Quick and Easy Swaps to Make Your Cinco de Mayo Menu Healthier
Cinco de Mayo is observed to commemorate the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Celebrated annually, this holiday is typically associated with decadent foods that are often high in calories and sugar. With that in mind, how do you enjoy the celebration without busting out of your clothes?
Take higher calorie foods and modify the recipe or make a healthy swap. For example, guacamole is made from avocados, a fruit that is calorie- and nutrient-dense. Although considered higher in fat, avocados are loaded with healthy monounsaturated fats that can have a positive effect on bad cholesterol levels. To reduce calories, try replacing some avocado with low-fat plain Greek yogurt. This creamy addition will add a nice tang to your guacamole and help to reduce overall caloric intake.
Another popular dish to eat during Cinco de Mayo is the beloved taco. Tacos have a tendency to be loaded with calories, fat, and sodium. Fortunately there are ways to make this main dish healthier while keeping it delicious. Create a “healthy” taco bar. When choosing fillings for your tacos, make some easy and healthy swaps to decrease calorie load and increase nutritional value. Try meatless tacos by substituting beans for meat. If making a meat filling, choose 93 percent lean ground beef or turkey and try using only half of a packet of taco seasoning to reduce sodium intake. Choose fresh or low-sodium canned varieties of beans and tomatoes. Sub in low-fat plain Greek yogurt for high-fat sour cream and lettuce leaves instead of taco shells for an option that’s lower in both fat and calories. Place all of the ingredients out in separate bowls to allow guests to build their own healthier version of a taco.
Traditional Mexican rice, a common side dish, provides 250-300 calories and upwards of 55 grams of carbohydrates per one-cup serving. A simple substitution that’s lower in calories and carbohydrates is using cauliflower in place of standard rice. One cup of cauliflower provides less than 30 calories and approximately five grams of carbohydrates, and it is an excellent source of vitamins C and K. You can easily make cauliflower rice in your food processor or using a food grater. See the recipe below.
Want to add a festive beverage to your meal? A typical frozen margarita from a restaurant provides upwards of 600 calories and 120 grams of carbohydrates. To cut back on calories and carbs, try a margarita on the rocks made with tequila, zero-calorie sparkling water, and fresh-squeezed lime juice. This change eliminates nearly all carbohydrates and reduces calorie intake to less than 100. Here's the recipe:
This story is provided by Jennifer Christman, RDN, LDN, CPT at Medifast.