The beauty of Mexican food is that it incorporates various pungent flavors. From beans to vegetables, there are a variety of ways to mix it up for a healthy Mexican meal that’s still tasty. When thinking about a healthy Mexican dish, many may consider it impossible because of fried tortillas, heavy cheeses, and appetizing sour cream on the side. However, there are alternative options for creating a healthy Mexican meal. With simple substitutions and thoughtful meal selection, eating healthy Mexican food is easier than you think!
The first step to making healthy Mexican food is utilizing the power of avocados. Substituting toppers such as cheese and sour cream for guacamole is a healthy Mexican way to enjoy bursting flavors of Mexico. Guacamole is made from a healthy fat that doesn’t rack up too many calories. Don’t underestimate the fibers in beans and vegetables when deciding to eat a healthy Mexican meal. These beneficial foods can be used as substitutes in a variety of delicious dishes to create a healthier Mexican dish. For instance, a bean burrito is a healthy Mexican substitution for a beef and cheese burrito. The following article from About explains ways to transform a calorie-loaded dish into healthy Mexican cuisine.
Make Healthy Choices at Mexican Restaurants
Mexican restaurants get a bad rap thanks to ever-present chips, cheese and high-calorie drinks being on offer, but the fact is, Mexican food can be a “do” when you’re dieting! By learning a few simple rules, you’ll always know what to say si to and make healthy choices at Mexican restaurants.
- Crunch Some Calories
When in doubt, choose an item that includes soft tortillas. Soft tortillas are baked while crunchy shells are fried. Choosing soft tortillas over crunchy ones can easily save a few hundred calories.
- Soft with Salsa
A friend of mine swears by ordering soft tortillas to swap for chips. She spreads them with salsa, folds them up, and eats them like a taquito. (Yes, it can get messy.) She says these roll-ups quell her chips ‘n’ salsa craving in nada time flat!
- The Best Beans
Black beans are an excellent choice for most any dieter. They are low in fat, high in protein and provide plenty of fiber. (Avoid black beans and rice if you’re a low-carb dieter and order the beans by themselves.)
Refried beans may sound like a good choice, but they are often prepared with lard, Mexican cheese blends, and even bacon, which quickly ups the fat and calorie content of what could be a healthy side.
Bonus Tip: Order pinto beans instead and you’ll get a similar flavor without the extra fat.
- Dips are a “Don’t”
Con queso dips and nacho cheese are tempting toppers for chips, but they’re both extremely rich and high in fat and calories. Same goes for sour cream. Guacamole is made with avocado which is a healthy fat, but a little bit of it can quickly add up your fat and calorie intake, so keep an eye on portion sizes.
Bonus Tip: Always select salsa as a starter, topping, garnish or side and you’ll know you’re making the right choice.
- Smart Switches
Switch to bean burritos instead of beef or cheese burritos and you’ll be saying adios to lots of extra calories and get in plenty of fiber to boot. Ask for corn tortillas to be used instead of flour and you’ll be doing even better!
- “Do” and “Don’t” Dishes
Some popular dishes to avoid include: Nachos, chimichangas, chalupas, taquitos, chile relleno, (all of which are deep-fried) and “double decker” burritos.
Some better choices are: Chicken fajitas, bean burritos, a grilled chicken dish with peppers and onions (hold the cheese!), or a soft taco.
You may also be able to order low-fat cheese, brown rice, whole-wheat tortillas or a side of marinated vegetables.
Some Mexican restaurants will replace the sides that come with meals with a salad if you ask them to. Top your salad with salsa and you’ll have a yummy, low-fat side. If you really missing dressing creaminess, ask for some reduced-fat ranch dressing and blend it in with your salsa until it’s got a more dressing-like texture.
If you order a taco salad, be sure to request it be served on a plate rather than the deep-fried, bowl-shaped tortilla … who wouldn’t be tempted to munch on that?
Bonus Tip: Eat all the salsa you want! It’s fat-free, low-calorie and is a good source of lycopene.
Eating healthy Mexican food is easier than you think when you substitute the wrongs with the rights. Even when you do substitute healthy Mexican alternatives, the food still tastes great! Flavors from avocados, peppers, and onions are common healthy Mexican ingredients that burst with flavor. Don’t let the misconception of calorie-loaded Mexican food get in your way of eating a healthy Mexican meal at a Mexican restaurant.
When trying to eat a healthy Mexican meal, portion control also comes into the picture. Having cheeses, fried foods, chips, and sour cream is okay – in moderation. Asking for minimal toppings is a creative way to create a healthy Mexican dish. Nachos, chimichangas and chile relleno can be healthy Mexican foods in smaller proportions.
At Casa Blanca Mexican Restaurants, we not only offer authentic Mexican cuisine, but we also offer vegetarian Mexican cuisine. Vegetarian eating is also an alternative option when eating healthy Mexican cuisine. Our vegetarian dishes such as Casa Veggie Fiesta, Veggie Quesadilla, Veggie Enchiladas, Veggie Green Burrito, and Veggie Fajitas are loaded with fresh vegetables. Even if you are not a vegetarian, these dishes are a delicious way to enjoy a healthy Mexican meal.
To try the healthy Mexican cuisine offered at Casa Blanca, please visit us at any of our 3 Massachusetts locations! We are always ready to assist with the healthiest of substitutions and look forward to serving you.
What ways have you found for eating Mexican food while retaining your healthy diet? We’d love to hear your advice!