Whether it’s a warm tortilla or a refreshing glass of agua fresca, some of our favorite cultural dishes and drinks are staples in our diet because they’re delicious AND they remind us of home. That being said, as we get older and our bodies and foods evolve we may have a harder time enjoying some of our comidas favoritas. That’s why these 10 Latina-owned brands are so special – they celebrate and share flavors from Latin America with a twist! Latina jefas like Yadira Garcia are creating traditional spices with high-quality ingredients and none of the additives, Siete Foods founder, Veronica Garza, developed gluten-free/grain-free tortillas, and Annie Leal of I Love Chamoy developed a sugar-free chamoy made with monk fruit. All the jefas on this list developed products that are an ode to our cultural foods made with ingredients meant to accommodate different diet restrictions and needs without sacrificing flavor. Read on to learn about 10 Latina-owned brands making Latin foods with a healthier, lighter twist.
Veronica Garza from Siete Foods
Veronica Garza, founder of Siete Foods, is making traditional Mexican foods with a gluten-free twist. Garza, along with six other family members that make up the Siete team, developed almond flour tortillas after developing autoimmune conditions. In addition to their signature almond flour tortillas, the brand sells sauces, tortilla chips, seasoning, cookies and more. Many of their products are also grain-free, vegan, and made with avocado oil and other nutritious ingredients.
Carla and Ruth Wahnon from Banana Samba
Made from slowly cooked ripe bananas, lime juice and chia, Banana Samba is fruit snack that was inspired by founders Carla and Ruth Wahnon’s favorite Brazilian childhood treat: the bananada, a preserve made with bananas and sugar. The snacks are available in four flavors: chocolate, simply (with lime), fit (with chia seeds), and classic.
Jocelyn Ramirez from Todo Verde
Jocelyn Ramirez, founder of Todo Verde, started the brand because growing up in southeast Los Angeles, there was little access to healthy foods. Passionate about Mexican cuisine and the plant-based lifestyle, Jocelyn now has a cookbook and signature taco seasonings that celebrate those flavors. Some of her renowned recipes include walnut picadillo, mole verde, and vegan arroz con leche.
Annie Leal from I Love Chamoy
After Annie Leal’s father was diagnosed with diabetes and could no longer eat some of his favorite Mexican foods, she created I Love Chamoy so that he and many other people limiting sugar intake could enjoy traditional Mexican sauces. This sauce is made with cayenne pepper, ancho chiles, and monk fruit for a touch of sweetness without any of the sugar or calories.
Cristie Besu from Eat Me Guilt Free
After working as a registered nurse and certified sports nutritionist for years, Cristie Besu decided to create a brownie that was packed with protein and wholesome ingredients. In addition to their signature brownie, they now have protein tortillas and bread.
Maya Jacquez from Pinole Project
Maya Jacquez is a Mexican American that harnessed the power of pinole to create the Pinole Project. Pinole is an Aztec superfood that includes heirloom corn mixed with chia seeds and other ingredients for a nutrient-packed mix. Maya’s grandmother, Adela, inspired the brand and her legacy lives on through the Pinole Chia Oatmeal that comes in peanut butter, cocoa, and banana.
Junea Rocha from Brazi Bites
In 2015, Brazi Bites made their debut on ABC’s Shark Tank and after the episode aired they sold out nationwide and has been thriving ever since. Founder Junea Rocha developed a gluten-free Brazilian cheese bread recipe inspired by the country’s famous pão de queijo (cheese bread) but made with tapioca flour. Beyond their signature product they also sell empanadas, breakfast sandwiches, and pizza bites all gluten-free.
Regina Trillo from Nemi Snacks
Nemi snacks founder Regina Trillo developed snacks made from nopales without artificial ingredients and additives. The brand name comes from “to live” in Náhuatl, the language of the Aztecs. They offer snacks in four flavors: chile turmeric, Mexican lime, smoky chipotle, and churro.
Kayla Castañeda from Agua Bonita
When Kayla Castañeda lost her job mid-pandemic, she says she took that as “when life gives you lemons, make aguas frescas.” Growing up her grandfather (who worked in the fruit fields of California) would come home with ripe fruit and make agua fresca for the entire family. Kayla carried on that tradition and turned it into a business with a variety of aguas frescas made with 80 percent less sugar than traditional recipes but it with the same great flavor. Agua Bonita’s selection includes watermelon chile, pineapple cucumber, mango habanero and hibiscus.
Yadira Garcia from Loisa
Dominican head chef and co-founder Yadira Garcia started Loisa so she can share and celebrate the Caribbean’s delicious flavors with nutritious ingredients. From sofrito sauces to sazón and adobo seasonings (including salt-free options), all their products are non-GMO, vegan, and organic.