Cinco de Mayo (May 5) is the celebration of Mexican heritage and pride, and the party often includes fat-laden foods and high calorie drinks. But there is a way to say “Olé!” without any waistline woes. Check out these spicy hot tips for cutting the fat from your Cinco de Mayo celebration.
Bulk up on fiber
Tacos, enchiladas, and burritos are all Cinco de Mayo staples, but it doesn’t hurt to say “Where’s the beef?” Swap the beef for grilled chicken or fish on a whole wheat tortilla, or cut the fat in your beef entrees by adding fiber-rich black, pinto, or kidney beans. Corn and whole grain rice can also bulk up beef recipes.
Skip the sauces, but not the salsa
Salsa is one of the healthiest condiments you can find, and if you make it at home you can adjust the spiciness factor to your liking. Skip the heavy cheese sauces and full-fat sour cream and top your taco with a variety of fruit and vegetable salsas. (Pineapple salsa is a sweet surprise!) Looking for a step by step tutorial on how to make homemade salsa? Check out this Five Minute Tomato Salsa recipe from Food Network host Ellie Krieger.
Cut the cheese
It’s hard to imagine Mexican food without a coating of melted cheese on top, but you can still dial back the fat factor. Queso fresco is the most commonly used cheese in Mexican cooking, and (surprise!) it’s actually lower in fat and sodium than aged cheeses, according to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. If you prefer the texture and flavor of aged cheeses, sharp cheddar and pepper jack are available in lower fat varieties, and when used as part of a spicy recipe the low-fat version isn’t even noticeable. Have to have that full fat block of cheese? Just remember a little goes a long way.
Embrace the avocado
It’s true, avocados are full of fat. But fear not, it’s the heart-healthy mono and polyunsaturated kind that helps to increase good (HDL) cholesterol. According to the California Avocado website, avocados provide nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins and folic acid and act as a “nutrient booster” by helping the body to absorb more nutrients. When it comes to Mexican cooking, homemade guacamole is a super healthy dip, while chopped avocado is the perfect accompaniment for almost any Mexican dish. Check out five celebrity guacamole recipes on Yahoo! Shine.
Toast to skinny cocktails
Don’t let a Cinco de Mayo happy hour be your downfall. There’s plenty of ways to toast the day without burning your diet. Health magazine has a list of 9 margarita recipes (everything from a fruity strawberry margarita to a cool cucumber version) that clock in at under 300 calories. If you’re short on time or not exactly a mixologist, Skinnygirl guru Bethenny Frankel offers a line of low-cal ready-made cocktails. To spice things up, pour some margarita mix over a seeded jalapeno. (The full recipe can be found here.)