The countdown to Mexican Independence Day begins with a a roundup of healthy Mexican food makeovers. (Photos/NBC Latino)

A healthy idea: Mexican food makeovers

On September 16th, Mexicans around the world celebrate Mexico’s independence from Spain. And every year, in a celebration that holds more significance in Mexico than Cinco de Mayo, massive crowds of people gather in Mexico’s city squares to remember a courageous revolt in 1810 by the Mestizos (those with mixed Spanish and indigenous Indian heritage) and Criollos (Mexicans of Spanish ancestry)  who fought under the leadership of Father Miguel Hidalgo against the governing Spaniards. While Mexico didn’t gain independence until 1821, the events that occurred on that day under the leadership of a humble priest are celebrated with plenty of traditional foods, ranging from earthy moles to dishes like chiles in nogada with its beautiful green, red and white colors that represent the Mexican flag.

This week, we’re counting down the days to Mexican Independence Day with our favorite healthy Mexican recipes, traditional Mexican favorites, bloggers, chefs and cocktails. In celebration of this momentous holiday, here’s a roundup of seven healthy Mexican food makeovers – easy, delicious and oh-so-good for you.

A healthy idea: Mexican food makeovers img 2593 food NBC Latino News

Give meat or other fattier proteins a rest a few times a week; instead go for a low-fat, veggie-filled shrimp taco as an easy, healthy option. (Photo/Betty Cortina) (Photo/Betty Cortina)

Shrimp tacos with fresh pico de gallo

What’s not to love about tacos? Try our shrimp tacos, which have all the flavor of your favorite tacos but without that serving of guilt, thanks to the addition of fresh vegetables and low-fat, protein-filled shrimp.

A healthy idea: Mexican food makeovers quesadilla photo wordpress edit food NBC Latino News

Quesadillas – overflowing with veggies between whole wheat tortillas – are a healthy dinner option. (Photo/Nina Terrero)

Veggie quesadillas

Cheesy, gooey quesadillas are a family favorite, but when made with whole-wheat quesadillas and plenty of vitamin-rich veggies, they are transformed into an easy and healthy weeknight dinner option.

A healthy idea: Mexican food makeovers quinoa1 food NBC Latino News

Mexican-style quinoa. (Photo/Betty Cortina)

Mexican-style quinoa

Before you raise your eyebrows at the idea of whole grains made delicious, take a look at this gorgeous golden quinoa, which features this wholesome grain cooked with fresh tomatoes, peas, chicken stock and plenty of savory sofrito.

A healthy idea: Mexican food makeovers fish food NBC Latino News

Veracruz-style fish (Photo/Betty Cortina)

Veracruz style fish

Traditional Latin foods are inherently healthy, just like this dish, which dresses healthy seafood with a toothsome red tomato sauce.

A healthy idea: Mexican food makeovers best poblano pepper 21 food NBC Latino News

Healthy stuffed poblano peppers (Photo/Nina Terrero)

Stuffed poblano peppers

Stuffed poblano peppers – when battered, deep fried and loaded with crema and cheese – sound like a recipe for well, a heart attack. But our recipe relies on plenty of vegetables and a light tomato sauce, showing that you don’t have to sacrifice flavor when cooking up healthy, delicious Latin recipes.

A healthy idea: Mexican food makeovers agua fresca 001 food NBC Latino News

Homemade agua fresca is a healthy, delicious and extra refreshing alternative to store-bought sodas. (Photo/Betty Cortina)

Cantaloupe agua fresca

After a savory meal, one often longs for something sweet and refreshing. Instead of a soda of sugar-laden dessert, why not try a cantaloupe agua fresca? Use the last of the season’s fresh melons in this fruity treat and sip with the satisfaction of knowing you’re doing something great for your health.

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