It Starts with a Square

Healthy Cinco de Mayo

BY Anna Bell

Why do I love Cinco de Mayo Parties?

First, I love a party just about any time, second, spring time is the best time to enjoy company on the patio, and finally, a themed party is always more fun!

When I started to cook healthier food for my family, I suddenly found entertaining a challenge. I wanted to provide my guests with creative, great tasting food. But, I still wanted to have healthy options for my family. It took some time, but I’ve found I can absolutely have both. I love coming up with food choices and recipes that even those who eat a more standard American diet will enjoy. It’s best when they don’t even realize they are eating healthy!

Cinco de Mayo provides a great opportunity for healthy cuisine.

It may not be the traditional party you find South of the border, but you will have traditional flavors and fun food. Grab your maracas, and let’s plan a healthy Mexican-themed party! Here are just a couple of tips to lighten your plate, and still have a good time at home or at your local Mexican restaurant.


Avocados are an excellent source of folate, fiber, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Whip up some guacamole, chop avocado for taco toppings, or use mashed avocado in place of mayo in your favorite party dish.


Pico de gallo, cucumber slices for dipping, or roasted peppers add beautiful color to the table, and allow you to fill up on fiber-filled veggies instead of just tortilla chips – because I don’t know about you, but the endless chips and salsa are what get me every time!


Swap out your white rice in any recipe with brown rice or riced cauliflower. Once you add tomatoes, onion, garlic, and spicy diced peppers, you won’t be able to tell the difference.


Between shrimp ceviche, fish tacos, steak or chicken fajitas, and pork carnitas adding some protein to your spread will be easy. By adding protein to your meal, guest will be full and satisfied, and you won’t be as tempted to keep returning to the chips and dip.


Usually dessert is the most important part of a gathering to me. However, after all the dips, veggies, protein, and a margarita, I don’t think that Cinco de Mayo celebrations have to include dessert. Opt for some fresh fruit instead of a heavy dessert spread.


If you just can’t have a Cinco de Mayo party without margaritas, make your own instead of using a sugar laden mix. Scarlet Margaritas are a good option and include antioxidant-packed pomegranate.


These are simple changes that can make a big difference, but simple doesn’t always mean easy. Preparing veggies ahead of time, making your own salsa and guac, and skipping the pre-made mixes may take you a little extra time. But, get the whole family involved with washing and chopping, and you will have a fiesta in the kitchen before the first guest even arrives.

If you are looking for additional guidance, direction, or motivation to eat and live out a healthier lifestyle, join us for our next Free Healthy Living Workshop. We will be at Collierville Burch Library May 1, 15, and 29 starting at 6pm. Specific nutrition workshops are held in our clinic in Collierville, where we teach how to balance protein, carbohydrates, and fats, as well as meal timing and portion size specifically to meet your health and fitness goals. We will teach you how to navigate parties, entertaining, eating out, and the challenge of our every day busy lives. Contact us directly at 901-316-5456 for more information.

Dr. Amanda Ling is a physical therapist, certified nutrition specialist, speaker, host of A Healthier MidSouth podcast, and author of the book Heal Optimize Thrive. She is co-owner of Peak Potential Physiotherapy & Wellness in Collierville, TN with her husband Dr. Trevor Ling. She brings over 15 years of healthcare experience in a variety of settings, and is passionate about helping people of all ages regain their health and vitality. Learn more at
May/June 2020 Tour Collierville Magazine