2) Choose soft tacos over hard taco shells. The hard ones are typically fried – adding extra calories and fat.
3) Or skip the tortillas and shells all together! Add your ingredients to a salad instead. A southwestern salad with mixed greens, corn, beans, salsa, a few crushed tortilla chips and a little bit of cheese is a great nutrient-packed choice.
4) Load up on the veggies, herbs, and spices! Think of a variety of peppers (from sweet to spicy), salsa, herbs like cilantro, and spices like cumin and cayenne pepper. All of these contain beneficial nutrients – for example, did you know that a large red bell pepper contains 3 times the amount of Vitamin C in an orange?! There are also phytochemicals in vegetables and herbs that act in many helpful ways in the body. And not to mention that capsaicin in hot peppers and certain spices may give your metabolism a little boost!
6) Avoid too much sour cream. It adds lots of calories and unhealthy fats. Consider using small amounts of light sour cream, or use fat free greek yogurt instead.
7) Enjoy guacamole – but in moderation. Yes, guacamole is high in fat and calories – but it’s got heart-healthy monounsaturated fats as well as lots of vitamins and minerals! The key is a proper portion size and accompaniments. If you’re using guacamole as a dip, use veggies like carrots and celery rather than chips to cut down on the calories in chips, and enjoy a few spoonfuls of guac rather than the whole bowl. If you’re adding guacamole to an entrée dish, use a small amount for a big burst of flavor.
8) Did you know that certain restaurants and food producers add mayonnaise or sour cream to create a creamier guacamole? Not only is this unnecessary – regular guacamole is so good as is! – but it adds extra fat and calories. Whip up your own guacamole instead. It can be as simple as avocado, fresh squeezed lime juice, and a little diced onion. Add in tomatoes and peppers if you’d like too! These provide extra volume and texture without many calories.
9) Avoid the frozen, overly sugary margaritas, which can contribute tons of added sugar without any vitamins and minerals. For example, a classic frozen margarita from Red Lobster contains 470 calories and 96 grams of carbohydrate! Instead, try making your own healthier cocktails. Try pureeing some fresh raspberries with orange juice, then add seltzer water, a shot of tequila, and a squeeze of lime. Or go simple with a light beer and a squeeze of lime.
What are your plans for Cinco de Mayo? I’ll be heading over to a barbeque with friends from my triathlon group. I’d love to hear your plans and any delicious – and healthy – foods that you’ll be enjoying!