Tuesday, May 1, 2012

5 Cinco de Mayo Food Tips

With Cinco de Mayo just a few short days away, I figured I would offer some advice on how to cut down on calories, increase the health quotient, and still get the most out of those Mexican dishes you crave on Cinco de Mayo.

First of all, Mexican food can be very healthy for you.  There are typically lots of fresh fruits and veggies involved and slowly cooked meats and beans.  Mexican food isn't just that unhealthy stuff that you get from Taco Bell or one of the other main food chains that serve "Mexican" food.  So, here's a few tips on how to eat a little healthier this holiday.

#1:  Traditional Food.  Typically, traditional Mexican food has more nutritional value than the Americanized versions. 

#2:  Skip the Sour Cream.  Sour cream is loaded with unnecessary calories and fat and has little to no nutritional value.  If you still want that creamy taste, opt for some plain Greek yogurt.  It has the same texture and essentially the same flavor, but it is also loaded with probiotics.

#3:  Pile on the Pico.  Pico de gallo is a fresh version of salsa usually containing tomatoes, onion, lime juice, jalapenos, cilantro, etc.  If you make your own, you can cut down on the oil sometimes used and the salt to make it an even healthier topping.  For that matter, pile on as many fresh veggies as you like!

#4:  Swap the rice.  If you're planning on downing some rice and beans, opt for brown rice.  Brown rice has many more vitamins and minerals than it's counterpart, white rice.

#5:  Put it in a Bowl.  You can cut some unnecessary calories and carbs by turning your tacos / burritos / enchiladas into a salad, especially if you're used to using a deep fried shell.

So there you have it.  It's not so hard to cut a few calories and still enjoy some Mexican food on Cinco de Mayo.  Although, I have to say that it was hard to narrow it down to just five, so here's a bonus tip.  Use fresh herbs and spices like cilantro and cumin.  You'll get amazing Mexican flavor and not all that added filler from the pre-packaged spice from the grocery store.