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Quick and Easy Swaps to Make Your Cinco de Mayo Menu Healthier

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. With that in mind, how do you enjoy the celebration without busting out of your clothes?

Here’s How to Host the Ultimate Cinco de Mayo Fiesta.

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.

Click here for 4 Ways to Ruin a Cinco de Mayo Party.

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.


10 food swaps for a healthier Cinco de Mayo

If you're trying to eat healthy or watching your weight, you don't have to ditch your Cinco de Mayo festivities. There are plenty of healthy food swaps you can make to stick to your diet without sacrificing your favorite Mexican fare.

These 10 simple swaps incorporate fresh vegetables, lean protein, and fiber-rich beans, lowering the fat and sodium content of your favorite Mexican meals.

Shredded cabbage
Use it instead of: Shredded iceberg lettuce

Why it's healthier: Cabbage is a more nutritious taco topping than lettuce. A low-calorie vegetable (just 22 calories per cup), cabbage is filled with antioxidants and is an excellent source of vitamin C, providing roughly one-third of your recommended daily intake in just one cup. A cup of iceberg lettuce, by contrast, provides only about 3 percent of your daily dose.

As an added bonus, cabbage packs a crunchy bite and comes in a variety of colors, ranging from bright purple to green, that look great on your plate.

Fish
Use it instead of: Ground beef

Why it's healthier: Fish is a leaner protein option that's full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and is lower in calories than ground beef. Swapping beef for fish also cuts down on dietary cholesterol.

Using lean fish—such as tilapia or mahi-mahi—in taco recipes keeps the calorie count low, without skimping on flavor or forgoing a "meaty" texture.

Low-fat Monterey Jack
Use it instead of: Regular Monterey Jack cheese

Why it's healthier: Shredded cheese—and especially Monterey Jack—is a must-have when it comes to Tex-Mex fare. Luckily, cheese is actually quite nutritious, fueling your body with protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc, and phosphorus. But you need to choose reduced-fat varieties to avoid unwanted calories and saturated fat.

Tillamook's Reduced Fat Monterey Jack, for example, contains 30 fewer calories, 3 fewer grams of fat, and 10 fewer milligrams of cholesterol per serving than the brand's regular Monterey Jack.

Raw jalapeno peppers
Use them instead of: Pickled jalapenos

Why they're healthier: Mass-produced pickled vegetables are soaked in preservatives (such as sodium benzoate) and often contain added sugars and sodium. Raw jalapenos, on the other hand, are sodium-free and have just 4 calories per pepper—not to mention a fresher, spicier flavor.

Plus, research has shown that raw peppers have a higher concentration of antioxidants, including capsaicin, a compound that gives peppers their heat and makes your body temperature rise, helping you burn fat and calories faster.

Homemade guacamole
Use it instead of: Store-bought guacamole

Why it's healthier: Yes, making guacamole in your own kitchen takes time, but store-bought varieties are often loaded with preservatives and firming agents, like sodium benzoate and calcium chloride.

Some mass-produced guacamoles also are surprisingly high in sodium. For example, Trader Joe's Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacamole contains no fewer than 280 milligrams (or 12 percent of your daily limit) per two-tablespoon serving.

Whole-wheat tortillas
Use them instead of: White-flour tortillas

Why they're healthier: Whether stuffed as a burrito, folded as a taco, or rolled as an enchilada, tortillas are key ingredients in most Mexican dishes. They can also be a good source of fiber if you choose the right kinds. Opt for whole-wheat tortillas to add filling fiber and protein.

Using Mission brand 96 percent Fat Free Whole Wheat Tortillas instead of the enriched-flour version of the same tortillas provides 2 more grams of fiber, 1 more gram of protein, and 2 fewer grams of carbs per tortilla, for instance.

Lime juice
Use it instead of: Margarita mix

Why it's healthier: Sipping a margarita is pretty much a must on Cinco de Mayo. Whether you choose a frozen, on-the-rocks, or flavored variety, be aware of the calories that go into the drink mix. Some margarita mixes are packed with sugar. Jose Cuervo's Original Margarita Mix, for instance, contains an estimated 110 calories and 24 grams of sugar per 4-ounce serving.

Using freshly squeezed lime juice will lighten up your tangy cocktail. Four ounces of lime juice contain roughly 30 calories and 2 grams of sugar.

Whole beans
Use them instead of: Refried beans

Why they're healthier: Beans are loaded with filling fiber, but they can add sodium and fat when refried and packaged in can. Choose whole bean, non-refried, or low-fat canned varieties when you are looking for convenience, or buy dry beans if you have time to make them from scratch.

A can of S&W brand whole black beans has nearly 140 fewer milligrams of sodium, 3 more grams of fiber, and 1.5 fewer grams of fat than Rosarita traditional refried beans, for instance.

Homemade pico de gallo
Use it instead of: Store-bought salsa

Why it's healthier: Mass-produced salsas typically contain processed ingredients (such as tomato paste and dehydrated onions), but the real health downer is the sodium. Just two tablespoons of Tostitos Chunky Salsa, for instance, contains 250 milligrams of sodium, about 10% of your daily limit. And who stops at just two tablespoons?

Pico de gallo (also known as salsa fresca), an easy-to-make mixture of minced vegetables and chiles, offers a similar kick of flavor and spice, but with roughly one-fifth the sodium.

Light beer
Drink it instead of: Regular beer

Why it's healthier: Throwing back a cold Mexican beer with your plate of tacos is a fun tradition and delicious combination. It's also one that can add calories and carbs to your meal.

Enjoy a Corona Light with a lime wedge for 49 fewer calories and 8 fewer grams of carbs than a regular Corona. If you're not a big drinker, opt for Coronitas, a 7-ounce bottle that has only 58 calories and 3 grams of carbs.


10 food swaps for a healthier Cinco de Mayo

If you're trying to eat healthy or watching your weight, you don't have to ditch your Cinco de Mayo festivities. There are plenty of healthy food swaps you can make to stick to your diet without sacrificing your favorite Mexican fare.

These 10 simple swaps incorporate fresh vegetables, lean protein, and fiber-rich beans, lowering the fat and sodium content of your favorite Mexican meals.

Shredded cabbage
Use it instead of: Shredded iceberg lettuce

Why it's healthier: Cabbage is a more nutritious taco topping than lettuce. A low-calorie vegetable (just 22 calories per cup), cabbage is filled with antioxidants and is an excellent source of vitamin C, providing roughly one-third of your recommended daily intake in just one cup. A cup of iceberg lettuce, by contrast, provides only about 3 percent of your daily dose.

As an added bonus, cabbage packs a crunchy bite and comes in a variety of colors, ranging from bright purple to green, that look great on your plate.

Fish
Use it instead of: Ground beef

Why it's healthier: Fish is a leaner protein option that's full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and is lower in calories than ground beef. Swapping beef for fish also cuts down on dietary cholesterol.

