Mexican food can be healthy. The choices are yours. Here are 5 choices that will help you control the calories and enjoy the Mexican food flavors you love.
1. Start the Meal Right. You know that avocados are high in calories – but they are also a very healthy choice. The fat in avocados is monounsaturated – a healthy fat. Plus, those avocados also have the disease fighting vitamin E. It makes guacamole a healthy choice. Just think about sharing so you don’t consume too many calories. Another choice available at most Mexican restaurants if one that seafood lovers will enjoy while they stay healthy is ceviche. With it’s fresh fruit, citrus juices and chili peppers it’s a healthy combination and it’s generally low in calories. Remember, that bowl of chips may be the first thing on your table – go easy with them!
2. Order Soup. Soup is the weight-watcher’s friend. It fills you up and makes that basket of chips less tempting. Order a soup with lean meat – like chicken – and veggies. One caveat – soup is often high in sodium so if you order soup, stay away from the table salt for the rest of the meal. Hot sauces also contain a lot of salt so go easy on them, too.
3. Order Grilled Instead of Fried. When it’s time to pick your entrée, pick healthy. If you order a burro (stay away from that deep-fried chimichanga) ask that grilled meat be used. A great choice is fajitas. That sizzling pan is filled with grilled meat (choose chicken over beef) and veggies. It’s a treat for all the senses with that fragrant steam and the mix of colors.
4. Choose the Right Tortilla. Go with corn tortillas instead of flour. Corn is your whole-grain, healthier choice. Two flour tortillas will have about 300 calories against 200 calories in four corn tortillas. Plus, those flour tortillas are higher in fat, saturated fat, sugar and sodium. So, ask for the corn tortillas in whatever dish you order.
5. Pick Healthier Sauces and Sides. Exchange calorie-heavy sour cream for salsa or a side of pico de gallo. Pico de gallo is a garnish made with tomatoes, onion, cilantro and jalapeno – each one is a healthy ingredient. Rice and beans are both healthy choices, but ask for healthy alternatives. Refried beans are going to pack in both calories and fat so choose the black beans. If the restaurant offers brown rice, choose it as a healthier option. If you’re really serious about watching your calories, ask if grilled vegetables can be substituted for the beans and rice.
Don’t give up the flavors you love. Order healthy when you visit your favorite Mexican food restaurant. Your choice of restaurants is also important. Opt for a Mexican food restaurant that has a more extensive menu and healthier options like “naked” guacamole or a good selection of street tacos with grilled meats. You can have your taco and eat it too – while you stay low calorie and healthy!