Get Your Party on Right This Cinco De Mayo

Party! Fiesta!

Despite the rumors, Cinco de Mayo isn’t Mexico’s Independence Day, but celebrates the triumph of the small Mexican army over French forces. We’ll close out that little history lesson with a question: How can you win the battle of too many carb and fat calories on May 5?

Pool and beach season is around the corner, which is a great reason to approach May 5 with a healthy spin. A few tips:

*CHIPPING AWAY: It’s tempting to eat the entire chip bowl and ask for a second, but stop before you lose your mind with that first crunch. First, ask if the restaurant offers veggies to dip, which many do these days. If not, grab an  appetizer plate and a few chips along with a small scoop of guac – because guac is healthy, but a fat is still a fat.

*SALSA SMARTS: It’s even better to skip the guac and use salsa, which counts as a veggie serving and is jammed with vitamin C and the antioxidant lycopene. If you’re staying home why not make your own salsa with chopped tomatoes and then add hot peppers, onions, cilantro, cumin, chipotle or adobe. All of the spices have health benefits including antioxidant qualities. If you add chili peppers then you’re even getting your metabolism a nice boost.

*COMBO DANCE: Many restaurants offer a plate of Mexican food that could easily be two meals. Instead of the triple taco plate, create your own healthy quesadilla. Ask to add shrimp or chicken, plus some grilled veggies to it. You have a satisfying meal without going overboard – and you’ll never miss the beans/rice. Ask them to “go easy on the cheese.”

*TORTILLAS 101: Ask for whole-wheat tortillas. Many restaurants offer them and they provide less sugar and more fiber than regular tortillas. Plus, by the time you load them up with salsa and chicken, you won’t even taste the difference.

*ONE FAT FIFTH OF MAY: Mexican food often offers sour cream AND cheese AND guacamole, which makes the fat factor soar. Make a mental note to just eat one of those fats.

*BETTER BURRITOS: You don’t need it stuffed with rice, beans, cheese and the protein. Skip the rice and ask for black beans (not refried) plus your grilled protein and veggies. Ask for a light amount of cheese. Dip into salsa for a delicious taste while saving hundreds of calories. If you’re really watching it then only add one protein …the beans or the chicken/steak/fish. You can ask for the chicken fajita mix made into a burrito, which is a great way to skip the beans.

*MARG MADNESS: They might be delicious, but the average frozen restaurant margarita has upwards of 600 calories and 156 grams of sugar  – and that’s just for one. The problem isn’t the tequila, but the sugary mix. Go skinny with the margs, by asking for ginger-flavored seltzer water as your mix to go along with the tequila and lime juice. Or go for a watermelon margarita, which at least has vitamin A and the antioxidant lycopene in it. A blackberry margarita made with orange juice, limejuice and blended blackberries along with the tequila and a little agave clocks in at only 145 calories. At home, you can make a calorie friendly skinny margarita by combining 2 ounces of tequila with 1 ½ ounces or 3 tablespoons of fresh lime juice, 1 ounce or 2 tablespoons of fresh orange juice, 1 teaspoon light agave nectar and a lime wedge for garnish.


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