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.
The culinary preferences of Americans are as diverse as our population. Unfortunately, the way most of us enjoy our Mexican, Chinese and even Italian food is very Americanized – fried, greasy and cheesy. When we start thinking about all the things we have to “give up” to lose weight, our favorite internationally inspired dishes are the first to go. However, the newBiggest Loser Flavors of the World cookbookwill put all of your quesadillas, potato pancakes, and even tiramisu right back in your diet. Chef Devin Alexander is the recipe author for the new cookbook, as she has been for all of the Biggest Loser cookbooks (last year she released the Biggest Loser Desserts cookbook). Devin told us “We really dug deep to find ingredients that were really healthy.” She boasts about the book an all-natural cookbook. So, not only are the recipes all under 400 calories, they also use wholesome ingredients. She’s “all about decadence” and “figured out ways not to sacrifice flavor.” Biggest Loser Flavors of the World is a first-of-its-kind cookbook: it’s so all-natural Devin couldn’t even use evaporated cane juice or fructose and the recipes are lower in fat, calories, saturated-fat, cholesterol, etc. Best of all, it’s still really decadent.
Listen now to our interview with Devin. Her enthusiasm for the book is completely contagious. You’ll hear how she and her team worked to put together the recipes, the stringent parameters Biggest Loserhad her working within, and her list of favorite recipes from the book.
Now that I’ve had a successful weight loss and kept it off for close to five years, I find that my life has changed. I love exercise, cooking (and eating) veggies more than once a day, and drink more water than I ever imagined. I have more energy and am much happier.
One thing hasn’t changed, though – I still dread holiday parties. Being surrounded by all the yummy foods, mixed drinks and amazing sweet treats, combined with an almost total lack of willpower can often be a recipe for disaster. A friend of mine recently decided that her annual Christmas party was going to have a Mexican theme, and when I first heard about it, I decided I wouldn’t attend. After all, Mexican food can be terrible for the waist, full of fat and calories, and one night of indulging could mean I need hours of work in the gym for a week or more. There’s no way that I could go to her Mexican Christmas party and still stay on task- or so I thought. I was bummed because this party was sure to be a lot of fun, with many of my friends present.
Whether you are actively trying to lose weight or just maintain a healthy lifestyle, drinking alcohol should not be a typical part of your dietary intake. Being told to stick with ice water or club soda at parties can get boring after a while. Sometimes, a girl just wants to kick back and enjoy a cocktail without killing her diet. How can you responsibly enjoy a margarita when a typical mixed drink can set you back more than 500 calories in a 4 ounce serving?
Enter Bethenny Frankel to the rescue. Yes, Bethenny Frankel of Real Housewives of New York City fame. Before she was famous for her reality show, Frankel was a mixologist and a chef and was known for creating lower calorie versions of high calorie or unhealthy foods. On an episode of Real Housewives, she created her own, low-calorie version of a margarita and the response that she received from viewers convinced her that she needed to make a version available for purchase. Read Full Post >
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. Read Full Post >