Using lean fish—such as tilapia or mahi-mahi—in taco recipes keeps the calorie count low, without skimping on flavor or forgoing a "meaty" texture.

Low-fat Monterey Jack
Use it instead of: Regular Monterey Jack cheese

Why it's healthier: Shredded cheese—and especially Monterey Jack—is a must-have when it comes to Tex-Mex fare. Luckily, cheese is actually quite nutritious, fueling your body with protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc, and phosphorus. But you need to choose reduced-fat varieties to avoid unwanted calories and saturated fat.

Tillamook's Reduced Fat Monterey Jack, for example, contains 30 fewer calories, 3 fewer grams of fat, and 10 fewer milligrams of cholesterol per serving than the brand's regular Monterey Jack.

Raw jalapeno peppers
Use them instead of: Pickled jalapenos

Why they're healthier: Mass-produced pickled vegetables are soaked in preservatives (such as sodium benzoate) and often contain added sugars and sodium. Raw jalapenos, on the other hand, are sodium-free and have just 4 calories per pepper—not to mention a fresher, spicier flavor.

Plus, research has shown that raw peppers have a higher concentration of antioxidants, including capsaicin, a compound that gives peppers their heat and makes your body temperature rise, helping you burn fat and calories faster.

Homemade guacamole
Use it instead of: Store-bought guacamole

Why it's healthier: Yes, making guacamole in your own kitchen takes time, but store-bought varieties are often loaded with preservatives and firming agents, like sodium benzoate and calcium chloride.

Some mass-produced guacamoles also are surprisingly high in sodium. For example, Trader Joe's Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacamole contains no fewer than 280 milligrams (or 12 percent of your daily limit) per two-tablespoon serving.

Whole-wheat tortillas
Use them instead of: White-flour tortillas

Why they're healthier: Whether stuffed as a burrito, folded as a taco, or rolled as an enchilada, tortillas are key ingredients in most Mexican dishes. They can also be a good source of fiber if you choose the right kinds. Opt for whole-wheat tortillas to add filling fiber and protein.

Using Mission brand 96 percent Fat Free Whole Wheat Tortillas instead of the enriched-flour version of the same tortillas provides 2 more grams of fiber, 1 more gram of protein, and 2 fewer grams of carbs per tortilla, for instance.

Lime juice
Use it instead of: Margarita mix

Why it's healthier: Sipping a margarita is pretty much a must on Cinco de Mayo. Whether you choose a frozen, on-the-rocks, or flavored variety, be aware of the calories that go into the drink mix. Some margarita mixes are packed with sugar. Jose Cuervo's Original Margarita Mix, for instance, contains an estimated 110 calories and 24 grams of sugar per 4-ounce serving.

Using freshly squeezed lime juice will lighten up your tangy cocktail. Four ounces of lime juice contain roughly 30 calories and 2 grams of sugar.

Whole beans
Use them instead of: Refried beans

Why they're healthier: Beans are loaded with filling fiber, but they can add sodium and fat when refried and packaged in can. Choose whole bean, non-refried, or low-fat canned varieties when you are looking for convenience, or buy dry beans if you have time to make them from scratch.

A can of S&W brand whole black beans has nearly 140 fewer milligrams of sodium, 3 more grams of fiber, and 1.5 fewer grams of fat than Rosarita traditional refried beans, for instance.

Homemade pico de gallo
Use it instead of: Store-bought salsa

Why it's healthier: Mass-produced salsas typically contain processed ingredients (such as tomato paste and dehydrated onions), but the real health downer is the sodium. Just two tablespoons of Tostitos Chunky Salsa, for instance, contains 250 milligrams of sodium, about 10% of your daily limit. And who stops at just two tablespoons?

Pico de gallo (also known as salsa fresca), an easy-to-make mixture of minced vegetables and chiles, offers a similar kick of flavor and spice, but with roughly one-fifth the sodium.

Light beer
Drink it instead of: Regular beer

Why it's healthier: Throwing back a cold Mexican beer with your plate of tacos is a fun tradition and delicious combination. It's also one that can add calories and carbs to your meal.

Enjoy a Corona Light with a lime wedge for 49 fewer calories and 8 fewer grams of carbs than a regular Corona. If you're not a big drinker, opt for Coronitas, a 7-ounce bottle that has only 58 calories and 3 grams of carbs.


10 food swaps for a healthier Cinco de Mayo

If you're trying to eat healthy or watching your weight, you don't have to ditch your Cinco de Mayo festivities. There are plenty of healthy food swaps you can make to stick to your diet without sacrificing your favorite Mexican fare.

These 10 simple swaps incorporate fresh vegetables, lean protein, and fiber-rich beans, lowering the fat and sodium content of your favorite Mexican meals.

Shredded cabbage
Use it instead of: Shredded iceberg lettuce

Why it's healthier: Cabbage is a more nutritious taco topping than lettuce. A low-calorie vegetable (just 22 calories per cup), cabbage is filled with antioxidants and is an excellent source of vitamin C, providing roughly one-third of your recommended daily intake in just one cup. A cup of iceberg lettuce, by contrast, provides only about 3 percent of your daily dose.

As an added bonus, cabbage packs a crunchy bite and comes in a variety of colors, ranging from bright purple to green, that look great on your plate.

Fish
Use it instead of: Ground beef

Why it's healthier: Fish is a leaner protein option that's full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and is lower in calories than ground beef. Swapping beef for fish also cuts down on dietary cholesterol.

Using lean fish—such as tilapia or mahi-mahi—in taco recipes keeps the calorie count low, without skimping on flavor or forgoing a "meaty" texture.

Low-fat Monterey Jack
Use it instead of: Regular Monterey Jack cheese

Why it's healthier: Shredded cheese—and especially Monterey Jack—is a must-have when it comes to Tex-Mex fare. Luckily, cheese is actually quite nutritious, fueling your body with protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc, and phosphorus. But you need to choose reduced-fat varieties to avoid unwanted calories and saturated fat.

Tillamook's Reduced Fat Monterey Jack, for example, contains 30 fewer calories, 3 fewer grams of fat, and 10 fewer milligrams of cholesterol per serving than the brand's regular Monterey Jack.

Raw jalapeno peppers
Use them instead of: Pickled jalapenos

Why they're healthier: Mass-produced pickled vegetables are soaked in preservatives (such as sodium benzoate) and often contain added sugars and sodium. Raw jalapenos, on the other hand, are sodium-free and have just 4 calories per pepper—not to mention a fresher, spicier flavor.

Plus, research has shown that raw peppers have a higher concentration of antioxidants, including capsaicin, a compound that gives peppers their heat and makes your body temperature rise, helping you burn fat and calories faster.

