Healthy Tropical Guacamole for Cinco de Mayo

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Hooray for Cinco de Mayo, a day dedicated to indulging in food, drink, and having fun with friends and family. You’re probably planning a party with multiple rounds of margaritas, endless bowls of tortilla chips, enchiladas and all things celebrating the delicious foods of Mexico.

Cinco de Mayo doesn’t have to be associated with indulging in unhealthy options; you can still enjoy all the traditional dishes on this day without caloric overload. My favorite side dish of this season is guacamole. It’s filled with healthy fats, fiber, potassium, vitamin E, vitamin K, copper, folate and vitamin C, plus it tastes incredibly fresh and light.

Guacamole can often get a bad rap for being high in fat and calories, but it’s actually quite nutrient-dense. If you’re being mindful of numbers, check out several variations that will decrease calories per serving, making this a side dish that everyone can enjoy.

My favorite way to enjoy guacamole dip is with a serving of fresh, crunchy vegetables, like diagonally sliced zucchini, cucumbers, carrots, celery and red bell peppers, or even iodine-rich roasted nori sheets for the adventurous! Of course, you can serve guacamole with traditional corn chips, but if you do, opt for a baked variety or make your own by popping olive oil-and-sea salt-topped corn tortillas in the oven until crisp.

If you want to make your guacamole ahead or store what’s left over, place thinly sliced lemons flat on top of the guacamole to reduce oxidization. When the guacamole turns brown on the top layer, which is bound to happen due to rapid oxidization, don’t worry; it’ll still taste great.

This creamy guacamole is easy to make, with fewer than 10 ingredients.

Tropical Guacamole

Yield: 12 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes; Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

2 avocados

1/2 cup diced pineapple

1/4 cup diced red onion

1/2 cup diced tomato

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 teaspoon sea salt (adjust to taste) 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (adjust to taste)

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Pinch of ground cayenne

Juice of 1 lemon

Juice of 1 lime

Variations:

Banana: Replace 1 avocado with 1/2 ripe banana for extra creamy and sweet flair. Mash into the guacamole as you would the avocado.

Peas: Replace 1 avocado with 1 cup cooked and mashed green peas for a naturally sweet taste that also increases protein per serving.

Directions: Place pitted and peeled avocado flesh into a mixing bowl, which can double as your serving bowl. Using the back of a fork, mash the avocado until creamy.

Next, add diced pineapple, red onion, tomatoes, cilantro, parsley, sea salt, black pepper, cayenne, cumin, and juices of the lemon and lime. Stir to combine, and adjust seasonings to taste.

Serve immediately. If serving at a later time, squeeze extra lemon juice on the very top layer of the avocado, place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until serving time.

Per serving (2 tablespoons): Calories 88; Fat 7 g (Monounsaturated 5 g, Polyunsaturated 1 g, Saturated 1 g); Sodium 63 mg; Potassium 284 mg; Carbohydrate 6 g; Fiber 4 g; Sugars 2 g; Protein 1 g; Vitamin A 3% DV; Vitamin C 19% DV; Calcium 1% DV; Iron 2% DV

McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN is an internationally known Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, wellness expert, blogger, and creator of Nutrition Stripped, a guide to living whole and eating well. William Morrow will publish the Nutrition Stripped Cookbook early 2016. Learn more at nutritionstripped.com.