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Consumer Reports: Healthier options for this Cinco de Mayo

Posted at 8:29 AM, May 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-04 09:29:01-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF/CONSUMER REPORTS) — Thursday is May 5, also known as Cinco de Mayo — a day Americans like to celebrate Mexican culture with food and drinks.

If you're going to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a party or fiesta, you'll want stuff to eat and drink. Maybe a margarita? Chips and salsa or guacamole? But a lot of the traditional foods and beverages can be loaded with fat, calories and sodium. But that doesn't mean you can't celebrate and still be healthy.

Celebratory meals in the Montiel home are rich in flavor and tradition.

"Food unites us, especially with everything going on, it has united us more than ever,” said Saúl Montiel.

For Montiel and his wife Eliana, cooking is a family affair. They make rice and beans two different ways. Mexican and Dominican-style. Besides being delicious, Consumer Reports says rice and beans can also be really healthy.

"Black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans — they’re all packed with antioxidants and fiber. Plus the minerals potassium and magnesium. White rice is often fortified with B-vitamins but for maximum nutrition, you could choose brown rice," said Tricia Calvo, Consumer Reports health editor.

Together, brown rice and beans pack a powerful protein punch with 12 grams per cup and essential fiber.

"Boost flavor with garlic, onions and herbs instead of ham hocks or bacon," suggests Calvo.

Mexican cuisine features other healthy basics, like avocados, tomatoes, peppers, onion and chiles — so feel free to indulge.

"You can cut back on sodium by making your own fresh dips, like guacamole, or salsa, seasoned to your taste," Calvo said.

Which tortilla to wrap it all up? Corn is a whole grain, while flour versions are typically made with refined wheat flour, which lacks nutrients.

Will frozen margaritas be on your menu? Consumer Reports says not all consumer-grade blenders can create a smooth, frosty drink. A blender earns an excellent rating in Consumer Reports' tests if it makes a smooth, consistent pina colada.

This Instant Ace is a Consumer Reports Best Buy at about $120.

If you're going to have chips with salsa or guacamole, keep in mind that just a handful of chips dipped in store-bought guacamole can be loaded with hundreds of milligrams of sodium, which is really high especially if you're watching your sodium intake. So look for chips that have less salt or are lightly salted.

Read the labels if you're using store-bought salsa or guacamole. Or better yet — just make your own.