Mexican food is delicious, there’s no doubt about it. However, it’s not always the healthiest food – even if you skip the layers of cheese on your dish. If you love Mexican food and flavors, take heart. There are several steps you can take to make your favorite Mexican dishes healthier.
- Add Greens and Veggies – When you’re filling up that taco or burrito fill it with veggies and greens instead of more meat and cheese. Many vegetables compliment traditional Mexican flavors. Try adding squash, zucchini, tomatoes, spinach and other seasonal vegetables. You’ll fill up on veggies, still get to enjoy delicious Mexican spices, and cut down on fat and calories.
- Fat free beans – Refried beans are notoriously full of fat. In fact, the traditional recipe uses lard. Instead of consuming all of that fat, consider using fat free or low fat refried beans. Or better yet, make refried beans yourself. They’re easy and delicious.
- Salsa – Instead of loading on the guacamole, which is full of fats (albeit healthy fats) and calories, use salsa. Salsa is generally fat free, full of nutrient rich vegetables, and quite flavorful. Avocados are full of healthy fat but if you’re trying to cut back on fat and calories, it’s a topping that can easily be omitted.
- Skip the cheese – Cheese is a common ingredient in Mexican food but it’s not a necessity. Burritos, tacos and even enchiladas are delicious without it. If you don’t want to skip the cheese entirely, simply cut back on the amount you use. That way you can enjoy the flavor but reduce the calories and fat you consume.
- Tortilla free – Corn and wheat tortillas are generally high calorie, high fat foods. Skip them. Create a Mexican salad on your plate or a Mexican bowl. By all means, if you order a Mexican salad at a restaurant, don’t eat the tortilla bowl. It has several hundred calories and is high in fat.
- Bake don’t fry – If you’re making your own tortillas or chips, bake them instead of frying them. They’ll still be crispy and you’ll eliminate the extra fat and calories from frying.
- Use spices instead of pre-packaged taco seasoning – Pre-packaged taco and Mexican seasonings have too much sodium and sugar. Instead, take a look at your spice rack and prepare your own seasonings. Common ingredients include garlic, cumin, chili pepper, onion powder and pepper.
- Use fish and chicken instead of beef and pork – When ordering out or making Mexican foods at home you don’t have to use beef and pork. Chicken and fish are both traditional meats used in Mexican cooking. They’re leaner and are healthier choices.
Finally, consider simply eating smaller servings. When it comes to Mexican food it’s easy to get carried away. The food is so delicious that eating too much is common. Start with a small serving. Eat slowly. Take a sip of water between bites and savor your food. If you’re still hungry thirty minutes into the meal, then take another small serving. You’ll prevent overeating and you’ll feel better when you’re done.