Happy Cinco de Mayo! Did you know this day commemorates the Battle of Puebla and victory over Napoleon III and the French? It was actually first celebrated in California in 1863, as a gesture of solidarity with Mexico. Though it is celebrated in Mexico, apparently the U.S. makes a much bigger deal about this holiday. With all that is going on right now (and, even more so, all that is not going on right now), I did not want to miss celebrating this must-cook-Mexican-tonight holiday with all of you!

I love cooking HEALTHY Mexican food — it’s just as fun and delicious, but without the guilt.

Though staying home may not be your first choice for a Mexican fiesta, you can absolutely take advantage of the freshness of homemade margaritas, fresh guac and your favorite tacos. And the good news — this can be immediately followed by your siesta😴. #stayhome #essentialworkers

Lightening Up On Cinco de Mayo:

  • Mock-arita: Tequila, club soda, and lots of fresh lime juice = 100 calories versus your typical Margarita with lots of extra sugar, closer to 500 calories
  • Tacos or Fajitas: When you order them in a restaurant, they usually come with beans, rice and tortillas…and this might be after you had some chips…Create some well-seasoned and spiced chicken, fish, shrimp, or beef with lots of grilled peppers and onions, and some salsa for a zing of flavor. You can chow down on this yummy protein and produce combination for way less of a price tag by leaving the calorie-heavy rice, beans and tortilla behind. If you really want the rice, beans or tortilla, pick your favorite or a little bit of each.
  • Guacamole: Fresh guac at home be spiced the way you like it to be used with countless veggies in place of chips, like jicama, celery, radish, carrots, cucumbers, grape tomatoes — whatever you have on hand! A few chips are fine, but be sure to mix it up.
Photo by Michele Blackwell on Unsplash

Fresh Lime Margarita

Let’s put alcohol into perspective. Pure alcohol contains about 7 calories per gram, which makes it nearly twice as caloric as carbohydrates or protein (both contain about 4 calories per gram) and only just under the caloric value for fat (9 calories per gram). This does not mean it is not worth it. Just keep it in perspective = moderation.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 oz tequila
1 1/2 oz Triple Sec (or Cointreau, if no triple sec on hand)
1 1/2 oz lime juice, fresh squeezed
1 Tablespoon Kosher salt, optional

PREPARATION

Fill cocktail shaker halfway with ice cubes. Add all ingredients. Shake it up. Slice a piece of lime that was juiced, and rub along edge of serving glass. Dip in Kosher salt, if you choose. Pour your freshly shaken drink into your glass. Cheers!

Photo by thenovicechefblog.com

FRESH FISH TACO TIME

If fish is not your jam, you can certainly go with shrimp, tofu or chicken, for a lean alternative.

INGREDIENTS

1 pound of your favorite fish (ie. flounder, salmon, your pick!)
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 Tablespoon olive oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3–4 cilantro leaves, chopped fine (basil if not a fan)
Spice Mix: 1/2 T. cumin, 1 T. paprika, 1 T. chili powder
4 bell peppers — mix of red, green, yellow, orange, sliced into strips
2 medium onions, chopped into small pieces
salt and pepper to taste
nonstick cooking spray (or, place olive oil in plant-spray type bottle, so a little goes a long way, without any additional chemicals)
6–8 corn tortillas, small/taco-style

PREPARATION

Combine spice mix and rub all over fish. Set aside.

Heat large sauté pan to medium. Add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and spread in pan. Add bell peppers and onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (even a dash of cayenne pepper for an extra kick). Cook for 8–10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Remove from pan and keep warm.

*(see note below first)Add other 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil to pan. Add garlic and cook for a couple minutes. Add seasoned fish and cook about 3–4 minutes, lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray (or olive oil spray)then flip. After a couple minutes, break fish into smaller pieces with spatula, and finish cooking a few more minutes, or until crisp.

*While cooking fish, heat corn tortillas according to package directions.

Place fish on serving platter and sprinkle with lime juice and cilantro. Serve with peppers, onions and tortillas (or go naked, your choice). For an extra sweet crunch, sprinkle with toasted flaked coconut.

Photo by keviniscooking.com

ALWAYS FRESH GUACAMOLE

If you are not a fan of cilantro, just leave it out (but please put some chopped fresh on the side, for those that enjoy). Why cilantro? Cilantro (which are the leaves of the coriander plant) may actually have some antioxidant and detoxifying capabilities. If you love it, love it with much adoration :).

There are many recipes for guacamole out there, but simplicity seems best.

To make it even more simple: Mix the mashed avocados with your favorite salsa. Done.

INGREDIENTS

3 avocados, peeled, pitted and mashed
1 lime, squeezed, about 2 tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup diced red onion
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 roma tomatoes, diced
pinch or two of cayenne pepper

PREPARATION

In a medium bowl, mix together the mashed avocados, lime juice, and salt. Mix in garlic, onion, cilantro and tomatoes. Stir in cayenne pepper. Refrigerate 1 hour tops, or serve immediately. Season to meet your tastebuds.

Serve with LOTS of cut fresh veggies (as mentioned above) and maybe a serving of baked tortilla chips.

Amazing pineapple can make the tastiest of desserts..even if you freeze it and dip it in some dark chocolate 😋

For comments, thoughts, requests or anything else you feel the need to share, please do: amysmargulies@gmail.com

A nutrition expert and middle child, I am writing to promote health and wellbeing, recipes and tips in a relatable, slightly rebellious fashion.