Have a healthy Cinco de Mayo party
Cinco de Mayo is next week, but there’s still time to get ready for a party. I often leave things until the last minute, and this party is perfect for that! If you want to have a Mexican fiesta with your family, friends or neighbors, here are some recipes and ideas that are simple and easy to pull off. There’s even a free printable Cinco de Mayo bunting banner.
Because of my family’s food allergies and intolerances, we don’t do gumdrop sombrero snacks or other foods with garish artificial dyes. Everything is fresh and made with real ingredients. You could say it’s authentic food. You can also make this meal gluten-free. Don’t let any of this put you off, though, because it’s all delicious and fun.
Tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole
Cinco de Mayo bunting banner printable
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Tacos are simple to make, especially when everyone helps themselves to stuffing them. Set out the taco shells (we use organic corn tortillas and tortilla chips to avoid genetically modified corn) and the fixings: meat (we have ground turkey with homemade taco seasoning), cheese (dairy-free Daiya cheese for my sons), salsa, lettuce (I serve mixed greens rather than shredded iceberg), guacamole, sour cream and anything else you like to add.
Taco Seasoning Recipe
4 Tbsp. chili powder
4 Tbsp. garlic powder
4 Tbsp. cumin
sea salt to taste
Mix the spices together and sprinkle as much as you like on your meat as you cook it over medium-high heat in a skillet on the stove. Use a chopping motion with a spatula to break up large chunks of meat. Good for up to one pound of meat.
Tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole
Everyone probably has their own way of making salsa. I say there is no wrong way to make it! Eat what you like. Here is how I make it.
5 small tomatoes
1 small can green chilies
1 small onion, diced
2 tsp. cumin, or to taste
5 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp. sea salt, or to taste
squeeze of lemon
Dice some of the tomatoes, and coarsely blend the rest in a food processor. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and chill in the refrigerator for a few hours.
3 ripe Hass avocados
3 Tbsp. salsa
Peel and mash the avocados. Fold in the salsa.
This carnival favorite is a fun dessert at a fiesta. Can’t really say this is healthy, but when you make it yourself, it’s a smidge better. I used this recipe for mini churros and made ours with gluten-free all-purpose flour. My personal tip: Dry the churros on paper towels after frying to absorb extra oil, then roll in a bag that has cinnamon sugar in it to coat the whole churro evenly.
Paletas are a Latin version of, and healthier take on, regular popsicles. You’re really eating frozen pureed fruit, and it makes a nice healthy dessert. My family loves to eat these on a hot summer afternoon!
3 cups of fresh fruit, cubed and pureed in a blender
1/4 cup of fruit juice
Combine the pureed fruit and juice. You may need to add more juice, depending on the thickness of the fruit puree. Pour the smoothie into popsicle molds and freeze for at least three hours. Makes about 8 paletas.
Making lemonade from scratch is awesome. (Do you really know what all the ingredients are in lemonade mix?) I prefer a more tart lemonade, but I have finally figured out how to make it so my kids think it’s perfect.
“Perfect” Lemonade Recipe
8 oz. lemon juice
12 oz. simple syrup (recipe below)
4 cups water
Use a citrus juicing appliance to extract juice from lemons (about 5). Combine with simple syrup and water, and stir. Serve cold. Makes about 8 servings.
Simple Syrup Recipe
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
Bring the water to a boil, then remove from heat and stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Let it cool, and keep it in a jar in the refrigerator. Simple syrup is perfect to have on hand for making lemonade and a variety of cocktails.
Mojitos are my favorite cocktail to order, but sometimes you want or need to forego alcohol. (Guests in recovery? A special drink for tweens?) Here is my take on the drink without rum.
Juice from 2 limes
1 cup of simple syrup (recipe above)
4 sprigs of fresh mint, crushed
2 cans of lime-flavored sparkling water, like LaCroix
Muddle the fresh mint and lime juice in a bowl. Add the other ingredients and stir. Pour over ice. Use mint sprigs for a decoration. Serves 4
If you are serving alcohol at your Cinco de Mayo party, add 1 cup of white rum to your no-jito to make a mojito. Eppa sangria is also an excellent choice for your fiesta.
Decorating for Cinco de Mayo is fun! Anything with bright colors, like a boldly colored tablecloth, goes. (If you are looking for plates, napkins, glasses, etc. check out Pier 1’s “Bold & Spicy” Summer Dining line.) Dress up tables and countertops with fresh fruits like bananas, mangos, lemons and limes. Set out sombreros from a party or thrift store, and provide extras for guests to wear if they want to. Place maracas where guests will find them and play with them. (I just love these chili pepper maracas made from paper towel tubes that kids could make for the party.)
Also, check out my free printable to make a Cinco de Mayo bunting banner!
The kids could even make this while you work on the food.
Combine each bunting triangle however you like! Each is an individual PDF to download and print out:
To make the medallions at the ends of the banner, I took paper and folded it accordion-style, then taped the ends together to form a circle. Glue a circle of contrasting paper in the middle of the medallion. Then place over the area where you have secured the ends of the banner string.
The only thing else you need is to set up the Regional Mexico station on iTunes Radio (under World Music) and play authentic Mexican music while your guests mingle. Have fun!
That’s it! An easy, simple, healthy Cinco de Mayo party for your family, friends or neighbors.