Cinco de Mayo Recipes with Real Health Benefits

Cinco de Mayo is a fun and festive holiday to celebrate the Latino(a) culture in the U.S. And let’s be honest: it’s a great excuse to to indulge in a little chips and salsa. 💃🏻 But Cinco de Mayo recipes don’t have to be junky; in fact, Mexican food is full of good-for-you ingredients. You don’t have to look far to find meals packed with fresh produce (tomatoes, plantains, peppers), cleansing spices (cilantro, chiles, cumin, cinnamon), protein (beans), and healthy fats (avocado).

No need to get deep in a dark black hole on Google or Pinterest, either. I’ve rounded up some of the best, most healthful Cinco de Mayo recipes (and store bought items) out there.

The Best Cinco de Mayo Recipes and Store-bought Options

Guacamole

All guacamole is not created equal. Look for one that contains organic avocados and the cleansing herb, cilantro. Plus, boost its health properties by adding in raw garlic and anti-inflammatory jalapeños. 

Buy: Hope Foods Green Chile Guacamole

Make: Classic Guacamole

Tortillas

You’ll want to avoid most store-bought tortillas, which are filled with processed junk and additives to increase shelf life. To make a smarter choice, always choose corn tortillas over flour tortillas. I recommend sprouted corn tortillas—they’re more nourishing, plus sprouted grains have been linked with better cardiovascular health, improved blood pressure, and fewer allergies.

It’s also surprisingly easy to make your own tortillas. Use coconut flour in place of refined flour—it’s wheat- and grain-free, plus high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats. You can even make one-ingredient tortillas out of plantains.

Buy: Food for Life Sprouted Corn Tortillas or Siete Cassava & Coconut Flour Tortillas

Make: Coconut Flour Tortillas or Plantain Tortillas

Chips

Here’s where you can really go astray. Regular tortilla chips are usually made from GMO corn and fried in bad fats. Like tortillas (tortilla chips are fried tortillas, after all!), you’re better off choosing grain-free options or making your own. 

Blue corn chips, which are high in selenium (an antioxidant that helps reduce inflammation and increase blood flow), are also a good option.

Even better, cut up organic veggies, like carrots, celery, bell peppers, and cucumbers to dip in guacamole and other dips.

Buy: Siete Grain Free Tortilla Chips, Garden of Eatin’ Blue Corn Tortilla Chips, or Way Better Snacks Sprouted Blue Corn Tortilla Chips

Make: Cut Food for Life tortillas (above) into small triangles. Place triangles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake at 350F until crisp, about 10 minutes. You can even try this Raw Corn Chips if you want to go all out!

Beans

Certain starches, or chains of glucose, are resistant to digestion—this can provide good “food” for our gut bacteria while improving insulin sensitivity and blood sugar levels. Resistant starch can also aid in digestion and reduce appetite.

Legumes are high in resistant starch, but certain methods of cooking (cooking, cooling and then re-heating before eating) can also increase resistant starch in foods like rice and beans.

Buy: Organic Caribbean Black Beans (These BPA-free canned beans are soaked overnight (!) reducing anti-nutrients. They also contain spices like cumin, cinnamon, and garlic.)

Make: Rice and Bean Resistant Starch Salad or Black Bean Salad With Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Cheese

Studies show that raw milk may be easier to digest and decrease lactose sensitivity and allergies. Additional research suggests unpasteurized milk could even reduce instances of asthma and hay fever.

Buy: Organic Valley Raw Monterey Jack Cheese

Olives

Choosing olives cured without liquid (like vinegar) helps ensure the fruit was cured without yucky dyes and additives.

Buy: Organic Sunfood Black Botija Olives

Meat

Aside from the fact that it’s more humane, grass-fed beef is a more nutritious option for your Cinco de Mayo recipes, because it’s less likely to cause food-borne illness and isn’t filled with the same antibiotics and hormones as the more standard choices available. 

Salsa

Tomatoes are packed with nutrients (vitamin c, folate, beta-carotene, potassium, calcium, and more). Unfortunately, conventional tomatoes are sprayed like crazy and are almost always on the dirty dozen list, so be sure to choose organic varieties for your Cinco de Mayo recipes. 

