Today is Cinco De Mayo. This day is actually meant to commemorate the Mexican Army’s 1862 victory over France at the battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. It is not Mexican Independence Day, which some of you may not know. What it has become for many Americans however, is a day where we excessively chow down on greasy Mexican fare and margaritas.
I do happen to LOVE Mexican based foods…however, the grease, heavy meats and cheese don’t always agree with me, or my hips. Here are some of my thoughts on how to have your Cinco De Mayo and eat it too…still delicious…and healthy!
-Use guacamole instead of extra cheese and sour cream. Guacamole (check on how it is made if you go to a restaurant!) is made with avocado, which is good fat; make it with onions, tomatoes, cilantro, lime and pepper.
-Grill some chicken seasoned overnight with lots of garlic, onion powder, black pepper, Dijon mustard, red pepper flakes.
-If you are at a restaurant, choose fajitas. This should be chicken, steak or some sort of fish grilled with bell peppers and onions. This is one of the healthiest restaurant items, because you can mandate whether or not you use the tortillas and it is easy to share with a friend. Ask for black beans instead of refried.
-Carbs will be hard to avoid. If you are trying your best to do so, nix the chips (good luck with that!!) and order black beans instead of refried as your carb option. These are high in fiber and protein and a good choice provided they are not cooked in a ton of lard, which they usually should not be.
-Make or ask for grilled vegetables-Asparagus and poblano peppers are great grilled with a little lemon pepper and lime.
-Pico de gallo, your new best friend– Salsa in general is a good idea over buttery, creamy sauces. Chose the variety made with fresh tomatoes (that are high in lycopene, which fights off certain cancers!), yellow onion, cilantro, jalapeños, and lots of lime.
-Caramelized onions-Cook the onions on top of your meats/chicken to get all those flavors until they are brown and juicy.
-Use a whole wheat tortilla (sprouted brand like Ezekiel or gluten free) when you have the option. Corn tortillas are another gluten free option.
-Grilling is a great method that locks in all flavors without the need of using excess oils. Grilling or pan “frying/sautéing” are healthier methods.
-Use a lot of lime. Lime’s citrus properties will help you use less salt and all the spices mentioned above will compliment eachother.
–Greatist.com has a few “healthier” margarita recipes for if you are doing your celebrations at home. At a restaurant, my best advice is to stick to either one drink of your choice or sip on a tequila shot. Those sugary frou-frou drinks can have up to 800 calories in ONE GLASS. That could add up to more than your ENTIRE MEAL. Not to mention the sugar…yikes!
Enjoy yourself and be safe!!