Celebrating Cinco de Mayo

Bring out the chips and salsa! It's the most celebrated holiday of Mexican culture in the United States. While Cinco de Mayo is not widely celebrated in Mexico, many people in the United States celebrate the 5th of May with good food, drinks, family and friends.

If the thought of huge helpings of refried beans and cheesy enchiladas worries you, have no fear. There are ways to control your carb intake and to eat healthy on this holiday.

Mexican food made with fresh vegetables, seafood, fruit, and beans is healthy, light, and still full of flavor! Here are some tips to make your fiesta’s menu healthier:

  • Make fresh salsa or black bean dip instead of guacamole. (Guacamole has healthy fats in it, but it is much higher in fat and calories than the other two choices.)
  • It is easy to overeat on snacks like tortilla chips. Measure out just one serving so you can save room for the main course!
  • Incorporate fruits and vegetables in your dishes. Be creative!
  • Make brown rice instead of white rice.
  • Choose lean meats and don’t add fat when cooking. (For example, use lean ground beef, lean ground turkey or shredded chicken breast.)
  • Rinse canned beans before using to remove excess sodium.
  • Make re-fried beans from scratch or buy a fat-free canned version.
  • Choose non-fat dairy such as non-fat sour cream and non-fat cheese.
  • Reduce the use of animal fats, like lard and butter, and choose liquid oils for cooking.
  • Use corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas.
  • Don’t go crazy with the margaritas. These and other mixed drinks are packed with carbohydrate and calories. Consider light Mexican beer or a dry wine if you choose to drink alcohol.

The American Diabetes Association offers several healthy recipes and cookbooks so you can celebrate Cinco de Mayo without packing on extra pounds. Visit Por Tu Familia, the American Diabetes Association’s Spanish website.

Also, call our Center for Information and Community Support at 1-800-DIABETES and ask about our booklet Latin Flavor in the Kitchen for several recipes with a bit of Latin flair and lot fewer calories.

  • Last Reviewed: August 1, 2013
  • Last Edited: December 23, 2013

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