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.
I’ve always been a fan of veggie dips. Even when I didn’t follow a healthy diet, setting out a tray of veggies with a dish of dip was a guaranteed way to get me to eat some fresh vegetables. Most commercially prepared dips are chock full of fat and calories, and no matter how you try and spin it, they just aren’t good for you. Marzetti, the company most known for their ubiquitous white tubs of vegetable dips, has come out with a lighter, more healthy version.
Both St. Patrick’s Day and the first day of spring are right around the corner, making this the perfect time to celebrate with a bit of green! Whether you’re Irish or not, March 17th is as good a time as any to honor the Irish heritage and help usher spring in on the 20th. What are you’re favorite ways to celebrate? Shamrocks, leprechauns and rainbows are just the beginning of all the fun things you can bring out for your St. Patrick’s Day party.
Green beer is fun but let’s be honest, it’s incredibly overdone. There’s nothing wrong with including some but to really rev up the fun, expand your St. Patrick’s Day festivities to the food.
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
Fall and winter mean a lot of things, but amidst all the holiday talk we can’t forget about tailgate parties! The typical football-party fare is filled with calories but you can pull it all together and leave many of those calories behind! Don’t forget that when you make your own food, you control what goes into each recipe!
Chips and dip can be slimmed down with a few tricks.
- When making dips, avoid using mayonnaise, cream cheese and sour cream. I like to substitute greek yogurt in my recipes and most people hardly know the difference. Guacamole, salsa, and hummus are all delicious, healthy and easy to make!
- Serve your homemade dips with crudites instead of chips. Carrots, celery, cucumber, bell peppers and other crunchy veggies can be just as fun to dip and dunk!
- If you’re surrounded by the vegetable-wary, just make sure you buy baked chips. Go one step further (and that much closer to healthy hors d’oeuvres) by making your own. Buy pita bread, cut it into small triangles, add some seasoning and bake them. It’s simple and you can control how much salt you add.
Alcohol plays a big part at football parties, but it also plays a big part in ruining diets.
- Blue Moon is a good craft beer that’s relatively low in calories at only about 100 calories per serving.
- Lime and orange slices go a long way to improve the taste of light beer.
- Instead of using traditional mixers for cocktails, consider making your own and using less sugar. I found the simple combination of orange-flavored vodka mixed with some sparkling water and a Crystal Light packet to be surprisingly delicious.
Main courses pack a huge calorie-punch because of all the carbs and fats that are usually included. Instead of blowing your diet, keep in mind:
- Anything made with beef (tacos, burgers, chili and steak) can be made with bison meat as a lower fat, higher protein option.
- Turkey and tofu are also good alternatives. Turkey dogs, tofu dogs and low-sodium, nitrate-free hot dogs are all available at most grocery stores.
- If your meal includes carbs such as rice, noodles, buns or rolls be sure you go for the 100% whole wheat options.
Some healthy tailgating recipes to try:
Turkey and Black Bean Chili
Italian Turkey Burgers
Jillian Michael’s Guacamole
Roasted Red Pepper Dip
Apple Cinnamon Fruit Dip
Easy Baked Beans