Celebrating our Latina Roots with Healthy Inspirations for the Best Cinco de Mayo Fiesta Ever!

When entertaining, most Hispanic families gravitate to our most indulging family recipes. But as a dietitian, I try to sneak in a healthy twist whenever I can, without ruining Abuelita’s secret family recipe. As a Latina mom, it is important to me to continue our family traditions, while still keeping in mind our culture and love for our traditional dishes. So if you think that celebrating Cinco de Mayo with a healthy twist is not possible, keep reading… I have a delicious and fun surprise for you! The strategies are easy and nutritious but have a wow effect that your family and friends will remember forever. If this is what you are looking for, then let’s get started!

I will show you how it is possible to satisfy your guests with delicious, healthy foods that will keep them coming back for more. Here are my simple steps to making the most of your food, and your family this Cinco de Mayo:

Step #1—Let’s get organized and remember, nutritious CAN be simple: 

We tend to get into trouble when we try to do too much in a short amount of time. Once we realize we have overcommitted, we run to the nearest store to find any prepared foods we can grab in a snap. Unfortunately, that trip will be expensive and super stressful.

I like to create food stations with appetizers, entrées, side dishes, and desserts. Therefore, I recommend keeping your menu to two or three great appetizers, two main dishes, and a wonderful side dish. Find recipes that you can make ahead and refrigerate or freeze such as my super easy Southwest Chicken Rice and Mini Tex-Mex Meatloaves. They use simple ingredients you most likely have in your pantry, like canned diced tomatoes, chicken broth, and corn. Also, don’t be afraid to delegate. Desserts or appetizers can be easy for a friend or family to prepare and transport.

Step #2—Incorporate the healthy twist:

First, look at your recipes and see if you can make easy modifications. For example, if the recipe calls for milk, sour cream, or even cheese, you can use the nonfat or low-fat version; your guests won’t even know the difference. Need fresh fruits or veggies? Try using canned fruits and veggies. They deliver the same nutritional benefits and amazing flavors because they are canned at their optimal peak for flavor and texture. Plus, sometimes we can use our pantry as our prep kitchen. Instead of soaking beans overnight, I use canned beans to make my famous Frijoles Rancheros. Want to save lots of calories? Try baking your chips. Just cut your favorite tortillas in triangles, toss with a few teaspoons of oil, sprinkle salt, and bake at 350 degrees F for a few minutes or until crispy and golden brown. Baking can deliver crispy and beautiful food.

Step #3—Plan your beverage station:

You know that beverages will always be part of the party, so offer a variety of beverages to help those who would like to drink something lighter but still delicious. Keep the full-calorie beverages in a cooler in the garage or a little further from the action, while keeping the healthier beverages near the food. You may want to create a refreshing mocktail for your guests. Try my refreshing Sangria using a variety of canned fruits.

Step #4—Enjoy your company:

The ambiance, your guests, and the music make a party. Entertain your guests so they are not focusing only on the food. Provide small plates and encourage the guests to mingle with each other. Make sure you talk to everyone instead of staying glued to the food table. People love having pleasant and fun conversations!

For more recipes and inspiration for your Cinco de Mayo fiesta, visit www.HispanicNutrition.com.


Sylvia KlingerBy: Sylvia E Klinger, DBA, MS, RD, CPT,
Hispanic Food Communications

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