Five Food Swaps for a Healthy Cinco de Mayo

Having diabetes doesn't mean you can't throw a fiesta and indulge in some tasty, traditional Mexican food.

A few simple tweaks to your menu can help you enjoy the day without worrying about your waistline or your health. Here are five simple food swaps that don't compromise on flavor or fun:

Fish

Swap out ground beef or turkey in those tacos for fish. One of the leanest proteins around, fish is full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and it's much lower in calories than other meats. Try tilapia, cod or even trout to get a meaty-textured taco without all of the cholesterol. Fish can easily be marinated in a simple dressing of olive oil, lemon and a little salt and pepper. Make a slaw to accompany it out of fresh vegetables, onions and lettuce. Try this recipe if you need some inspiration.

Peppers

Jalapenos, bell peppers or cayenne peppers can add a lot of flavor to traditional Mexican dishes in the place of salty seasonings or high-sugar and high-fat dressings on salads. Chop them up fine to add to slaws or salsas too. Raw peppers are also much healthier than pickled or jarred versions as they are sodium-free. Peppers also spike up your metabolism by raising your body temperature, allowing you to burn more calories.

Homemade salsa and guacamole

Store-bought salsa and guacamole are often full of sodium, preservatives and sometimes even firming agents. Skip the chemicals and make your own versions with minimal ingredients. Guacamole can easily be made with just avocados, tomatoes, garlic, onion and some salt. The same goes for salsa - add tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic and cilantro into a blender and mix up your own delicious dip.

Beans

Use organic, whole beans instead of refried beans in burritos or other dishes. Also, opt for varieties that are labeled "low-sodium" or "low-fat." If you have the time, buy dry beans and make them yourself for an even healthier version. Beans are naturally high in fiber, which will help keep you full and your blood sugar stable.

Tortillas

Steer clear of white flour tortillas and opt for corn or whole wheat versions. You'll save calories and you'll also be consuming less sugar. For something even healthier, try using lettuce wraps or flaxseed wraps for tacos or burritos.

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