Homemade guacamole
Use it instead of: Store-bought guacamole

Why it's healthier: Yes, making guacamole in your own kitchen takes time, but store-bought varieties are often loaded with preservatives and firming agents, like sodium benzoate and calcium chloride.

Some mass-produced guacamoles also are surprisingly high in sodium. For example, Trader Joe's Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacamole contains no fewer than 280 milligrams (or 12 percent of your daily limit) per two-tablespoon serving.

Whole-wheat tortillas
Use them instead of: White-flour tortillas

Why they're healthier: Whether stuffed as a burrito, folded as a taco, or rolled as an enchilada, tortillas are key ingredients in most Mexican dishes. They can also be a good source of fiber if you choose the right kinds. Opt for whole-wheat tortillas to add filling fiber and protein.

Using Mission brand 96 percent Fat Free Whole Wheat Tortillas instead of the enriched-flour version of the same tortillas provides 2 more grams of fiber, 1 more gram of protein, and 2 fewer grams of carbs per tortilla, for instance.

Lime juice
Use it instead of: Margarita mix

Why it's healthier: Sipping a margarita is pretty much a must on Cinco de Mayo. Whether you choose a frozen, on-the-rocks, or flavored variety, be aware of the calories that go into the drink mix. Some margarita mixes are packed with sugar. Jose Cuervo's Original Margarita Mix, for instance, contains an estimated 110 calories and 24 grams of sugar per 4-ounce serving.

Using freshly squeezed lime juice will lighten up your tangy cocktail. Four ounces of lime juice contain roughly 30 calories and 2 grams of sugar.

Whole beans
Use them instead of: Refried beans

Why they're healthier: Beans are loaded with filling fiber, but they can add sodium and fat when refried and packaged in can. Choose whole bean, non-refried, or low-fat canned varieties when you are looking for convenience, or buy dry beans if you have time to make them from scratch.

A can of S&W brand whole black beans has nearly 140 fewer milligrams of sodium, 3 more grams of fiber, and 1.5 fewer grams of fat than Rosarita traditional refried beans, for instance.

Homemade pico de gallo
Use it instead of: Store-bought salsa

Why it's healthier: Mass-produced salsas typically contain processed ingredients (such as tomato paste and dehydrated onions), but the real health downer is the sodium. Just two tablespoons of Tostitos Chunky Salsa, for instance, contains 250 milligrams of sodium, about 10% of your daily limit. And who stops at just two tablespoons?

Pico de gallo (also known as salsa fresca), an easy-to-make mixture of minced vegetables and chiles, offers a similar kick of flavor and spice, but with roughly one-fifth the sodium.

Light beer
Drink it instead of: Regular beer

Why it's healthier: Throwing back a cold Mexican beer with your plate of tacos is a fun tradition and delicious combination. It's also one that can add calories and carbs to your meal.

Enjoy a Corona Light with a lime wedge for 49 fewer calories and 8 fewer grams of carbs than a regular Corona. If you're not a big drinker, opt for Coronitas, a 7-ounce bottle that has only 58 calories and 3 grams of carbs.


10 food swaps for a healthier Cinco de Mayo

If you're trying to eat healthy or watching your weight, you don't have to ditch your Cinco de Mayo festivities. There are plenty of healthy food swaps you can make to stick to your diet without sacrificing your favorite Mexican fare.

These 10 simple swaps incorporate fresh vegetables, lean protein, and fiber-rich beans, lowering the fat and sodium content of your favorite Mexican meals.

Shredded cabbage
Use it instead of: Shredded iceberg lettuce

Why it's healthier: Cabbage is a more nutritious taco topping than lettuce. A low-calorie vegetable (just 22 calories per cup), cabbage is filled with antioxidants and is an excellent source of vitamin C, providing roughly one-third of your recommended daily intake in just one cup. A cup of iceberg lettuce, by contrast, provides only about 3 percent of your daily dose.

As an added bonus, cabbage packs a crunchy bite and comes in a variety of colors, ranging from bright purple to green, that look great on your plate.

Fish
Use it instead of: Ground beef

Why it's healthier: Fish is a leaner protein option that's full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and is lower in calories than ground beef. Swapping beef for fish also cuts down on dietary cholesterol.

Using lean fish—such as tilapia or mahi-mahi—in taco recipes keeps the calorie count low, without skimping on flavor or forgoing a "meaty" texture.

Low-fat Monterey Jack
Use it instead of: Regular Monterey Jack cheese

Why it's healthier: Shredded cheese—and especially Monterey Jack—is a must-have when it comes to Tex-Mex fare. Luckily, cheese is actually quite nutritious, fueling your body with protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc, and phosphorus. But you need to choose reduced-fat varieties to avoid unwanted calories and saturated fat.

Tillamook's Reduced Fat Monterey Jack, for example, contains 30 fewer calories, 3 fewer grams of fat, and 10 fewer milligrams of cholesterol per serving than the brand's regular Monterey Jack.

Raw jalapeno peppers
Use them instead of: Pickled jalapenos

Why they're healthier: Mass-produced pickled vegetables are soaked in preservatives (such as sodium benzoate) and often contain added sugars and sodium. Raw jalapenos, on the other hand, are sodium-free and have just 4 calories per pepper—not to mention a fresher, spicier flavor.

Plus, research has shown that raw peppers have a higher concentration of antioxidants, including capsaicin, a compound that gives peppers their heat and makes your body temperature rise, helping you burn fat and calories faster.

Homemade guacamole
Use it instead of: Store-bought guacamole

Why it's healthier: Yes, making guacamole in your own kitchen takes time, but store-bought varieties are often loaded with preservatives and firming agents, like sodium benzoate and calcium chloride.

Some mass-produced guacamoles also are surprisingly high in sodium. For example, Trader Joe's Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacamole contains no fewer than 280 milligrams (or 12 percent of your daily limit) per two-tablespoon serving.

Whole-wheat tortillas
Use them instead of: White-flour tortillas

Why they're healthier: Whether stuffed as a burrito, folded as a taco, or rolled as an enchilada, tortillas are key ingredients in most Mexican dishes. They can also be a good source of fiber if you choose the right kinds. Opt for whole-wheat tortillas to add filling fiber and protein.

Using Mission brand 96 percent Fat Free Whole Wheat Tortillas instead of the enriched-flour version of the same tortillas provides 2 more grams of fiber, 1 more gram of protein, and 2 fewer grams of carbs per tortilla, for instance.

Lime juice
Use it instead of: Margarita mix

Why it's healthier: Sipping a margarita is pretty much a must on Cinco de Mayo. Whether you choose a frozen, on-the-rocks, or flavored variety, be aware of the calories that go into the drink mix. Some margarita mixes are packed with sugar. Jose Cuervo's Original Margarita Mix, for instance, contains an estimated 110 calories and 24 grams of sugar per 4-ounce serving.

Using freshly squeezed lime juice will lighten up your tangy cocktail. Four ounces of lime juice contain roughly 30 calories and 2 grams of sugar.

