What Are Healthy Mexican Food Options
For anyone looking to indulge in a great-tasting Mexican meal, you can make some savvy swaps and smart decisions that will keep the calories low. Of course, making your own healthier version of Mexican food at home is always an option; however, with mindful choices while out dining at restaurants you won’t have to sacrifice flavor or deliciousness! By choosing flavorsome yet nutritious dishes from the menu – such as grilled meat instead of fried – you can enjoy all the taste without any guilt.
Choose Corn, Not Flour
Mexican cuisine is renowned for its use of tortillas as a foundation, like tacos, burritos, fajitas and chimichangas. The calories in any given tortilla vary by size and brand name; however, if you compare the same-sized corn versus flour variety – typically the former contains fewer calories than the latter. If you’re aiming to enjoy a low-calorie Mexican feast, request that your tacos or fajitas be prepared using corn tortillas. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, the 28-gram size contains merely 60 calories as opposed to flour tortilla’s 100. Of course, keep in mind that restaurants might not always offer this substitution for all meals on their menu.
Go for the Grill
If you’re looking for the most nutrient-dense option at a Mexican restaurant, grilled proteins like seafood, chicken and steak are usually your best bet. Accompany them with sides of black beans or sautéed vegetables to get optimal nutrition without sacrificing flavor. Skip out on the rice though – it can contain up to 200 calories per serving!
Pick a Bowl
To save on calorie intake, ditch the burrito’s jumbo tortilla and instead fill a bowl with lettuce as its base. Though this seems like a healthy move, be mindful of your filling choices; piling in an abundance of rice, carnitas, black beans, sour cream, cheese and guacamole will add up to unwanted calories quickly! Begin your meal with a lettuce base, followed by half-portion of brown rice. For protein, opt for chicken, fish or steak – or no meat at all; beans work just as well! Then top it off with an abundance of vegetables and salsa.
When it comes to Mexican food, think of the various sauces and dips as a stoplight: Green for salsa – containing only 5 calories per tablespoon – yellow for guacamole with 25 calories each tablespoon, and red for sour cream at 30calories per tablespoon. Go for the green light! Opting in favour of salsa is lowest-calorie option that still packs great flavour. Guacamole contains heart-healthy fats but more calorie content than its greener counterpart while Sour Cream has an equally substantial amount of calories yet lacks any saturated or unsaturated fat benefits like those found in guacamole.
Other Ways to Cut Back
If you wish to enjoy a delicious Mexican meal without feeling guilty about the calorie count, make some smart choices in other areas:
- Instead of going for a sugary margarita or sangria, why not try something different and opt for a tequila and club soda with lime instead? Even better, keep it calorie free by enjoying the refreshing taste of club soda on its own.
- If you’re feeling like a taco salad, make sure to request it without any type of tortilla – be that in the shape of a shell or fried strips.
To cut calories, you can’t go wrong with tacos – especially if you only eat one of them. For the others in your order, skip the shells and savor just the filling! Trust me when I say that you’ll still be satisfied without all those extra carbs.