Celebrating Cinco de Mayo can be a challenge for those with diabetes. After all, a diabetes-friendly diet limits foods that are high in carbs and fats – two things you will definitely find in Cinco de Mayo classics like salty tortilla chips, deep-fried empanadas and big gobs of sour cream.
Diabetes doesn’t have to stop you from celebrating Cinco de Mayo! With a few diabetes-friendly tips and healthy food swaps, you can make this 5th of May your best one yet.
Stick with salsa.
Avoid the temptation of traditional cheese dip. It may be yummy, but it’s loaded with saturated fats and unhealthy calories. Salsa, on the other hand, is full of healthy veggies that offer loads of fiber without any sugar or fat – which means you’ll enjoy great flavor and feel full without raising your blood sugar. Win-Win-Win!
Cut back on chips.
We get it – what’s Cinco de Mayo without tortilla chips? The problem is, it’s all too easy to mindlessly snack on endless servings of chips that offer very little nutrition. If you can’t turn away a good chip, set aside a single serving and commit to stopping when they’re gone.
Choose healthy tortillas.
All tortillas are not created equal. If you have a choice, opt for corn tortillas – they’re smaller, lower in sugar and saturated fats, and offer more fiber than their flour-based cousin. They’re also the traditional choice in Mexican cuisine, giving you a more authentic Cinco de Mayo experience!
Be smart about beans.
It’s best to stay away from refried beans – they’re often fried in lard and salt, making them high in saturated fats, calories, and sodium. Instead, choose traditional black or pinto beans for a big boost of fiber, protein, and other healthy nutrients. If you’re cooking them yourself, try to begin with fresh, dry beans or rinse any canned beans well before cooking.
Lean into lean meats.
Beef, steak and sausage are staples in Mexican dishes, but they aren’t part of a diabetes-friendly diet. Red meats are notoriously high in cholesterol and unhealthy fats. Luckily, it’s easy to swap them for lean meats like chicken or fish in classic items like quesadillas or tacos. You can even go all-veggie for an even healthier fiesta!
Avoid margarita mixers.
Pre-made cocktail mixers may be convenient, but they’re packed full of sugar that’s bound to raise your blood sugar (plus hundreds of extra calories). Consider low-carb Mexican beer or dry wine for a healthier celebratory beverage. If you want that margarita, try making a sugar-free version with tangy lime juice and agave nectar.
Use the above tips and keep your blood sugar testing supplies handy to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in diabetes-friendly style!