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A Healthy Cinco de Mayo Fiesta

April 30, 2024
A Healthy Cinco de Mayo Fiesta

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In this article:

  • Many Americans of Mexican and non-Mexican descent celebrate Cinco de Mayo with parties and food.
  • You can keep your Cinco de Mayo healthy by choosing your food carefully and making nutritious swaps.
  • Tacos can be nutritious and portion-controlled options. You can also look for other dishes like fajitas and grilled fish.
  • Loading your plate with vegetables and fruit can help satisfy your hunger without many calories.
  • It can be a good idea to bring healthy dishes to share if someone else is hosting a party that you’re attending.
  • Some ways to be physically active are to dance, walk to watch a parade, and set up and clean up events.
  • Lark can help you manage weight with or without GLP-1s as you log food, get tips for eating healthier, and make small changes that can turn into healthy habits.

Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of the anniversary of Mexico’s victory at the Battle de Puebla, and it’s common for Americans of Mexican and other heritage to celebrate it. There can be a lot of food at Cinco de Mayo events, but there are plenty of ways to stay on track with your healthy eating and activity goals.

Tacos Can Fit Any Meal Plan

Tacos can be a great option at Cinco de Mayo.

Here are some reasons why they’re good choices for someone interested in health and weight loss.

  • They’re portion-controlled, with about one-third of the calories of burritos
  • It’s easy to add a balance of ingredients with fiber, protein, and other nutrients
  • You can modify tacos to fit into any meal plan like gluten-free, low-carb, plant-based, and dairy-free

Here are the basic components of nutritious tacos.

  • Tortilla: Use whole-grain corn or whole-wheat flour tortillas, or choose lettuce leaves or low-carb tortillas if you’re minimizing carbs
  • Protein filling: Chicken, lean ground turkey, tofu, black beans, pinto beans, shrimp, and fish are all high-protein and lean. Eggs or egg whites, and low-fat cheese are lean options for breakfast tacos
  • Vegetables: Lettuce, tomatoes, and onions are common toppings, and grilled mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, and zucchini are also simple and high in fiber
  • Condiments: salsa, plain yogurt, chopped cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno or poblano peppers, and sliced avocado are all good choices

The variety of tacos you can build is virtually limitless. Classic seasoning with spices like cumin and chili are good, but you can always change it up. You can change the flavors of salsa, for example, with ingredients like tomatillos, corn, beans, mango, peach, garlic, and cucumber.

More Choices to Consider

There are so many dishes that are delicious and appropriate for Cinco de Mayo! Here are some examples of nutritious dishes.

  • Ceviche or aquachile with lime juice, chile, and cilantro
  • Chicken or shrimp fajitas with vegetables like mushrooms, onions, and bell peppers
  • Vegetable chicken tortilla soup made with whole-grain tortilla and tons of vegetables
  • Grilled fish, chicken, and salmon

Choose protein sources like chicken, fish, shrimp, tofu sofritas, black beans, or low-sodium nonfat refried beans. Ground beef, chicharones, pork carnitas, chorizo, birria, and carne asada are less healthy options.

Corn on the cob (elote) without butter, cactus salad (ensalada de nopales), and fruit salad (ensalada de fruta) can also be good choices.

Condiments Can Bring Sabor

Condiments at many Cinco de Mayo celebrations include lots of great options. See what you can find at the condiment table!

Here are some great choices.

  • Salsa: Cooked or raw, salsa can be packed with antioxidants and fiber
  • Peppers: If you can handle them, jalapenos can speed metabolism a bit due to their capsaicin, which is the compound in peppers that gives them heat
  • More vegetables: Look for common items like lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and radishes.
  • Guacamole: What better way to load up on heart-healthy monounsaturated fats than with delicious guacamole? Just keep portions in check, as a half-cup can have about 200 calories

Creamy dressings like creamy avocado, ranch, and sour cream are high-fat, high-calorie choices. Vinaigrette dressing and salsa are usually better choices.

Bring a Dish to Share

It’s always a good idea to ask what’s on the menu if you’re going to a party that someone else is hosting. If you’re not sure there’s going to be a lean option, consider bringing a nutritious dish to share. Salads, platters with vegetables or lean protein, and fresh fruit are good choices.

Here are some possibilities.

  • Taco salad: A big bowl of shredded iceberg or chopped romaine lettuce plus separate add-ins like tomatoes, cucumbers, black beans, seasoned cooked chicken or ground turkey, chopped avocado, and shredded jack cheese
  • Jicama or cabbage slaw: Greek yogurt, lime juice, cilantro, diced green onions, jalapenos (optional) and garlic
  • Condiment and toppings: Chopped vegetables or an interesting salsa like pineapple salsa with black beans, chili powder, cucumber, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, onion, garlic, and jalapenos
  • Enchiladas: Whole-grain corn tortillas and fillings like chicken, black beans, butternut squash, shrimp, or sweet potato and mushroom
  • Fruit: Cut watermelon, peeled oranges or tangerines, and sliced mangos are just a few types of fruit that are sure to be popular if you bring them

Another option is to bring just a single item for yourself instead of making a large dish for everyone. For example, if it’s a grilling event, you could bring fish, a veggie burger or hot dog, or a piece of chicken to put on the grill.

Add Fruits and Vegetables

It’s common to load up your plate and go back for additional helpings. If that sounds like you or you’re especially hungry, vegetables and fruits can be great tools to fill up your plate and belly without putting you too far over on calories and carbohydrates.

Each time you serve yourself, fill the majority of your plate with vegetables. Add some fruit if you want. Then there will only be a small space on your plate to add higher-calorie items.

Here are some vegetables and fruit to consider.

  • Green or vegetable-based salad without dressing
  • Radishes, cucumbers, tomato, and lettuce
  • Grilled onions or peppers, or other grilled vegetables
  • Fresh fruit like mango, pineapple, watermelon, oranges, and papaya


Alcoholic and sugary beverages can be high in calories and low in nutrients. It’s best to stick with low-calorie, non-alcoholic beverages when considering weight loss, health, and hydration. Here are some ideas.

  • Plain or flavored sparkling or ice water
  • Unsweetened iced tea
  • Infused water with cucumber, lemon, or watermelon

Aqua fresca can be nutritious with a variety of fruit juices diluted in water, but it’s often high in added sugars, too.

Take proper precautions if you choose to drink alcohol. Here are a few examples.

  • Drink plenty of water while you’re drinking alcoholic beverages
  • Monitor blood sugar before, during, and for several hours after you drink if you have diabetes. Ask your healthcare provider about additional steps to take
  • Limit consumption to 1 drink for women or 2 drinks for men

Activity for Everyone

Let the joy of the holiday inspire you to move! Join in whenever a group is dancing, or lead your own dances when there’s music. Consider walking to a parade or party instead of driving, or sign up for a Cinco de Mayo run/walk for fun or for charity. Maybe you can jump into a game of futbol!

Even if the above activities aren’t for you, you can still get active while you stay involved. You might consider helping everyone out by setting up and cleaning up. Managing tables and chairs, setting the table, carrying food and beverages around, and picking up trash can keep you moving and give you some muscle-strengthening activity while you help everyone else.

How Lark Can Help

Everyone deserves to enjoy celebrations, and you can participate while sticking to your healthy intentions. Your Lark coach is available 24/7 for nutrition and physical activity coaching and tracking. Lark can help you make healthy choices and establish habits that fit into your lifestyle so you can lose weight and keep it off with or without GLP-1 medications.

Click here to see if you may be eligible to join Lark today!

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