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Cinco de Mayo Food: Avoiding Overindulgence

By: Erin Coleman, B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.,

Writer at The Fit Father Project

Cinco de Mayo food
Celebrating May 5th? Be careful — Cinco de Mayo food is often less than nutritious. Unless you have some great, healthy recipes on hand!

We get it, you want to go all out this year. More and more people are getting vaccinated, and the country is reopening.

Plus, last year's Cinco de Mayo fell on a Taco Tuesday … and we were all in lockdown due to the pandemic!

So go ahead and have some fun this year — just be safe and don't overindulge.

Instead, use the tips and recipes below to prepare festive and healthy Cinco de Mayo food!

Want more diet and nutrition tips? Check out our Definitive Guide to Healthy Eating for Men!

Nutritious Cinco de Mayo Food

Examples of healthy Cinco de Mayo foods and ingredients you can add to Mexican-themed menus include:

  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Chicken
  • Very lean ground turkey
  • Very lean, organic ground beef
  • Ground bison
  • Cheese
  • Black beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Other dried beans
  • Vegan refried beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Salsa
  • Lettuce
  • Peppers
  • Other vegetables
  • Olives
  • Avocados
  • Guacamole
  • Sour cream
  • Olive oil
  • Limes
  • Lime juice
  • Lemons
  • Lemon juice

Mix and match these ingredients in Cinco de Mayo recipes to get festive this May 5th, yet stay healthy and lean!

Not-S0-Healthy Cinco de Mayo Food

Examples of Cinco de Mayo foods and ingredients to limit or avoid whenever possible include:

  • Processed cheese
  • Processed meats
  • Fatty cuts of meat
  • White rice
  • Flour tortillas
  • Refried beans made with lard
  • Churros
  • Fried ice cream
  • Sopapillas
  • Empanadas
  • Flan
  • Cakes
  • Other desserts
  • Alcoholic drinks

Even if you choose some of the foods on the not-so-healthy list, avoid overindulging them at Cinco de Mayo get-togethers this season.

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Nutritious Cinco de Mayo Recipes

Consider preparing the following Cinco de Mayo foods and recipes for friends and loved ones!

Simple Guacamole

Wow your party guests with this simple, yet delicious, guacamole recipe!

Ingredients

  • 2 avocados, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup of chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Mash the avocados in a bowl until smooth.
  • Mix in onion, tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, cilantro, and lemon juice until well combined.
  • Season the mixture with salt and pepper.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Servings: 4

Black Bean Salad

Try this nutritious recipe (black bean salad) that's festive, simple to make, and can impress friends and family on Cinco de Mayo!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 50 grams jalapeno chilies in brine, drained
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of the reserved brine
  • 100 grams of sour cream
  • 425 grams of canned black beans, drained
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 bunch of coriander
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 cup of shredded cos lettuce
  • Lime wedges for serving
  • Tortilla chips for serving (optional)

Instructions

  • Combine the sour cream and jalapeno brine in a bowl.
  • Combine the corn with the remaining ingredients (except the lime and tortilla chips) in a bowl.
  • Drizzle the mixture with sour cream and top it with tortilla chips if you'd like.
  • Serve the salad with lime wedges and enjoy!

Servings: 2

Easy Taco Soup

Consider this nutritious taco soup recipe as another Cinco de Mayo food you can prepare for get-togethers with friends or as a simple meal for your family!

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of very lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1 envelope of taco seasoning
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 16-ounce can of mild chili beans, undrained
  • 15 1/4-ounce can of whole kernel corn, drained
  • 15-ounce can of pinto beans, drained
  • 14 1/2-ounce can of stewed tomatoes
  • 10-ounce can of diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 4-ounce can of chopped green chilies (optional)
  • 1 envelope of ranch salad dressing mix

Instructions

  • In a dutch oven, cook the meat over medium heat until it's no longer pink. Break it into crumbles and drain the meat as needed.
  • Add the taco seasoning and mix well.
  • Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer the mixture (uncovered) for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it's heated through.
  • Serve and enjoy this favorite Cinco de Mayo food with loved ones!

Servings: 8

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Avocado Salsa

A cross between guacamole and pico de gallo, this avocado salsa recipe is a refreshing Cinco de Mayo food that all of your friends and family will love!

Ingredients

  • 6 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 4 avocados, diced
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of cilantro leaves, chopped

Instructions

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Toss them together and add additional salt as needed.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Servings: 8

Turkey Taco Lettuce Wraps

This satiating but light Cinco de Mayo food makes the perfect appetizer or main dish, depending on how hungry you are.

Turkey taco lettuce wraps are simple to make and tastes delicious!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 pound of lean ground turkey
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • 1 cup of chicken broth (use low-sodium as needed)
  • 2 heads of romaine lettuce
  • Shredded Mexican cheese for serving
  • Chopped tomatoes for serving
  • Chopped red onions for serving
  • Chopped avocados for serving
  • Chopped cilantro for serving

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add in the onion and cook it until just soft (about 5 minutes).
  • Add in the turkey and season it with salt.
  • Cook the meat, breaking it up with a spoon until it's cooked through (about 4 minutes).
  • Stir in the tomato paste and chili powder. Cook the mixture for about 1 minute.
  • Add the broth and let the mixture simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick (about 2 more minutes.).
  • Double up the lettuce leaves and divide the meat mixture among them.
  • Sprinkle the lettuce leaves and meat with tomatoes, cheese, onions, cilantro, and avocados.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Servings: 4

Zucchini Burrito Boats

Rather than traditional burritos in tortillas, try nutritious, zucchini burrito boats as a go-to Cinco de Mayo recipe instead!

