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May 2019

One of our all-time favorite celebrations this month is Cinco de Mayo! When you want to learn about a culture, registered dietitian nutritionist Cindy Kleckner always says “Dive in mouth-first!”

Authentic Latin food is one of the most colorful and varied cuisines in the world. Healthy Mexican sounds like an oxymoron, but let’s find out just how healthy it can be. When we think of Tex-Mex, the first thing that comes to mind is a super-sized platter loaded with high-calorie, fat and sodium-laden burritos, tacos, and supreme nachos. In reality, authentic Latin food is about fresh, high-spirited ingredients and flavors that come to life in bright and bold dishes that are low in fat and high in nutrients and antioxidants, like the wonderful array of available chiles!


Let’s take a vacation from the typical greasy grub and explore Mexican food culture through vibrant flavors of lime, chilies and cilantro that create fatless and faultless flavor. Treat yourself to food where chargrilling, roasted chiles, zesty lime and fresh cilantro create a tapestry of flavors. Enjoy a culinary salute to Mexico and try some of Cindy’s Fiesta favorites.

San Antonio Boudro’s Famous Tableside Guacamole   


  • Juice of ¼ of orange
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • 1 avocado, seeded and scooped out of the skin
  • 2 tbsp roasted and charred Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 Serrano pepper, roasted, seeded and diced, optional
  • 1 tbsp red onions, diced
  • 1 tsp chopped cilantro
  • Coarse-ground sea salt


  1.  Squeeze juices into a bowl. Add avocado and coarsely chop. 
  2. Add onions, roasted tomato, Serrano peppers and cilantro and fold into the avocado mixture. Add salt. The mixture should be crudely chopped, not mashed. 
  3. Serve with your favorite chips and Mexican food.

Yield:  2 servings


Lime Street-corn



  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ½ cup white onion, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 4 cups fresh corn kernels
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup 1% milk
  • ½ tsp coconut extract, optional
  • ½ cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • Salt and pepper, seasoned to taste
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted
  • ½ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

1. In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil and butter until simmering. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. 

2. Add the cumin and corn kernels, season with salt to taste and sauté until heated through.

3. Add the milk, gently heat and add the coconut extract. Turn heat to the lowest possible setting and fold in the Greek yogurt. Season to taste and add fresh black pepper. Garnish each serving with coconut flakes.

4. Further garnish with fresh cilantro and a wedge of lime, if desired.

Yield:  8 servings

Source:  Chef Iliana de la Vega, El Naranjo Restaurant, Austin, TX

Grilled Chiles Rellenos with Mango Mojo Shrimp



  • 12 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 8 fresh poblano chile peppers
  • 6 ears sweet corn, husks and silks removed
  • 2 large tomatoes, cored and chopped (about 2½ cups)
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • ¼ cup mango nectar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 medium jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 8 ounces shredded queso asadero (2 cups)
  • 1 ounce shredded queso Cotija (¼ cup)
  • 1 mango, peeled, pitted and cut into 1½ -inch pieces


  • Preheat gas grill. Place poblano peppers and corn on grill rack (or on an open flame on a gas stove). Grill covered over medium heat for about five minutes or until chiles are charred and blistered and corn kernels are lightly browned, turning corn and chiles occasionally. Transfer chiles to a clean paper bag; close the bag and let the chiles and the corn cool.
  • Once the corn is cool enough to handle, use a sharp knife to cut the kernels from the cobs. Transfer kernels to a large bowl; add tomatoes, a drizzle of oil, three tbsp cilantro, lime juice and a dash of salt.  Mix well and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl toss shrimp with mango nectar, one tbsp of oil, one clove of garlic and a dash of salt and black pepper. Set aside.
  • In a large skillet, heat remaining one tbsp of oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, remaining two cloves of garlic and the jalapeno pepper. Cook and stir for four minutes or until tender. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl and let it cool. Add queso asadero, queso Cojita and remaining cilantro to the onion mixture, stirring to combine. Divide cheese mixture into eight equal portions. Shape each portion into a 2½-to-3-inch log; set aside.
  • For chiles rellenos, cut a slit down one side of each pepper. Open each pepper flat; use a paring knife to scrape out seeds and scrape off the charred skin. Place a cheese log on each pepper and roll pepper around the cheese to completely enclose. 
  • Thread shrimp and mango pieces alternately onto skewers leaving ¼-inch spaces between pieces; reserve marinade. Place chiles rellenos and shrimp skewers on grill rack. Cover and grill for five minutes, turning and brushing shrimp skewers with reserved marinade once during grilling. Do not turn chiles rellenos. 
  • Serve shrimp with chiles rellenos and corn-tomato salad.

Yield:  4 servings

Source:  adapted from

Cindy KlecknerBoost your fitness plan with a Nutrition Consultation with Cindy Kleckner, RDN, LD, FAND,  a registered dietitian nutritionist and culinary expert at the APEX Centre, City of McKinney’s Aquatic and Fitness Facility. Email Cindy or call at 214-293-5306.

Nutrition consulting info