Whole beans
Use them instead of: Refried beans

Why they're healthier: Beans are loaded with filling fiber, but they can add sodium and fat when refried and packaged in can. Choose whole bean, non-refried, or low-fat canned varieties when you are looking for convenience, or buy dry beans if you have time to make them from scratch.

A can of S&W brand whole black beans has nearly 140 fewer milligrams of sodium, 3 more grams of fiber, and 1.5 fewer grams of fat than Rosarita traditional refried beans, for instance.

Homemade pico de gallo
Use it instead of: Store-bought salsa

Why it's healthier: Mass-produced salsas typically contain processed ingredients (such as tomato paste and dehydrated onions), but the real health downer is the sodium. Just two tablespoons of Tostitos Chunky Salsa, for instance, contains 250 milligrams of sodium, about 10% of your daily limit. And who stops at just two tablespoons?

Pico de gallo (also known as salsa fresca), an easy-to-make mixture of minced vegetables and chiles, offers a similar kick of flavor and spice, but with roughly one-fifth the sodium.

Light beer
Drink it instead of: Regular beer

Why it's healthier: Throwing back a cold Mexican beer with your plate of tacos is a fun tradition and delicious combination. It's also one that can add calories and carbs to your meal.

Enjoy a Corona Light with a lime wedge for 49 fewer calories and 8 fewer grams of carbs than a regular Corona. If you're not a big drinker, opt for Coronitas, a 7-ounce bottle that has only 58 calories and 3 grams of carbs.


10 food swaps for a healthier Cinco de Mayo

If you're trying to eat healthy or watching your weight, you don't have to ditch your Cinco de Mayo festivities. There are plenty of healthy food swaps you can make to stick to your diet without sacrificing your favorite Mexican fare.

These 10 simple swaps incorporate fresh vegetables, lean protein, and fiber-rich beans, lowering the fat and sodium content of your favorite Mexican meals.

Shredded cabbage
Use it instead of: Shredded iceberg lettuce

Why it's healthier: Cabbage is a more nutritious taco topping than lettuce. A low-calorie vegetable (just 22 calories per cup), cabbage is filled with antioxidants and is an excellent source of vitamin C, providing roughly one-third of your recommended daily intake in just one cup. A cup of iceberg lettuce, by contrast, provides only about 3 percent of your daily dose.

As an added bonus, cabbage packs a crunchy bite and comes in a variety of colors, ranging from bright purple to green, that look great on your plate.

Fish
Use it instead of: Ground beef

Why it's healthier: Fish is a leaner protein option that's full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and is lower in calories than ground beef. Swapping beef for fish also cuts down on dietary cholesterol.

Using lean fish—such as tilapia or mahi-mahi—in taco recipes keeps the calorie count low, without skimping on flavor or forgoing a "meaty" texture.

Low-fat Monterey Jack
Use it instead of: Regular Monterey Jack cheese

Why it's healthier: Shredded cheese—and especially Monterey Jack—is a must-have when it comes to Tex-Mex fare. Luckily, cheese is actually quite nutritious, fueling your body with protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc, and phosphorus. But you need to choose reduced-fat varieties to avoid unwanted calories and saturated fat.

Tillamook's Reduced Fat Monterey Jack, for example, contains 30 fewer calories, 3 fewer grams of fat, and 10 fewer milligrams of cholesterol per serving than the brand's regular Monterey Jack.

Raw jalapeno peppers
Use them instead of: Pickled jalapenos

Why they're healthier: Mass-produced pickled vegetables are soaked in preservatives (such as sodium benzoate) and often contain added sugars and sodium. Raw jalapenos, on the other hand, are sodium-free and have just 4 calories per pepper—not to mention a fresher, spicier flavor.

Plus, research has shown that raw peppers have a higher concentration of antioxidants, including capsaicin, a compound that gives peppers their heat and makes your body temperature rise, helping you burn fat and calories faster.

Homemade guacamole
Use it instead of: Store-bought guacamole

Why it's healthier: Yes, making guacamole in your own kitchen takes time, but store-bought varieties are often loaded with preservatives and firming agents, like sodium benzoate and calcium chloride.

Some mass-produced guacamoles also are surprisingly high in sodium. For example, Trader Joe's Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacamole contains no fewer than 280 milligrams (or 12 percent of your daily limit) per two-tablespoon serving.

Whole-wheat tortillas
Use them instead of: White-flour tortillas

Why they're healthier: Whether stuffed as a burrito, folded as a taco, or rolled as an enchilada, tortillas are key ingredients in most Mexican dishes. They can also be a good source of fiber if you choose the right kinds. Opt for whole-wheat tortillas to add filling fiber and protein.

Using Mission brand 96 percent Fat Free Whole Wheat Tortillas instead of the enriched-flour version of the same tortillas provides 2 more grams of fiber, 1 more gram of protein, and 2 fewer grams of carbs per tortilla, for instance.

Lime juice
Use it instead of: Margarita mix

Why it's healthier: Sipping a margarita is pretty much a must on Cinco de Mayo. Whether you choose a frozen, on-the-rocks, or flavored variety, be aware of the calories that go into the drink mix. Some margarita mixes are packed with sugar. Jose Cuervo's Original Margarita Mix, for instance, contains an estimated 110 calories and 24 grams of sugar per 4-ounce serving.

Using freshly squeezed lime juice will lighten up your tangy cocktail. Four ounces of lime juice contain roughly 30 calories and 2 grams of sugar.

Whole beans
Use them instead of: Refried beans

Why they're healthier: Beans are loaded with filling fiber, but they can add sodium and fat when refried and packaged in can. Choose whole bean, non-refried, or low-fat canned varieties when you are looking for convenience, or buy dry beans if you have time to make them from scratch.

A can of S&W brand whole black beans has nearly 140 fewer milligrams of sodium, 3 more grams of fiber, and 1.5 fewer grams of fat than Rosarita traditional refried beans, for instance.

Homemade pico de gallo
Use it instead of: Store-bought salsa

Why it's healthier: Mass-produced salsas typically contain processed ingredients (such as tomato paste and dehydrated onions), but the real health downer is the sodium. Just two tablespoons of Tostitos Chunky Salsa, for instance, contains 250 milligrams of sodium, about 10% of your daily limit. And who stops at just two tablespoons?

Pico de gallo (also known as salsa fresca), an easy-to-make mixture of minced vegetables and chiles, offers a similar kick of flavor and spice, but with roughly one-fifth the sodium.

Light beer
Drink it instead of: Regular beer

Why it's healthier: Throwing back a cold Mexican beer with your plate of tacos is a fun tradition and delicious combination. It's also one that can add calories and carbs to your meal.

Enjoy a Corona Light with a lime wedge for 49 fewer calories and 8 fewer grams of carbs than a regular Corona. If you're not a big drinker, opt for Coronitas, a 7-ounce bottle that has only 58 calories and 3 grams of carbs.