Ingredients

  • 4 large zucchinis
  • 15-ounce can of black beans, drained
  • 1 cup of cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup of salsa
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 large red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of corn kernels
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar or jack cheese

Instructions

  • Grease a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish.
  • Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise and hollow out the centers.
  • Lightly brush the tops of the zucchini with olive oil and place them (skin side down) in the casserole dish.
  • Warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add in the onions and peppers and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the corn, rice, beans, chili powder, salsa, and cumin.
  • Stir and continue to cook the mixture for about 5 minutes, remove it from the heat, and set it aside.
  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Add 1/4 cup of cilantro and salt to the filling mixture.
  • Spoon the filling onto each zucchini and sprinkle it with cheese.
  • Arrange the zucchinis in a dish and cover them with foil.
  • Bake them in the oven for about 25 minutes and remove the foil.
  • Set your oven to broil.
  • Cook the zucchini for 5 additional minutes until the cheese is golden brown.
  • Allow the zucchinis to cool for 5-10 minutes and top them with fresh cilantro.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Servings: 8

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Taco Stuffed Tomatoes

If you want to cut back on carbs, consider this taco stuffed tomatoes dish as a nutritious Cinco de Mayo recipe!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of very lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 8 large tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons (or 1 packet) of taco seasoning
  • 1-3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sour cream for serving
  • Shredded cheddar for serving
  • Avocados for serving
  • Sliced scallions for serving

Instructions

  • Cook the ground beef or turkey in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Cook it until browned, breaking up the beef with a wooden spoon for about 5 minutes. Drain the meat.
  • Add olive oil and taco seasoning and mix well.
  • Core each tomato to make it hollow.
  • Spoon the beef filling into each tomato and top with cheese, sour cream, scallions, avocados, or any other favorite toppings!

Servings: 8

Tasty Chicken Fajitas

Friends and family will adore this tasty chicken fajitas recipe that's quite a popular Cinco de Mayo food!

Chicken Fajitas Ingredients

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 bell peppers, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 lime

Fajita Seasoning Ingredients

  • 1/2 tablespoon of chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper

Foods for Serving

  • Sour cream (optional)
  • Pico de gallo (optional)
  • Avocados

Instructions

  • Add the fajita seasoning ingredients to a small bowl and stir.
  • Sprinkle the fajita seasoning on both sides of the chicken and press it into the chicken.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Sear the chicken for about 7-8 minutes on each side.
  • While the chicken cooks, cut the onions and peppers into slices.
  • Remove the chicken from the heat and let it rest.
  • Add bell peppers and onion to the skillet over medium heat and saute them for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Slice the chicken into strips and add it back to the skillet. Add in fresh lime juice and stir well.
  • Serve the fajitas with toppings of your choice.
  • Enjoy this favorite Cinco de Mayo food with friends and family!

Servings: 6

Chicken Avocado Soup

Try a chicken avocado soup recipe as a light lunch or appetizer this Cinco de Mayo season!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups of green onions, chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 14.5-ounce cans of chicken broth (use low-sodium as needed)
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cups of cilantro, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
  • 3 medium avocados, diced
  • Tortilla chips for serving (optional)
  • Shredded cheese for serving (optional
  • Sour cream for serving (optional)

Instructions

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add green onions and jalapenos.
  • Saute the mixture until it's tender for about 2 minutes (add garlic during the last 30 seconds).
  • Mix in tomatoes, chicken broth, cumin, salt, and pepper.
  • Add chicken breasts to the mixture and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Reduce heat to medium, cover the pot with a lid, and cook the mixture (stirring occasionally) until the chicken gets cooked through. This often takes about 10-15 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to warm, remove chicken from the pot, and let it rest for about 5 minutes.
  • Shred the chicken and return it to the soup.
  • Stir in lime juice and cilantro.
  • Add the avocados right before serving.
  • Serve the soup with fixings of your choice (corn chips, sour cream, cheese, etc.) and enjoy!

Servings: 6

Grilled Steak with Tomatoes and Guacamole

This nutrient-dense, tasty, low-carb grilled steak recipe is the perfect Cinco de Mayo food for you and your loved ones this May!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds of skirt steak
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 avocados, diced
  • 2 tablespoons of red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro (plus cilantro leaves for serving as needed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cups of red grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3/4 cups of yellow grape tomatoes, halved
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Place the steak in a glass baking dish.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the coriander, cumin, garlic, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 1 tablespoon of lime juice.
  • Pour the mixture over the steak to marinate it for at least 10 minutes.
  • Prepare the guacamole by mashing together avocados, cilantro, onions, red pepper flakes, and 2 tablespoons of lime juice until chunky. Season the mixture with salt.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, mix the tomatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season the mixture with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a grill to medium-high heat and grill the tomatoes until blistered (about 4 minutes).
  • Remove the tomatoes and increase the heat to high.
  • Add steak to the grill and season it with salt and pepper.
  • Grill the steak for 3 minutes on each side (for medium-rare) and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  • Thinly slice the steak, top it with tomatoes and cilantro, serve it with guacamole, and enjoy!

Servings: 4

Erin Coleman B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer at The Fit Father Project

Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 15 years of freelance writing experience.

She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed her dietetic internship at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Prior to beginning her career in medical content writing, Erin worked as Health Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Internal Medicine.

Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s currently working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife, and a Mom to two beautiful children.

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