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5 Healthy Alternatives for Cinco De Mayo Meals

Feliz Cinco De Mayo! Eager to join the Cinco De Mayo celebrations, but don’t think you’ll be able to make it to a fiesta today? You can celebrate Cinco De Mayo from the comfort of your own home by incorporating Mexican dishes and drinks into tonight’s dinner. Of course, with Mexican food often comes loads of melted cheese, chips and tortillas – not exactly the healthiest nutritional choices. That’s why this Cinco De Mayo we’re sharing five healthy alternatives you can add to traditional Mexican dishes for greater nutritional benefits. 

1. Replace Traditional Flour Tortillas

There are many healthy alternatives for flour tortillas. Try a whole grain option to add more fiber to your meal or, better yet, ditch tortillas all together and opt for a pepper to hold your dish together. There are tons of simple and delicious stuffed pepper recipes to choose from. Simply core a pepper and fill with brown rice, beans and any vegetables, herbs or spices of your choosing for a more nutritional Mexican-inspired dish.

2. Choose Beans Over Sour Cream

Sour cream is a staple in many Mexican dishes but lacks much nutritional value. Substitute black bean dip for sour cream in your Cinco De Mayo dishes for all of the flavor without any of the saturated fat. Using antioxidant-rich black bean dip you can achieve the same creamy texture of sour cream, while adding twice as much protein and five times the fiber.

3. Add Peas to Your Guacamole

Guacamole is already a healthful addition to any Mexican meal but here’s a secret to take the nutritional benefits to the next level – add green peas! Mixing in peas results in the same rich creaminess you crave while boosting protein, fiber and omega-3s. Plus, the addition of peas can help cut calories and fat per serving almost in half.

4. Garnish with Cilantro

What’s a Mexican dish without fresh cilantro? Rich in antioxidants, including beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxantin, cilantro is the perfect garnish to complete your Cinco De Mayo plates. Research has found that cilantro can help prevent spoilage and leads to many health benefits including a healthy heart and healthy skin. Add this fresh herb to your dressings, sauces and soups to enhance flavor without adding fat.

5. Try a New Cocktail or Mocktail

While margaritas are tasty, they’re also packed with sugar. Instead, try stirring up your own healthier creation. This recipe from Health magazine provides a good low-calorie option with the benefits of antioxidant-rich pomegranate juice. Or for an alcohol free alternative, try a refreshing cleanse mocktail using this recipe from Everyday Health. All you need is black tea, lemon and lime juice, club soda and some Jalapeno peppers for that added Mexican kick.

What are your tips and tricks for creating a healthier Mexican feast? Share your cooking hacks and healthy alternatives in the comments below!

Sources:

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2015/05/04/5-healthful-hacks-for-cinco-de-mayo

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2015/05/02/5-healthy-mexican-foods-for-cinco-de-mayo/

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20307243,00.html

http://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/recipe-of-the-day/healthy-mexican-bites-for-cinco-de-mayo/

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