Cinco de Mayo, which many Americans know as an excuse to drink Coronas and eat guacamole, is a day that has a great deal of significance in Mexican history. The holiday commemorates the Mexican army’s unexpected victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.
In Mexico, the day calls for great celebration, and Americans have adopted Cinco de Mayo as a celebration of Mexican culture that often centers itself around food and beverage. We all know that it can be difficult to stick to a diet or healthy lifestyle on holidays that revolve around salty snacks, cheese-drenched main dishes and caloric alcoholic beverages, so we put together a round-up of our favorite Mexican-style recipes for your own celebrations that won’t break your calorie bank.
This year, you can celebrate Cinco de Mayo without forsaking any of your cravings – or expanding your waistline.
Often, game days are associated with fried and fattening foods like buffalo wings, French fries and pizza. With March Madness well underway, you might be feeling the urge to indulge by halftime but that’s no excuse to forget about the diet goals you set at the New Year.
While the occasional indulgence is allowed – and in fact encouraged by many nutrition professionals – you can easily slim down your game day menu by replacing full-fat dairy products for reduced-fat and opting for vegetables as dippers instead of chips or carb-laden crackers.
Also, cook at home instead of grabbing fare at a local sports bar so you can trim the fat and calories from some of your favorites.
Even though most people start their New Year’s resolutions on January 1, your New Year’s Eve celebration is a great time to start practicing some of your healthier habits.
Whether you’re hosting a party at home to ring in the New Year or watching the ball drop with a close group of family and friends, delicious appetizers, tasty main dishes and festive desserts are in order for an evening of indulgence that won’t wreck your diet.
Dips for Chips & Vegetables:
Blue Cheese Dip
Kalamata Olive Hummus
Spicy Cranberry Dip
As if keeping your dinner entrees interesting wasn’t task enough, what about the side dishes? It’s easy to fall in to a culinary rut, no matter how much you do or don’t like cooking. Personally, I love cooking. I don’t think it’s stressful to make dinner, I actually enjoy it. And while a lot of people like taking short-cuts, like buying pre-chopped vegetables or pre-shredded cheese, I enjoy taking on each of those steps in the preparation. But like everyone else, I too seem to serve the same roasted veggies and salad all. the. time.
When I stumbled upon the Alexia food products in my grocer’s natural food section, I hemmed and hawed over whether to even buy them. I bypassed everything that I know I could easily make myself, and took home a bag of the Alexia Spicy Sweet Potato Fries. Why? Because 1) side dishes get monotonous at my house and we needed something new, and 2) I’ve yet to conquer the sweet potato fry. Mine come out limp, wilty and nothing more than a chunk of mushy sweet potato. (more…)
Today, September 16, is National Guacamole Day! It’s also Mexican Independence Day. Who knew?
This doesn’t mean that you should go crazy with the chips transporting said guacamole into your mouth. But guacamole is an amazing source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Avocados contain the same type of fat found in olive oil and almonds. Avocados are one the best choices in fruit for magnesium, vitamin E and folic acid. They have 60% more potassium than bananas. If that’s not enough reason to make avocados a part of your daily diet, they are also free of sodium, cholesterol and trans fats.
In one study, volunteers who ate avocados every day for a week experienced an average 17% drop in total blood cholesterol (Archives of Medical Research, Winter 1996). Try guacamole on a grilled chicken breast, as a spread for a whole grain turkey sandwich, or dip your carrots into it for an out of this world snack. (more…)
One of the main reasons I recommend having two meals, one of which being a small meal such as an appetizer, is to help avoid overeating. This may sound counter intuitive, but with busy schedules we can tend to eat late or not have much time and therefore end up gobbling up as much food as we can in one sitting. Shortly thereafter we are left having over consumed calories, feeling stuffed and lethargic.
It can take up to 15 minutes for your brain to register with your stomach that food is in your system, a large proponent for overeating. Many times we will keep eating the food that is on our plate waiting for that “feeling of full,” only to have completely surpassed it. Eating a snack or appetizer prior to eating your main meal will help start that communication between your stomach and your brain, so by the time you go to eat your main course you will only need to eat a portion of it to fulfill your bodies’ needs. (more…)