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In: Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo, for those who may not know means the fifth of May, also known as the Anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, national holiday in Mexico in honor of a military victory in 1862 over the French forces of Napoleon III. Cinco de Mayo today has become a day to throw a party and have a little too much to eat and drink, but did you know these facts about today:

  • The holiday celebrates an unexpected victory. The holiday actually celebrates the Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The Mexican army won the battle despite being smaller and ill-equipped.
  • Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day. That occurred 50 years prior to the Battle of Puebla. It is celebrated on September 16.
  • Cinco de Mayo is a bigger deal in the United States. In Mexico, the day is observed with political speeches and battle reenactments. Many of the actual celebration and battle re-enactment take place in Puebla.
  • In fact, the world’s largest Cinco celebration takes place in Los Angeles. This year’s Festival de Fiesta Broadway is expected to draw 300,000 people. Cities like New York City, Denver and Houston also throw large parties in honor of the day.
Celebrations in the United States often extend beyond the actual day to encompass an entire week, with parades and festivals that include music, dancing, and food. If you are a fan of Cinco de Mayo and want to celebrate but don’t want to blow your diet, here are some fit health tips on how to skip calories but not flavor!


Skip lettuce go with cabbage!
Cabbage is a more nutritious taco topping than lettuce. Cabbage is filled with antioxidants and is an excellent source of vitamin C, providing roughly one-third of your recommended daily intake in just one cup. A cup of iceberg lettuce, by contrast, provides only about 3 percent of your daily dose.

As an added bonus, cabbage packs a crunchy bite and comes in a variety of colors, ranging from bright purple to green, that look great on your plate.

Skip the ground beef, go with fish
Fish is a leaner protein and full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and is lower in calories than ground beef. Swapping beef for fish also cuts down on dietary cholesterol.

Skip store bought, go with homemade
Yes, making guacamole in your own kitchen takes time, but store-bought varieties are often loaded with preservatives and firming agents, like sodium benzoate and calcium chloride.

Some mass-produced guacamoles also are surprisingly high in sodium. For example, Trader

 Joe’s Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacamole contains no fewer than 280 milligrams (or 12 percent of your daily limit) per two-tablespoon serving.

Mass-produced salsas typically contain processed ingredients (such as tomato paste and dehydrated onions), but the real health downer is the sodium. Just two tablespoons of Tostitos Chunky Salsa, for instance, contains 250 milligrams of sodium, about 10 percent of your daily limit. And who stops at just two tablespoons?

Pico de gallo (also known as salsa fresca), an easy-to-make mixture of minced vegetables and chiles, offers a similar kick of flavor and spice, but with roughly one-fifth the sodium.

Skip re-fried, go with whole beans
Beans are loaded with filling fiber, but they can add sodium and fat when re-fried and packaged in can. Choose whole bean, non-refried, or low-fat canned varieties when you are looking for convenience, or buy dry beans if you have time to make them from scratch.


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