10 food swaps for a healthier Cinco de Mayo

If you're trying to eat healthy or watching your weight, you don't have to ditch your Cinco de Mayo festivities. There are plenty of healthy food swaps you can make to stick to your diet without sacrificing your favorite Mexican fare.

These 10 simple swaps incorporate fresh vegetables, lean protein, and fiber-rich beans, lowering the fat and sodium content of your favorite Mexican meals.

Shredded cabbage
Use it instead of: Shredded iceberg lettuce

Why it's healthier: Cabbage is a more nutritious taco topping than lettuce. A low-calorie vegetable (just 22 calories per cup), cabbage is filled with antioxidants and is an excellent source of vitamin C, providing roughly one-third of your recommended daily intake in just one cup. A cup of iceberg lettuce, by contrast, provides only about 3 percent of your daily dose.

As an added bonus, cabbage packs a crunchy bite and comes in a variety of colors, ranging from bright purple to green, that look great on your plate.

Fish
Use it instead of: Ground beef

Why it's healthier: Fish is a leaner protein option that's full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and is lower in calories than ground beef. Swapping beef for fish also cuts down on dietary cholesterol.

Using lean fish—such as tilapia or mahi-mahi—in taco recipes keeps the calorie count low, without skimping on flavor or forgoing a "meaty" texture.

Low-fat Monterey Jack
Use it instead of: Regular Monterey Jack cheese

Why it's healthier: Shredded cheese—and especially Monterey Jack—is a must-have when it comes to Tex-Mex fare. Luckily, cheese is actually quite nutritious, fueling your body with protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc, and phosphorus. But you need to choose reduced-fat varieties to avoid unwanted calories and saturated fat.

Tillamook's Reduced Fat Monterey Jack, for example, contains 30 fewer calories, 3 fewer grams of fat, and 10 fewer milligrams of cholesterol per serving than the brand's regular Monterey Jack.

Raw jalapeno peppers
Use them instead of: Pickled jalapenos

Why they're healthier: Mass-produced pickled vegetables are soaked in preservatives (such as sodium benzoate) and often contain added sugars and sodium. Raw jalapenos, on the other hand, are sodium-free and have just 4 calories per pepper—not to mention a fresher, spicier flavor.

Plus, research has shown that raw peppers have a higher concentration of antioxidants, including capsaicin, a compound that gives peppers their heat and makes your body temperature rise, helping you burn fat and calories faster.

Homemade guacamole
Use it instead of: Store-bought guacamole

Why it's healthier: Yes, making guacamole in your own kitchen takes time, but store-bought varieties are often loaded with preservatives and firming agents, like sodium benzoate and calcium chloride.

Some mass-produced guacamoles also are surprisingly high in sodium. For example, Trader Joe's Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacamole contains no fewer than 280 milligrams (or 12 percent of your daily limit) per two-tablespoon serving.

Whole-wheat tortillas
Use them instead of: White-flour tortillas

Why they're healthier: Whether stuffed as a burrito, folded as a taco, or rolled as an enchilada, tortillas are key ingredients in most Mexican dishes. They can also be a good source of fiber if you choose the right kinds. Opt for whole-wheat tortillas to add filling fiber and protein.

Using Mission brand 96 percent Fat Free Whole Wheat Tortillas instead of the enriched-flour version of the same tortillas provides 2 more grams of fiber, 1 more gram of protein, and 2 fewer grams of carbs per tortilla, for instance.

Lime juice
Use it instead of: Margarita mix

Why it's healthier: Sipping a margarita is pretty much a must on Cinco de Mayo. Whether you choose a frozen, on-the-rocks, or flavored variety, be aware of the calories that go into the drink mix. Some margarita mixes are packed with sugar. Jose Cuervo's Original Margarita Mix, for instance, contains an estimated 110 calories and 24 grams of sugar per 4-ounce serving.

Using freshly squeezed lime juice will lighten up your tangy cocktail. Four ounces of lime juice contain roughly 30 calories and 2 grams of sugar.

Whole beans
Use them instead of: Refried beans

Why they're healthier: Beans are loaded with filling fiber, but they can add sodium and fat when refried and packaged in can. Choose whole bean, non-refried, or low-fat canned varieties when you are looking for convenience, or buy dry beans if you have time to make them from scratch.

A can of S&W brand whole black beans has nearly 140 fewer milligrams of sodium, 3 more grams of fiber, and 1.5 fewer grams of fat than Rosarita traditional refried beans, for instance.

Homemade pico de gallo
Use it instead of: Store-bought salsa

Why it's healthier: Mass-produced salsas typically contain processed ingredients (such as tomato paste and dehydrated onions), but the real health downer is the sodium. Just two tablespoons of Tostitos Chunky Salsa, for instance, contains 250 milligrams of sodium, about 10% of your daily limit. And who stops at just two tablespoons?

Pico de gallo (also known as salsa fresca), an easy-to-make mixture of minced vegetables and chiles, offers a similar kick of flavor and spice, but with roughly one-fifth the sodium.

Light beer
Drink it instead of: Regular beer

Why it's healthier: Throwing back a cold Mexican beer with your plate of tacos is a fun tradition and delicious combination. It's also one that can add calories and carbs to your meal.

Enjoy a Corona Light with a lime wedge for 49 fewer calories and 8 fewer grams of carbs than a regular Corona. If you're not a big drinker, opt for Coronitas, a 7-ounce bottle that has only 58 calories and 3 grams of carbs.


10 food swaps for a healthier Cinco de Mayo

If you're trying to eat healthy or watching your weight, you don't have to ditch your Cinco de Mayo festivities. There are plenty of healthy food swaps you can make to stick to your diet without sacrificing your favorite Mexican fare.

These 10 simple swaps incorporate fresh vegetables, lean protein, and fiber-rich beans, lowering the fat and sodium content of your favorite Mexican meals.

Shredded cabbage
Use it instead of: Shredded iceberg lettuce

Why it's healthier: Cabbage is a more nutritious taco topping than lettuce. A low-calorie vegetable (just 22 calories per cup), cabbage is filled with antioxidants and is an excellent source of vitamin C, providing roughly one-third of your recommended daily intake in just one cup. A cup of iceberg lettuce, by contrast, provides only about 3 percent of your daily dose.

As an added bonus, cabbage packs a crunchy bite and comes in a variety of colors, ranging from bright purple to green, that look great on your plate.

Fish
Use it instead of: Ground beef

Why it's healthier: Fish is a leaner protein option that's full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and is lower in calories than ground beef. Swapping beef for fish also cuts down on dietary cholesterol.

Using lean fish—such as tilapia or mahi-mahi—in taco recipes keeps the calorie count low, without skimping on flavor or forgoing a "meaty" texture.

