Health & Fitness

By Jasmin Guleria

When we think of Mexican food, visions of diet-busting Margaritas and cheese-laden entrees come to mind. But believe it or not, there is such a thing as nutritious and low-fat Mexican fare! In honor of Cinco de Mayo, this May 5th, when all things Mexican are ‘caliente” , I’ve created the menu below, which gives you a variety of healthy and delicious tapas-style Mexican eats and treats to indulge throughout the year. (We’ve even included recipe links for each item for our FoodNetwork lovin’ D.I.Y. readers).

Buen Provecho! (Enjoy your meal!)

Sizzlingly Sexy Cinco de Mayo Spread

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Beverage: Sangria – This fruit filled medley of wine is sure to pucker up those taste buds while also giving your bod a healthy dose of heart-healthy anti-oxidants. My personal favorite (note: easiest) Sangria recipe consists of simply pouring a mixture of red wines in a pitcher and adding fresh strawberries and plums to the mix. For the more refined wine-drinkers out there, check out this Low-sugar Sangria recipe.

Appetizers: Dip Trio with Soy and Flaxseed Tortilla Chips – A spread of various dips all focusing on fruits and veggies is sure to fill up your guests, while keeping their diet in check. Read on for my tasty dip recommendations:

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Tomato Salsa: The chunky tomatoes in a tomato-based salsa are full of Vitamin C as well as the cancer fighting antioxidant, lycopene. And if you like your salsa hot – you’re in luck! Recent studies have shown that eating spicy foods gives your metabolism a calorie-burning boost. So add an extra hot pepper to your bowl of salsa and start burning!

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Mango Salsa: The mangoes in this colorful concoction will fill you up with iron and vitamins A, E, and Selenium, which are known to protect against heart disease.

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Guacamole: Avocados are full of heart-healthy potassium and cholesterol-lowering healthy fats. That being said, because of the high fat-content, portion control is a must.

Finally, nix the fried corn tortilla chips for the Soy and Flaxseed version. My personal favorite is Trader Joe’s Spicy Soy and Flaxseed chips. Flaxseed is high in omega-3, which is known to lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar, and even lower the risk of several forms of cancer.

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Entrée: Ceviche – this citrus-marinated white fish salad is a light and fresh way to indulge the taste buds. When choosing ceviche, you have to be very careful – some restaurants and recipes use mayonnaise in their dish. However when done right, ceviche can be a light and protein-filling dish. Food Network’s recipe uses tuna – which gives you another dose of omega-3′s as well as a substantial amount of protein.

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Dessert – Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Tortilla Chips – Most desserts make fruit the ‘add-on’ piece. There is always one tiny cherry on top of an overly large full-fat ice cream sundae, or a few sliced strawberries spread on a mountain of whipped cream. Why not try switching this usual dessert definition and making fruit the main attraction? Check out this Fruit Salsa with Cinammon Tortilla Chips dessert. With fruit as the main staple to the dish, you’ll be getting a boost of vitamins and fiber – and still indulging in some cinnamony sweetness.

Originally published May 2008
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