Buy: Amy’s Medium Salsa or Drew’s Organic Salsa

Make: Fermented Salsa (with extra probiotics!) or Salsa Fresca

Tequila

For mamas who want to have a cocktail with their favorite Cinco de Mayo recipes, try a sugar-free margarita made with a high-quality organic tequila. Some publications are touting certain health benefits of tequila, but some experts warn that the studies these articles are based on are taken out of context. Though the jury seems to be out on exactly what health benefits tequila may or may not have, remember that all alcohol should be consumed in moderation. 

Buy: 123 Organic Anejo Tequila

Make: Naturally-Sweetened Margaritas

Quick Reference Health Benefits

Here’s a quick run-down of some of the nutritional benefits you’ll find in the Cinco de Mayo recipes and food referenced above. 

Healthy fats

Good plant-based fat can lower bad LDL cholesterol levels and increase good HDL cholesterol levels. Here are some good sources of healthy fats:

  • Avocado
  • Olives
  • Grass-fed beef

Magnesium

Reports indicate that 3/4 of the population is magnesium-deficient. Scary, considering how important it is for muscle and heart health. Here are some foods that are high in magnesium:

  • Avocado
  • Black beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Corn
  • Garlic
  • Onions

Vitamins

Supplements are great if you can’t get enough food-based vitamins, but these foods will help you reach the RDV:

  • Avocado: rich in vitamins C, E, K, and B6
  • Tomatoes: rich in vitamin C
  • Corn: rich in vitamin C
  • Chile peppers: rich in vitamins C, K, A, and B6
  • Garlic: rich in vitamins C and B6
  • Onions: rich in vitamins C and B6
  • Olives: rich in vitamin E
  • Grass-fed beef: rich in vitamin E

Folate

Folate is important for a healthy pregnancy (it reduces the risk of miscarriage and birth defects), but it also helps improve red blood cell count and decreases risk of depression, allergic diseases, low bone density, and problems with memory. Here are some foods that are rich in folate:

  • Avocado
  • Black beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions

Fiber

Fiber not only helps prevent and treat constipation, but it also helps reduce inflammation, and lower blood glucose levels in diabetics. Here are some fiber-rich foods:

  • Avocado
  • Black beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Corn
  • Garlic
  • Onions

Selenium

This mineral promotes liver function, prevents inflammation, and may even help prevent cancer. Here are some foods rich in selenium:

  • Black beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Blue corn
  • Garlic
  • Grass-fed beef

Potassium

Potassium helps lower blood pressure and the risk of stroke, plus protect muscle mass and bone density. Perhaps even more impressive, research suggests high potassium intake can reduce mortality risk by 20%! Here are some foods rich in potassium:

  • Avocados
  • Black beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Chile peppers

Iron

Iron is vital for red blood cell production. Here are some iron-rich foods:

  • Black beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Olives

Protein

Protein not only helps you maintain a healthy weight, it also can increase muscle mass, improve bone health, and lower blood pressure. Here are some foods high in protein:

  • Black beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Avocados
  • Grass-fed Beef

Calcium

Did you know calcium is the most abundant mineral in our bodies? It’s vital for the health of your bones and teeth, as well as muscle contraction, nerve health, enzyme activity, and cell formation. Here are some calcium-rich foods:

  • Raw cheese
  • Black beans
  • Olives

Now Celebrate!

Get the kids involved in your celebration by shopping for ingredients and cooking together. Times like these provide a great opportunity to teach kids about the foods they’re putting in their bodies, as well as other cultures and traditions. 🎉

About the Author

Genevieve Howland is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding advocate. She is the bestselling author of The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and creator of the Mama Natural Birth Course. A mother of three, graduate of the University of Colorado, and YouTuber with over 75,000,000 views, she helps mothers and moms-to-be lead healthier and more natural lives.

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  1. Hello, Very nice recipes!
    I was looking for an amazing and healthy Cinco de Mayo recipes then I found your website, which is full of amazing recipes . Thank you so much for sharing. I will definitely try these recipes.

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