Low-fat Monterey Jack
Use it instead of: Regular Monterey Jack cheese

Why it's healthier: Shredded cheese—and especially Monterey Jack—is a must-have when it comes to Tex-Mex fare. Luckily, cheese is actually quite nutritious, fueling your body with protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc, and phosphorus. But you need to choose reduced-fat varieties to avoid unwanted calories and saturated fat.

Tillamook's Reduced Fat Monterey Jack, for example, contains 30 fewer calories, 3 fewer grams of fat, and 10 fewer milligrams of cholesterol per serving than the brand's regular Monterey Jack.

Raw jalapeno peppers
Use them instead of: Pickled jalapenos

Why they're healthier: Mass-produced pickled vegetables are soaked in preservatives (such as sodium benzoate) and often contain added sugars and sodium. Raw jalapenos, on the other hand, are sodium-free and have just 4 calories per pepper—not to mention a fresher, spicier flavor.

Plus, research has shown that raw peppers have a higher concentration of antioxidants, including capsaicin, a compound that gives peppers their heat and makes your body temperature rise, helping you burn fat and calories faster.

Homemade guacamole
Use it instead of: Store-bought guacamole

Why it's healthier: Yes, making guacamole in your own kitchen takes time, but store-bought varieties are often loaded with preservatives and firming agents, like sodium benzoate and calcium chloride.

Some mass-produced guacamoles also are surprisingly high in sodium. For example, Trader Joe's Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacamole contains no fewer than 280 milligrams (or 12 percent of your daily limit) per two-tablespoon serving.

Whole-wheat tortillas
Use them instead of: White-flour tortillas

Why they're healthier: Whether stuffed as a burrito, folded as a taco, or rolled as an enchilada, tortillas are key ingredients in most Mexican dishes. They can also be a good source of fiber if you choose the right kinds. Opt for whole-wheat tortillas to add filling fiber and protein.

Using Mission brand 96 percent Fat Free Whole Wheat Tortillas instead of the enriched-flour version of the same tortillas provides 2 more grams of fiber, 1 more gram of protein, and 2 fewer grams of carbs per tortilla, for instance.

Lime juice
Use it instead of: Margarita mix

Why it's healthier: Sipping a margarita is pretty much a must on Cinco de Mayo. Whether you choose a frozen, on-the-rocks, or flavored variety, be aware of the calories that go into the drink mix. Some margarita mixes are packed with sugar. Jose Cuervo's Original Margarita Mix, for instance, contains an estimated 110 calories and 24 grams of sugar per 4-ounce serving.

Using freshly squeezed lime juice will lighten up your tangy cocktail. Four ounces of lime juice contain roughly 30 calories and 2 grams of sugar.

Whole beans
Use them instead of: Refried beans

Why they're healthier: Beans are loaded with filling fiber, but they can add sodium and fat when refried and packaged in can. Choose whole bean, non-refried, or low-fat canned varieties when you are looking for convenience, or buy dry beans if you have time to make them from scratch.

A can of S&W brand whole black beans has nearly 140 fewer milligrams of sodium, 3 more grams of fiber, and 1.5 fewer grams of fat than Rosarita traditional refried beans, for instance.

Homemade pico de gallo
Use it instead of: Store-bought salsa

Why it's healthier: Mass-produced salsas typically contain processed ingredients (such as tomato paste and dehydrated onions), but the real health downer is the sodium. Just two tablespoons of Tostitos Chunky Salsa, for instance, contains 250 milligrams of sodium, about 10% of your daily limit. And who stops at just two tablespoons?

Pico de gallo (also known as salsa fresca), an easy-to-make mixture of minced vegetables and chiles, offers a similar kick of flavor and spice, but with roughly one-fifth the sodium.

Light beer
Drink it instead of: Regular beer

Why it's healthier: Throwing back a cold Mexican beer with your plate of tacos is a fun tradition and delicious combination. It's also one that can add calories and carbs to your meal.

Enjoy a Corona Light with a lime wedge for 49 fewer calories and 8 fewer grams of carbs than a regular Corona. If you're not a big drinker, opt for Coronitas, a 7-ounce bottle that has only 58 calories and 3 grams of carbs.


10 food swaps for a healthier Cinco de Mayo

If you're trying to eat healthy or watching your weight, you don't have to ditch your Cinco de Mayo festivities. There are plenty of healthy food swaps you can make to stick to your diet without sacrificing your favorite Mexican fare.

These 10 simple swaps incorporate fresh vegetables, lean protein, and fiber-rich beans, lowering the fat and sodium content of your favorite Mexican meals.

Shredded cabbage
Use it instead of: Shredded iceberg lettuce

Why it's healthier: Cabbage is a more nutritious taco topping than lettuce. A low-calorie vegetable (just 22 calories per cup), cabbage is filled with antioxidants and is an excellent source of vitamin C, providing roughly one-third of your recommended daily intake in just one cup. A cup of iceberg lettuce, by contrast, provides only about 3 percent of your daily dose.

As an added bonus, cabbage packs a crunchy bite and comes in a variety of colors, ranging from bright purple to green, that look great on your plate.

Fish
Use it instead of: Ground beef

Why it's healthier: Fish is a leaner protein option that's full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and is lower in calories than ground beef. Swapping beef for fish also cuts down on dietary cholesterol.

Using lean fish—such as tilapia or mahi-mahi—in taco recipes keeps the calorie count low, without skimping on flavor or forgoing a "meaty" texture.

Low-fat Monterey Jack
Use it instead of: Regular Monterey Jack cheese

Why it's healthier: Shredded cheese—and especially Monterey Jack—is a must-have when it comes to Tex-Mex fare. Luckily, cheese is actually quite nutritious, fueling your body with protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc, and phosphorus. But you need to choose reduced-fat varieties to avoid unwanted calories and saturated fat.

Tillamook's Reduced Fat Monterey Jack, for example, contains 30 fewer calories, 3 fewer grams of fat, and 10 fewer milligrams of cholesterol per serving than the brand's regular Monterey Jack.

Raw jalapeno peppers
Use them instead of: Pickled jalapenos

Why they're healthier: Mass-produced pickled vegetables are soaked in preservatives (such as sodium benzoate) and often contain added sugars and sodium. Raw jalapenos, on the other hand, are sodium-free and have just 4 calories per pepper—not to mention a fresher, spicier flavor.

Plus, research has shown that raw peppers have a higher concentration of antioxidants, including capsaicin, a compound that gives peppers their heat and makes your body temperature rise, helping you burn fat and calories faster.

Homemade guacamole
Use it instead of: Store-bought guacamole

Why it's healthier: Yes, making guacamole in your own kitchen takes time, but store-bought varieties are often loaded with preservatives and firming agents, like sodium benzoate and calcium chloride.

