Take it easy on the sour cream. Drop the tortilla chips. Registered dietitian and weight-loss expert Jennifer Christman of Medifast, Inc. on ways to make your Cinco de Mayo celebration a healthier one without having to sacrifice taste.
- Guacamole is made from avocados, a fruit that is calorically and nutrient dense. Although considered higher in fat, avocados are loaded with healthy monounsaturated fats that can have a positive effect on bad cholesterol levels. To add nutritional value and reduce calories, try replacing some avocado with low-fat plain Greek yogurt. This creamy addition will add a nice tang to your guacamole and help to reduce overall caloric intake.
- Create a “healthy” taco bar. Tacos have a tendency to be loaded with calories, fat and sodium. When choosing fillings for your tacos make some easy and healthy swaps to decrease calorie load and increase nutritional value. If making a meat filling, choose 93 percent lean ground beef or turkey and try using only half a packet of taco seasoning to reduce sodium intake. Choose fresh or low-sodium canned varieties of beans and tomatoes. Substitute low-fat plain Greek yogurt for high fat sour cream and lettuce leaves instead of taco shells for lower fat and calorie options.
- Traditional Mexican rice provides 250-300 calories and upwards of 55 grams of carbohydrates per one-cup serving. A simple, lower-calorie and carbohydrate substitution is using cauliflower rice in place of rice. One cup of cauliflower provides less than 30 calories, approximately five grams of carbohydrates and is an excellent source of vitamins C and K. You can easily make cauliflower rice in your food processor or using a food grater.
- Want to add a festive beverage to your meal? A typical frozen margarita from a restaurant provides upwards of 600 calories and 120 grams of carbohydrates. To cut back on calories and carbs try a margarita on the rocks made with zero-calorie sparkling water, tequila and fresh-squeezed lime juice. This change almost eliminates carbohydrates and reduces calorie intake to less than 100.