When South Florida’s Celeste De Armas and Corina Mascaro met at college they discovered several things they had in common. Both women were born in Cuba, and both missed the delicious home cooked Latin meals they grew-up on. They also shared a concern about the “freshman 15” weight gain, so Celeste and Corina started paying more attention to what they were eating and changed their diets to include healthier fare. Little did they know that eventually they would launch Nueva Cocina Foods, the nation’s first line of all-natural, healthy and authentic Latin rice dishes, seasonings and soups.

Nueva Cocina (http://www.nuevacocina.com/default.aspx), which launched in South Florida and has grown into a national brand, has an assortment of 17 different items featuring authentic recipes from Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Spain, among other Hispanic countries. The brand is a favorite of vegetarians (14 of the 17 products are meatless), and for people who don’t eat gluten (all but two of their products are gluten-free). The products are also lower in sodium than other brands.

New products:

Coconut Raisin Rice, which is a Nueva Cocina interpretation of a popular Colombian rice dish. Coconut, sweet raisins, herbs and spices come together with long grain rice for a delicious and nutritious dish.

Latin Lentil Soup and White Bean Soup just launched and have already been named 2011 sofi™ Awards Silver Finalists by the National Association for Specialty Food.

They also have many original recipes to use with these products that fuse together Latin with other styles of cooking, such as Italian, Asian and American. Most of the recipes work for the calorie conscious, as they are low in fat, but high in flavor.