Sometimes, what tastes better isn’t so good for your waistline. But sometimes, it actually is! This article covers a few healthy Mexican meals and alternatives that will help you stick to your New Year’s Resolution, without losing hope somewhere around Day 7.
Make a deal with yourself and opt for healthier versions of your favorite Mexican foods. Next time you’re at your favorite Mexican restaurant, enlist the power of the following healthy alternatives. Your belly – and your taste buds – will thank you.
Choose your salad with care.
Trading your tacos for a taco salad is a good start. Greatness can be achieved when you refrain from eating the fried shell, cheese and croutons that add extra fat and calories to the salad. Your choice will be filled with fiber, potassium, and Vitamin A.
Endless chips and salsa will put an end to any diet.
Instead, only have a few, eating slowly and drinking plenty of water between every crunch.
Healthier side dishes.
Beans are great. They are a wonderful source of fiber, promoting good digestive health. Trade refried beans (frequently made with lard) for pinto beans (an excellent source of protein, complex carbohydrates and iron) or black beans and rice. Spanish rice – made with tomatoes and peppers – is packed with nutrients and Vitamin C.
Light on the sauce.
Trade globs of full-fat sour cream and layers of cheesy dips for low-fat and low-calorie options. Vegetables, salsa, pico de gallo, cilantro and jalapeno peppers are all healthy choices.
Tomato salsa is a low-fat, low-calorie option rich in antioxidants, potassium and Vitamin C. Learn how to make salsa at home.
Go easy on the guacamole.
Although avocados (the main ingredient in guacamole) are an amazing source of heart-healthy unsaturated fats, calories add up quickly. Be conscious of how much you consume. Aka, moderation is key.
Opt for corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas.
Corn tortillas are lower in fat and sodium, and provide more fiber than their flour counterparts. Make your own corn tortillas.
Choose grilled over fried.
- Trade deep-fried, carb-loaded hard shells for smaller, whole wheat soft shells.
- Replace fried beef or pork (carnitas) with grilled fish or chicken breast.
- Quesadillas are tortillas filled with meat and cheese, then fried. Chicken fajitas are a healthier option, including marinated chicken grilled with onions, green peppers, lettuce and diced tomatoes with a soft corn tortilla. The vegetables supply fiber, potassium, and Vitamins A & C. Ask for no cheese or cheese on the side.
- Think about chicken or beef enchiladas with red sauce or salsa. They are often much healthier than their cheesy, fried friends: flautas and chimichangas.
Build your own meal.
More likely than not, your favorite Mexican restaurant will have menu choices allowing you to build your own taco, burrito, fajita, etc. You choose what ingredients go into your meal, making it easier to control the amount of carbs, calories and fat you consume.
Here’s more motivation to make healthier choices at Mexican restaurants.
With a little research and willpower, you can have a healthy and tasty experience with Mexican food!