One of my favorite cuisines is Mexican. The challenge, of course, is that it can be full of fat and unwanted calories. With Cinco de Mayo just around the corner, here are five bits of healthy advice regarding Mexican foods.

1) Stock up on heart-healthy fresh salsa: Besides being loaded with antioxidants and vitamins, salsa also has antibacterial properties due to garlic and onions. Z-Tip on the chips: Buy Beanitos or Organic Blue-Corn Chips; they are full of healthy fiber and relatively low in fat.

2) Make your own high-protein, low-fat guacamole: For those watching their fat intake, try blending thawed green peas (you can buy them in the frozen section at any grocery store) and adding them to your avocado guacamole. You will cut down the fat—and increase protein and fiber.

3) Beans, beans and more beans: I absolutely love beans; for me, they're like a super-food. They are full of protein and fiber and are perfect as an addition to salads, tacos and nachos (or as part of a main course). Z-Tip on beans: Buy organic, boxed meals at Whole Foods instead of the canned ones. You will skip the chemicals and still save time on the preparation.

4) Create the Green Goddess Mexican Meal: When I crave Mexican food, I like to create my meal of black beans, organic brown rice, guacamole, salsa and a side salad. If I am craving cheese, I go for the Vegan Daiya Cheese in cheddar flavor. It melts beautifully and, I promise, when you have all the right seasonings, you won’t miss the meat or dairy in this dish.

5) Quick appetizer: If you have friends coming over and need a quick and healthy Mexican dish, then try my Raw Vegan Nachos. They take minutes to make, and they are delicious. You can buy all the ingredients at your local Publix or at the Whole Foods Market.

Healthy Raw Vegan Nachos

Mexican Meat:
2 cups walnuts soaked in filtered water for 8 hours and drained
2 cups Brazil nuts
2 cups soaked sundried tomatoes
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons cumin powder
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 cup cilantro
 
In food processor, process all ingredients until chopped well, depending on how crunchy you like your food.
 
For Serving:
2 large jicamas, sliced in form of chips
1-2 bags of Raw Flax Chips

For Toppings:
16 ounce tubs of guacamole
16 ounce jar of raw salsa

Assembly:

Put Mexican meat on the flax chip or on jicama slice, top with guacamole and salsa.