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Celebrating Cinco de Mayo with healthy, flavorful food

Posted at 7:46 AM, May 05, 2021

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — It's fiesta time! Cinco de Mayo is here and it's time to celebrate with delicious Mexican food.

But before your order those tacos or make that at-home margarita, Blue Cross Blue Shield's health and wellness spokesperson Shanthi Appelo has some tips to make your fiesta a healthy one.

It's certainly okay to indulge in favorite foods once in a while, but some foods you may have thought were healthy at Mexican restaurants could surprise you.

  • Taco salad often comes along with a deep-fried tortilla bowl – opt for a plate instead
  • It’s no secret black beans are healthy, but refried beans are often prepared with lard and bacon, driving up the saturated fat content and calories
  • Hard tacos are fried, so it’s best to choose soft tacos
  • Nachos, chimichangas, chalupas, taquitos, chile relleno are most likely deep-fried

The healthiest foods to pick at Mexican restaurants:

  • Make salsa the star of the show – use salsa to dress up the meal rather than just with chips. Salsa and guacamole are better choices than cheese sauces and sour cream
  • Chicken fajitas – the colorful vegetables are loaded in fiber and nutrients while the chicken is flavorful and a great source of protein

The skinny on skinny margaritas:

  • Simple syrup is the culprit to the sugar overload in most margaritas. Opt for a margarita on the rocks with tequila, triple sec and lime juice and ask for simple syrup on the side to control the sweetness
  • Restaurant food is likely high in sodium already – opting for no salt rim may help skip the bloat the next day.

Cinco de Mayo at home recipe highlights:

  • Elote (grilled Mexican street corn)
  • Home-style charred veggie salsa in a mortar and pestle