Exploring another culture is always fun, and what better way to do that than by exploring the cuisine? Tapas are popular in Spain because they allow you to enjoy delicious food while socializing with others. Food has a way of bonding us, and the social factor of tapas is the main reason it’s so popular in Spain—it encourages people to talk while enjoying something delicious. There are also some amazing benefits of eating tapas-style meals; keep reading to learn more about tapas and their health benefits.
Tapas originated in Spain, and they’re a lot like appetizers in the United States. Essentially, tapas are smaller portions of food, and most tapas parties include a variety of bite-sized cuisine.
This Spanish snack often includes a variety of hot and cold foods to ensure everyone’s tastebuds are satisfied with some incredible flavor. And you can’t enjoy tapas food without a great glass of wine! For this reason, tapas are popular at bars and for dinner parties.
A Tasty Benefit
Most of us have been in a situation where we’re sitting at a restaurant and can’t decide what to order because everything sounds fantastic. Tapas allow you to enjoy many foods without the risk of overeating—one of the health benefits we’ll get into in a moment!
3 Incredible Benefits of Tapas
Now let’s get into the amazing benefits of eating tapas-style meals. There’s a long list of recipes commonly used for tapas food, many of which are healthy. When enjoying your tapas-style meal, you can rest assured that you’re not just eating better—this type of meal also allows you to listen to natural hunger signs and bond with those around you.
According to history, it’s quite possible tapas have been around since the 13th century, and it’s no wonder this meal style remains popular—it’s delicious and healthy. For example, options like seafood, bread with olive oil, lean meats, and many more are popular. Consider the following top health benefits of tapas-style food.
It’s Easier To Stop Eating When You’re Full
It’s easy to overeat when you are at a party, going out to eat, or just really love food. The problem is that doing so regularly can lead to weight gain. When you use a smaller plate, it’s easier to listen to your natural hunger cues. You can take a break between eating to let the food digest and then decide whether you want to keep eating or stop.
While tapas are small dishes, you can easily make a meal out of them by filling your plate. To keep things healthy, start with a small portion of each food you’d like to try and spend some time talking before going back for more. No matter what you eat, most experts recommend waiting around 20 minutes before going back for seconds to determine whether you are full. Tapas-style food is mouthwatering, but you don’t want to overeat and end up feeling sick.
They Make Eating a Bonding Experience
Eating with others is a bonding experience, and tapas is all about that! Everyone shares the food, so you can talk about which dish you like most, your day, or any other topic. You can choose any subject you like for socialization—what’s most important is connecting with those around you. A tapas party is a perfect reason to have friends and family over to catch up while enjoying some tasty food and wine.
The Recipes Are Healthier
Tapas include many healthy options like roasted vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, chicken, salmon, and more. Many of these foods are rich in nutrients such as Omega-3, antioxidants, and other vitamins our bodies need to flourish. Keep in mind that some tapas food is fried—referred to as fritura or frito— which is okay in moderation.
Healthy Recipe Ideas
Not sure how to get started with your tapas-style meals? We’ve listed a few ideas for you to try, plus some health benefits of each item.
Gambas al Ajillo
This healthy option includes garlic, shrimp, and olive oil, and each ingredient provides different health benefits. Shrimp and other types of shellfish can boost the immune system and contain vitamin E, antioxidants, and other nutrients that can help reduce inflammation.
Garlic also helps boost the immune system and reduce blood pressure. And olive oil can help prevent heart disease, plus it’s a great natural fat. All of these combined make a deliciously healthy dish for tapas.
Shop for Great EVOO
There’s a big difference between olive oil and extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), mainly because EVOO is pure juice from the olives. Shop at GringoCool for delicious Spanish olive oil. Our product comes straight from Spain and only includes the ingredient you’d hope for—organic Spanish olive oil.
Espinacas con Garbanzos
This warm dish includes Spanish spinach and chickpeas; many enjoy this stew at tapas-style meals, especially in the winter. Chickpeas are an amazing source of protein, manganese, and fiber. They’ll also help fill you up, so you won't leave feeling overstuffed when you enjoy this dish as a tapas meal. Spinach is also great because it’s rich in vitamin A and iron and can help improve digestion.
Tortilla de Patatas
A tortilla de patatas—or Spanish omelet—includes egg, potato, onion, and olive oil. Like many other ingredients, eggs have a lot of vitamins, including B6, K, and D. Eggs are a tasty protein source that can help raise your good cholesterol.
Sometimes, carbs get a bad reputation, but potatoes have a lot of fiber which keeps you full; this starchy food source also includes antioxidants.
Next comes onions! Like eggs, these can help with cholesterol levels and include minerals like potassium and folate that nourish our bodies. And finally, we have extra virgin olive oil, among the healthiest natural fats. It’s no wonder that so many tapas recipes call for EVOO.
Best Ways To Serve Tapas
As you prepare a tapas-style meal, strive to serve various dishes with different flavors—put out some seafood, bread, vegetables, and other flavor combinations. You can put out a mix of hot and cold dishes to provide even more options. When arranging the table, remember to use small plates and keep the food at the center. Tapas meals are mostly about bonding, and the delicious food is the excuse to connect.