Some mass-produced guacamoles also are surprisingly high in sodium. For example, Trader Joe's Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacamole contains no fewer than 280 milligrams (or 12 percent of your daily limit) per two-tablespoon serving.

Whole-wheat tortillas
Use them instead of: White-flour tortillas

Why they're healthier: Whether stuffed as a burrito, folded as a taco, or rolled as an enchilada, tortillas are key ingredients in most Mexican dishes. They can also be a good source of fiber if you choose the right kinds. Opt for whole-wheat tortillas to add filling fiber and protein.

Using Mission brand 96 percent Fat Free Whole Wheat Tortillas instead of the enriched-flour version of the same tortillas provides 2 more grams of fiber, 1 more gram of protein, and 2 fewer grams of carbs per tortilla, for instance.

Lime juice
Use it instead of: Margarita mix

Why it's healthier: Sipping a margarita is pretty much a must on Cinco de Mayo. Whether you choose a frozen, on-the-rocks, or flavored variety, be aware of the calories that go into the drink mix. Some margarita mixes are packed with sugar. Jose Cuervo's Original Margarita Mix, for instance, contains an estimated 110 calories and 24 grams of sugar per 4-ounce serving.

Using freshly squeezed lime juice will lighten up your tangy cocktail. Four ounces of lime juice contain roughly 30 calories and 2 grams of sugar.

Whole beans
Use them instead of: Refried beans

Why they're healthier: Beans are loaded with filling fiber, but they can add sodium and fat when refried and packaged in can. Choose whole bean, non-refried, or low-fat canned varieties when you are looking for convenience, or buy dry beans if you have time to make them from scratch.

A can of S&W brand whole black beans has nearly 140 fewer milligrams of sodium, 3 more grams of fiber, and 1.5 fewer grams of fat than Rosarita traditional refried beans, for instance.

Homemade pico de gallo
Use it instead of: Store-bought salsa

Why it's healthier: Mass-produced salsas typically contain processed ingredients (such as tomato paste and dehydrated onions), but the real health downer is the sodium. Just two tablespoons of Tostitos Chunky Salsa, for instance, contains 250 milligrams of sodium, about 10% of your daily limit. And who stops at just two tablespoons?

Pico de gallo (also known as salsa fresca), an easy-to-make mixture of minced vegetables and chiles, offers a similar kick of flavor and spice, but with roughly one-fifth the sodium.

Light beer
Drink it instead of: Regular beer

Why it's healthier: Throwing back a cold Mexican beer with your plate of tacos is a fun tradition and delicious combination. It's also one that can add calories and carbs to your meal.

Enjoy a Corona Light with a lime wedge for 49 fewer calories and 8 fewer grams of carbs than a regular Corona. If you're not a big drinker, opt for Coronitas, a 7-ounce bottle that has only 58 calories and 3 grams of carbs.


10 food swaps for a healthier Cinco de Mayo

If you're trying to eat healthy or watching your weight, you don't have to ditch your Cinco de Mayo festivities. There are plenty of healthy food swaps you can make to stick to your diet without sacrificing your favorite Mexican fare.

These 10 simple swaps incorporate fresh vegetables, lean protein, and fiber-rich beans, lowering the fat and sodium content of your favorite Mexican meals.

Shredded cabbage
Use it instead of: Shredded iceberg lettuce

Why it's healthier: Cabbage is a more nutritious taco topping than lettuce. A low-calorie vegetable (just 22 calories per cup), cabbage is filled with antioxidants and is an excellent source of vitamin C, providing roughly one-third of your recommended daily intake in just one cup. A cup of iceberg lettuce, by contrast, provides only about 3 percent of your daily dose.

As an added bonus, cabbage packs a crunchy bite and comes in a variety of colors, ranging from bright purple to green, that look great on your plate.

Fish
Use it instead of: Ground beef

Why it's healthier: Fish is a leaner protein option that's full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and is lower in calories than ground beef. Swapping beef for fish also cuts down on dietary cholesterol.

Using lean fish—such as tilapia or mahi-mahi—in taco recipes keeps the calorie count low, without skimping on flavor or forgoing a "meaty" texture.

Low-fat Monterey Jack
Use it instead of: Regular Monterey Jack cheese

Why it's healthier: Shredded cheese—and especially Monterey Jack—is a must-have when it comes to Tex-Mex fare. Luckily, cheese is actually quite nutritious, fueling your body with protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc, and phosphorus. But you need to choose reduced-fat varieties to avoid unwanted calories and saturated fat.

Tillamook's Reduced Fat Monterey Jack, for example, contains 30 fewer calories, 3 fewer grams of fat, and 10 fewer milligrams of cholesterol per serving than the brand's regular Monterey Jack.

Raw jalapeno peppers
Use them instead of: Pickled jalapenos

Why they're healthier: Mass-produced pickled vegetables are soaked in preservatives (such as sodium benzoate) and often contain added sugars and sodium. Raw jalapenos, on the other hand, are sodium-free and have just 4 calories per pepper—not to mention a fresher, spicier flavor.

Plus, research has shown that raw peppers have a higher concentration of antioxidants, including capsaicin, a compound that gives peppers their heat and makes your body temperature rise, helping you burn fat and calories faster.

Homemade guacamole
Use it instead of: Store-bought guacamole

Why it's healthier: Yes, making guacamole in your own kitchen takes time, but store-bought varieties are often loaded with preservatives and firming agents, like sodium benzoate and calcium chloride.

Some mass-produced guacamoles also are surprisingly high in sodium. For example, Trader Joe's Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacamole contains no fewer than 280 milligrams (or 12 percent of your daily limit) per two-tablespoon serving.

Whole-wheat tortillas
Use them instead of: White-flour tortillas

Why they're healthier: Whether stuffed as a burrito, folded as a taco, or rolled as an enchilada, tortillas are key ingredients in most Mexican dishes. They can also be a good source of fiber if you choose the right kinds. Opt for whole-wheat tortillas to add filling fiber and protein.

Using Mission brand 96 percent Fat Free Whole Wheat Tortillas instead of the enriched-flour version of the same tortillas provides 2 more grams of fiber, 1 more gram of protein, and 2 fewer grams of carbs per tortilla, for instance.

Lime juice
Use it instead of: Margarita mix

Why it's healthier: Sipping a margarita is pretty much a must on Cinco de Mayo. Whether you choose a frozen, on-the-rocks, or flavored variety, be aware of the calories that go into the drink mix. Some margarita mixes are packed with sugar. Jose Cuervo's Original Margarita Mix, for instance, contains an estimated 110 calories and 24 grams of sugar per 4-ounce serving.

Using freshly squeezed lime juice will lighten up your tangy cocktail. Four ounces of lime juice contain roughly 30 calories and 2 grams of sugar.

Whole beans
Use them instead of: Refried beans

Why they're healthier: Beans are loaded with filling fiber, but they can add sodium and fat when refried and packaged in can. Choose whole bean, non-refried, or low-fat canned varieties when you are looking for convenience, or buy dry beans if you have time to make them from scratch.

