly grease your hands to shape them. If you’re your hands get sticky, wash them well before you continue and grease again. Place on a large baking tray, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

6. Line some paper towel onto a large tray or plate. Half fill a medium heavy-based frying pan or deep fryer. Heat the oil over high heat until hot. Test the oil with a little piece of bread, if the bread turns brown in 30 seconds the oil has reached the right temperature. Fry the croquettes in batches until golden and without overcrowding the pan and without turning so they don’t break apart. Transfer to prepared tray. Serve warm with lime or lemon wedges.

Makes: 20

**Note: cook the potatoes in the microwave because the potatoes will get drier, making it easier to reach the right consistency of the croquette.…


Brigadeiro: Brazilian Chocolate Caramel

Brigadeiro or ‘Blackie’ is a sticky soft chocolate bon-bon, which can be described as a hybrid of truffle, caramel and fudge. The brazilian recipe is very easy, just made by cooking condensed milk and cocoa powder (some recipes have butter and egg yolk as well) for a few minutes to obtain a thick paste. After the paste is  cooled down, it is rolled into little balls which are then covered in chocolate sprinkles. It is kid’s party must have and one of the favourites with the little ones. It is so funny to go to parties and see kids putting more than one Brigadeiro in their mouths and with their little faces and hands covered in chocolate.
I love the stories on how Brazil’s classic recipes are named, and the name Brigadeiro, in particular, is a very interesting one. Legend says that a good-looking Brigadier called Eduardo Gomes who was a candidate for Brazil’s presidency in the 40s ad 50s quickly built up a large female-fan base who threw him a candidacy party and created a chocolate sweet in his tribute. The sweet became so popular that these women started to cook them regularly with the intent to raise funds for Eduardo’s campaign. So the Brigadeiro sweet was born. In the past, the recipe was slightly different and the bon-bon was made with a mixture of chocolate, sugar, milk and eggs.
There is also the white version, called Brigadeiro Branco, which simply omits the cocoa and it’s covered in white chocolate sprinkles.
Brigadeiros are so popular in Brazil that in recent years specialised shops were established to sell all versions of white and black Brigadeiros one can possibly imagine. You can find Brigadeiros made with any kind of nuts, coconut, coffee and even passion fruit and lime. Similar to a cupcake shop or a chocolaterie, the Brigaderias, as they are called, are decorated in a very romantic way and it is quite tempting making you want to try every single flavour the shop has to offer. They are carefully placed in colourful paper cases with an option to have assorted sweets packed in a gift box.
My Brigadeiro recipe is quite simple, with just four ingredients: condensed milk, cocoa, a little bit of milk to dissolve the cocoa and chocolate sprinkles to cover. The chocolate sprinkles can be replaced by other types and colours of party confections or even with grated chocolate or cocoa.


1 can sweetened condensed milk

2 tbs good-quality cocoa

150 ml milk

100 g chocolate sprinkles

20 petit paper cases  


1. Pour cocoa and milk in a microwave-proof dish and microwave for 1 minute then stir well until cocoa is dissolved. In a small saucepan, pour in milk mixture, condensed milk, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon (used only for desserts) for 20 minutes. When mixture starts to come off the pan, continue stirring vigorously for a further 2 minutes. Make sure you stir well so the mixture does not stick in the bottom of the pan to avoid burning.

2. Transfer the brigadeiro paste to a small baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2-3 hours or until cool.

3. Remove it from the fridge and start working immediately. Grease your hands with a little butter and scoop the paste with a teaspoon. Roll into a ball and throw it in the chocolate sprinkles to cover. Place the ball into a case. Repeat with the remaining paste. If your hands get sticky, you might have to wash and grease it again. Keep them in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to five days.

Makes: 20…


Beijinho: Coconut Little Kisses

Along with the chocolate Brigadeiro (see recipe here), Beijinho is another kids’ party favourite in Brazil. Well, what can go wrong with a mixture of condensed milk and coconut? The clove in the middle not only makes a cute garnish but also complements  the coconut flavour. The yummy and sticky Beijinho sometimes can even win over Brigadeiro and be first one to disappear from a party’s table. The meaning of the name Beijinho is as lovely as the sweet itself  and translates as little kisses. Records from old recipe notebooks show that for more than one century the term has been used by Brazilian housewives to name bite-sized sweets made with coconut. Easy to make and a pleasure to eat, this little delight is a great idea for a high tea or kids’ party, dessert or to be eaten as a sweet treat any time of the day.

Beijinho: Coconut Little Kisses


1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup desiccated coconut

100 g raw sugar

20 cloves

Unsalted butter, to grease

20 petit paper cases


1. In a small saucepan, pour condensed milk and coconut and cook over medium-low heat, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon for about 18-20 minutes or until the mixture starts to come off the pan. Continue stirring vigorously for a further 2 minutes.

2. Transfer the paste to a small baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or until cool.

3. Remove it from the fridge and start working immediately. Grease your hands with a little butter and scoop the paste with a teaspoon. Roll into a ball and throw in  the sugar to coat. Place the sweet into a case and insert a clove in the middle. Repeat with the remaining of the paste. If your hands get too sticky, you might have to wash and grease them again. Keep them in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to three days.

Makes: 20  …


Choko or Chayote

Native from Mexico, choko is used in Brazil as an ingredient of salads, soups and bakes. Available from selected fruit and vegetable markets and large supermarkets. I still haven’t been able to find it in Hobart! If you know where to find it here, please send me an email.

Choko or Chayote
Scroll to Top