How to have a healthy Cinco de Mayo celebration

May 5 is Cinco de Mayo, and you might be planning to eat Mexican food to celebrate.

But a delicious Mexican meal doesn’t have to be high in fat, calories or salt, says the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Here are some of the Academy’s tips for how to stay healthy on Cinco de Mayo:

  • Include avocados, peppers, tomatoes, mangoes or jicama in your meal. Dip into fresh salsa, and make a dessert with a berry or other fruit base.
  • Skip the sour cream, cheese and other high-fat fare, in favor of tortillas filled with veggies, chicken and beans. Prepare dishes that are grilled, broiled, baked or stir-fried.
  • Skip the fried tortilla shell for a taco salad, and ask for sauces and toppings to be served on the side. Choose soft corn tortillas.
  • Season food with chilies, lime, cilantro and other fresh, natural flavors that don’t overpower with salt.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation on Cinco de Mayo. Opt for a light beer or a margarita on the rocks, and skip the salt on the rim.

Ann Caldwell, nutrition coordinator at Luminis Health Anne Arundel Medical Center, says if you choose to indulge in guacamole on Cinco de Mayo, consider portion size. You can also dip veggies, such as thinly sliced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes or celery, instead of chips.

Salsa is another healthy alternative, she says. Here’s her recipe for fresh, delicious salsa.

Fresh Tomato Salsa for Cinco de Mayo

Fresh salsa is easy to make and simply delicious to enjoy!


3 ea.      Tomatoes, fresh, chopped (3 cups)

½ ea.     Red onion, finely chopped

1/3 c.     Green pepper, finely chopped

1/3 c.     Red pepper, finely chopped

1 ea.      Jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped

1 ea.      Juice of one lime

½ c.        Cilantro, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

(Add a pinch to ¼ tsp. of ground cumin for additional flavor)

Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight before serving.

Originally published May 3, 2017. Last updated May 3, 2021.

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