A can of S&W brand whole black beans has nearly 140 fewer milligrams of sodium, 3 more grams of fiber, and 1.5 fewer grams of fat than Rosarita traditional refried beans, for instance.

Homemade pico de gallo
Use it instead of: Store-bought salsa

Why it's healthier: Mass-produced salsas typically contain processed ingredients (such as tomato paste and dehydrated onions), but the real health downer is the sodium. Just two tablespoons of Tostitos Chunky Salsa, for instance, contains 250 milligrams of sodium, about 10% of your daily limit. And who stops at just two tablespoons?

Pico de gallo (also known as salsa fresca), an easy-to-make mixture of minced vegetables and chiles, offers a similar kick of flavor and spice, but with roughly one-fifth the sodium.

Light beer
Drink it instead of: Regular beer

Why it's healthier: Throwing back a cold Mexican beer with your plate of tacos is a fun tradition and delicious combination. It's also one that can add calories and carbs to your meal.

Enjoy a Corona Light with a lime wedge for 49 fewer calories and 8 fewer grams of carbs than a regular Corona. If you're not a big drinker, opt for Coronitas, a 7-ounce bottle that has only 58 calories and 3 grams of carbs.


10 food swaps for a healthier Cinco de Mayo

If you're trying to eat healthy or watching your weight, you don't have to ditch your Cinco de Mayo festivities. There are plenty of healthy food swaps you can make to stick to your diet without sacrificing your favorite Mexican fare.

These 10 simple swaps incorporate fresh vegetables, lean protein, and fiber-rich beans, lowering the fat and sodium content of your favorite Mexican meals.

Shredded cabbage
Use it instead of: Shredded iceberg lettuce

Why it's healthier: Cabbage is a more nutritious taco topping than lettuce. A low-calorie vegetable (just 22 calories per cup), cabbage is filled with antioxidants and is an excellent source of vitamin C, providing roughly one-third of your recommended daily intake in just one cup. A cup of iceberg lettuce, by contrast, provides only about 3 percent of your daily dose.

As an added bonus, cabbage packs a crunchy bite and comes in a variety of colors, ranging from bright purple to green, that look great on your plate.

Fish
Use it instead of: Ground beef

Why it's healthier: Fish is a leaner protein option that's full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and is lower in calories than ground beef. Swapping beef for fish also cuts down on dietary cholesterol.

Using lean fish—such as tilapia or mahi-mahi—in taco recipes keeps the calorie count low, without skimping on flavor or forgoing a "meaty" texture.

Low-fat Monterey Jack
Use it instead of: Regular Monterey Jack cheese

Why it's healthier: Shredded cheese—and especially Monterey Jack—is a must-have when it comes to Tex-Mex fare. Luckily, cheese is actually quite nutritious, fueling your body with protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc, and phosphorus. But you need to choose reduced-fat varieties to avoid unwanted calories and saturated fat.

Tillamook's Reduced Fat Monterey Jack, for example, contains 30 fewer calories, 3 fewer grams of fat, and 10 fewer milligrams of cholesterol per serving than the brand's regular Monterey Jack.

Raw jalapeno peppers
Use them instead of: Pickled jalapenos

Why they're healthier: Mass-produced pickled vegetables are soaked in preservatives (such as sodium benzoate) and often contain added sugars and sodium. Raw jalapenos, on the other hand, are sodium-free and have just 4 calories per pepper—not to mention a fresher, spicier flavor.

Plus, research has shown that raw peppers have a higher concentration of antioxidants, including capsaicin, a compound that gives peppers their heat and makes your body temperature rise, helping you burn fat and calories faster.

Homemade guacamole
Use it instead of: Store-bought guacamole

Why it's healthier: Yes, making guacamole in your own kitchen takes time, but store-bought varieties are often loaded with preservatives and firming agents, like sodium benzoate and calcium chloride.

Some mass-produced guacamoles also are surprisingly high in sodium. For example, Trader Joe's Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacamole contains no fewer than 280 milligrams (or 12 percent of your daily limit) per two-tablespoon serving.

Whole-wheat tortillas
Use them instead of: White-flour tortillas

Why they're healthier: Whether stuffed as a burrito, folded as a taco, or rolled as an enchilada, tortillas are key ingredients in most Mexican dishes. They can also be a good source of fiber if you choose the right kinds. Opt for whole-wheat tortillas to add filling fiber and protein.

Using Mission brand 96 percent Fat Free Whole Wheat Tortillas instead of the enriched-flour version of the same tortillas provides 2 more grams of fiber, 1 more gram of protein, and 2 fewer grams of carbs per tortilla, for instance.

Lime juice
Use it instead of: Margarita mix

Why it's healthier: Sipping a margarita is pretty much a must on Cinco de Mayo. Whether you choose a frozen, on-the-rocks, or flavored variety, be aware of the calories that go into the drink mix. Some margarita mixes are packed with sugar. Jose Cuervo's Original Margarita Mix, for instance, contains an estimated 110 calories and 24 grams of sugar per 4-ounce serving.

Using freshly squeezed lime juice will lighten up your tangy cocktail. Four ounces of lime juice contain roughly 30 calories and 2 grams of sugar.

Whole beans
Use them instead of: Refried beans

Why they're healthier: Beans are loaded with filling fiber, but they can add sodium and fat when refried and packaged in can. Choose whole bean, non-refried, or low-fat canned varieties when you are looking for convenience, or buy dry beans if you have time to make them from scratch.

A can of S&W brand whole black beans has nearly 140 fewer milligrams of sodium, 3 more grams of fiber, and 1.5 fewer grams of fat than Rosarita traditional refried beans, for instance.

Homemade pico de gallo
Use it instead of: Store-bought salsa

Why it's healthier: Mass-produced salsas typically contain processed ingredients (such as tomato paste and dehydrated onions), but the real health downer is the sodium. Just two tablespoons of Tostitos Chunky Salsa, for instance, contains 250 milligrams of sodium, about 10% of your daily limit. And who stops at just two tablespoons?

Pico de gallo (also known as salsa fresca), an easy-to-make mixture of minced vegetables and chiles, offers a similar kick of flavor and spice, but with roughly one-fifth the sodium.

Light beer
Drink it instead of: Regular beer

Why it's healthier: Throwing back a cold Mexican beer with your plate of tacos is a fun tradition and delicious combination. It's also one that can add calories and carbs to your meal.

Enjoy a Corona Light with a lime wedge for 49 fewer calories and 8 fewer grams of carbs than a regular Corona. If you're not a big drinker, opt for Coronitas, a 7-ounce bottle that has only 58 calories and 3 grams of carbs.


Watch the video: Lorains Cinco de Mayo Parade 5-5-18 (October 2021).