If you love Mexican food and are worried you will have to give it up for traditional diet food on your new diet, do not dismay. Though much of Mexican food is deep fried and loaded with cheese, there are still healthy options that you can choose when eating out (or cooking at home) that can keep you on track with your diet and still taste great.
Mexican Foods to Avoid
Though there are many things that are fine to eat, we will start with those to avoid. All deep fried ingredients make poor choices when you are looking for a healthy diet meal. These include chips, nachos, chimichangas, taquitos and chiles rellanos.
Additionally, quesadillas and enchiladas are another hidden source of fat, as they are loaded with cheese. One option for cheese-heavy dishes would be to just use a fraction of the cheese, but still this may leave you with quite a high calorie count. If you are preparing Mexican food at home, you can use low fat cheese options to cut some of the fat and calories from the dish, but steer clear of no-fat cheeses, as they do not melt in the same way that full fat and low fat ones do.
Don’t let the name of a food help you determine the best option. Oftentimes vegetarian and grilled foods contain high fat ingredients that rival the meat choices. Sour cream, guacamole and cheese are the three main components that drive up the calorie and fat in many of the vegetarian choices.
Healthy Mexican Food Choices
One thing to remember when eating Mexican food is your portion size. Many burritos can actually feed two people, so split one or take it home with you for another meal. If you get a burrito with sour cream or guacamole, ask for small portions, and make up for it with added salsa, which is not only low calorie, but also very healthy.
A great Mexican food option loaded with fiber, complex carbohydrates, protein and vitamins is black or pinto beans. Look for dishes that include them, but stray away from any refried beans. Enjoy rice and beans as served as a side dish in many places or make them yourself as an economic and inexpensive meal option. Also, look for grilled meats like chicken and seafood for great sources of protein, minerals and vitamins.
Select corn or whole wheat tortillas over flour tortillas, as the calorie count and fat content tend to be lower. Another healthy option is generally fajitas, which use lean meats and lots of veggies. Limit yourself to just one, using a corn or whole wheat tortilla for the added nutritional value.
Include as many fresh vegetables in your meal as possible. Typically with Mexican food, this includes tomatoes, peppers and leafy greens. These are an important source of vitamins, in particular antioxidants and phytochemicals.
Being on a diet doesn’t mean you have to entirely cut out Mexican food. However, you will have to select some of the healthier, lower fat options if you wish to stick to your diet. Follow these simple guidelines and still enjoy some great Mexican tastes (at half the fat and calories).