Nutrition

8 Cinco De Mayo Carb-Swaps To Save You Hundreds Of Calories

Stop everything and try out these good-for-you Mexican fiesta carb-swaps.

Except for being utterly delicious, what do your favorite Mexican fiesta meals all have in common? Tacos, enchiladas, nachos, burritos, arroz Mexicano and more – they’re all notoriously heavy on carbs.

Whether you feel like ditching the carbs in this year’s Cinco de Mayo meals, or just lightening up your beloved Mexican staples all year round – we’ve rounded up the most delicious tried-and-tested Mexican carb-swaps out there, so you won’t even feel like you’re missing out.

1. TACO SHELLS

Taco shells are usually brimming with carbs from either flour or corn, plus they’re often deep-fried in some pretty bad-for-you oil. You can get store-bought lower-carb versions, but they can taste similar to the cardboard box they came in.

Try out fresh Little Gem lettuce leaves or baked curly kale leaves as your super-low-carb taco vessel of choice this Cinco de Mayo.


Trying out the keto diet, or just partial to a little cheese? Try out cheese taco shells. They’re crispy, flavorsome, and contain practically zero carbs – perfect to carry all that delish taco filling.

To make one shell, simply place 1/3 cup cheddar cheese in a thin layer on some parchment paper. Microwave it for around 60 seconds on high or until fully melted, then remove and allow to cool a little. While the cheese is still bendy, bend the paper around a round object and allow the cheese to cool completely. Once cooled, peel off the paper. Done!

2. BURRITOS

Another firm favorite for Cinco de Mayo and pretty much every other day of the year – classic burritos. To make a low-carb version, switch up the tortilla for a super-easy egg wrap and ditch the rice for extra meat and veggies (you could even sub in some cauliflower rice).

To make one egg wrap, simply crack one egg into a bowl and mix it up with a fork. Pour it into a hot, non-stick pan and tilt until the pan is covered. Cook on one side for 30 seconds then flip and cook for another 30 seconds. Fill with delicious burrito goodness and wrap.

3. ENCHILADAS

Zucchini makes the most awesome carb-sub for flour tortillas. Simply make some wide, thin slices of zucchini with your vegetable peeler and lay out in a flat layer on a baking tray, overlapping each other a little so you don’t lose your filling. Add your enchilada filling in the middle, leaving a little space around the edges, and roll ’em up. Repeat as many times as enchiladas you want.

4. NACHOS

Nachos make a super-quick and easy Mexican fiesta snack to share with friends and family on Cinco de Mayo, but they’re generally not the most waistline-friendly dish.

Sub out tortilla chips for sweet mini peppers for a low-carb version that’s just as tasty. Simply chop off the stalks of the peppers and cut each in half lengthways, then bake for 20 minutes on 350°F. Add all your toppings and you’re good to go.

5. ARROZ MEXICANO (MEXICAN RICE)

Arroz Mexicano, AKA Mexican rice, is an ultra-flavorsome rice that can be served as a side to just about anything. For a low-carb version of this killer dish, try out cauliflower rice in your favourite Arroz Mexicano recipe.

To make cauliflower rice, remove the leaves of your cauliflower and grate the whole thing using a cheese grater or food processor, until it resembles rice. Transfer the grated cauliflower to a clean towel or paper towel to remove the excess moisture, then pour into a hot pan with 1 tbsp. of oil. Cover with a lid and fry for around 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add your favorite spices and you’ll have low-carb Mexican rice in a jiff.

6. QUESADILLAS

Another firm favorite on Cinco de Mayo – you guessed it – quesadillas. Eggplant makes a delicious swap for tortillas to fill with just about anything.

To make eggplant quesadillas, simply chop of the stalk of your eggplant and cut into 1cm long slices, lengthways. Place a few slices onto a baking tray in one layer, add your chosen quesadilla fillings and layer up with some more eggplant slices. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. Easy low-carb quesadillas, done.

7. SOPES

One of the most popular Mexican antojitos (or street foods) – sopes are a traditional street snack, made from mini handmade tortillas, and often topped with shredded beef, pork or chicken.

To make low-carb sopes, try swapping in Portobello mushrooms. Simply pop ’em onto a baking tray stalk-side-up, stuff with your favorite toppings and bake.

8. HUARACHES

Named after sandals because of their shape, Mexican huaraches are long masa harina tortillas, topped with tasty toppings like cheese, cactus, chicken, steak, salsa, and just about any other Mexican delight you feel like.

To make lower-carb (yet still utterly delicious) huaraches, try using sweet potato slices. Simply peel your sweet potatoes and cut into 1cm thick slices down the length of the potato. Griddle on a high heat with a little oil for around 3-4 minutes on each side, then top with your favorite toppings.

Enjoy these healthy Cinco de Mayo ideas?

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Jennifer Blow

Jennifer Blow

Qualified Nutritionist

Jennifer is our qualified AfN nutritionist, inspiring you with her tried-and-tested recipes and handy food hacks. She loves hill walking and cycling, loathes bad science, and loves proving healthy eating doesn’t equal plain, boring, and a lifetime of hunger.


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