Kingsport Times-News: Healthy Cinco de Mayo meal loses none of the flavor

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Healthy Cinco de Mayo meal loses none of the flavor

Jennifer Miller, ETSU Dietetic Intern • May 2, 2018 at 10:11 AM

Cinco de Mayo, which translates in Spanish to “fifth of May,” is a Mexican holiday used to commemorate an unlikely victory over the French Empire at the Battle at Puebla on May 5, 1862. In the United States, Cinco de Mayo has become a popular observance of Mexican-American culture but is often mistaken for Mexico’s Independence Day, which is actually celebrated Sept. 16.

There are many Mexican-inspired celebratory foods we indulge in around Cinco de Mayo, many of which can be made healthier and more nutrient-dense!

Choose ground turkey, ground chicken or grilled fish instead of ground beef in dishes like tacos or burritos to decrease saturated fat.

If you prefer soft-shelled fajita wraps, opt for whole wheat shells over standard white flour shells for added fiber.

Crunchy shells are available in whole grain options as well as low-sodium options, or choose bagged tortilla chips and make your Mexican entrée into a salad.

Instead of purchasing ready-made or pre-flavored rice, choose uncooked, brown rice to reduce sodium and increase nutrients.

Make your own homemade dips, such as salsa or guacamole, to reduce added sodium, sugar, preservatives and fats.

Cinco de Mayo is known as a brightly decorated holiday. Model your dishes the same way by adding as much color as possible like fresh veggies and fruits such as lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, bell peppers, cabbage, onions, beans or hummus, mangos, etc.

Check out the “Meals and Recipe Center” on for dozens of Mexican-inspired dishes that you and your family can enjoy like these BBQ Chicken and Black Bean Burritos.

BBQ Chicken and Black Bean Burritos


three-quarter pound chicken breasts

one-half cup onion

3 garlic cloves

one-third cup barbecue sauce

15 ounces black beans

one-half  cup cheddar cheese

4 soft whole wheat tortillas, warmed


Heat a little oil in a pan. Add chicken, onion and garlic. Cook for eight minutes or until chicken is cooked and the internal temperature reads 165 degrees. Stir in barbecue sauce and black beans. Sprinkle with cheese and cook five more minutes. Fill tortillas with the chicken mixture. Enjoy!

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