Eating Out the Healthy Weigh: Mexican
Enjoying Mexican -- without all those deep-fried calories!
Choose Wisely continued...
You can enjoy Mexican cuisine if you follow a few guidelines for selecting
the more healthful offerings at these restaurants or when you whip up the
cuisine at home:
- Beans, beans, good for the heart -- these nutritious nuggets are loaded
with fiber, complex carbohydrate (the good kind), protein, vitamins, and
minerals. The best part, they are low in calories. If refried beans are your
delight, buy the fat-free version in the grocery store and check the
nutritional content for restaurant fare.
- Grilled seafood, lean meat, and poultry are excellent sources of protein,
vitamins, and minerals. Protein helps to keep you feeling full and is a
dieter's best friend.
- Choose dishes that have plenty of fresh veggies, lettuce, tomatoes, and
salsa. These foods are loaded with nutritional goodness from the high fiber
content to the disease-fighting vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and
phytochemicals. Load up on these foods to help fill you up.
- Ask for low-fat sour cream and if unavailable, use sour cream
- Choose corn and whole-wheat tortillas over flour tortillas because they
have fewer calories, less fat, and more fiber. Six-inch tortillas will help you
keep your calorie intake under control.
- Mexican rice is often made with tomatoes and very little, if any, fat. At
Rubio's, they offer a rice with "Healthmex" items for only 110
The only way to be sure you are getting healthy food that fits into your
eating plan is to check out the nutritional profiles of the foods. Many
restaurants have this information compiled and will provide it upon request.
Others send you to their web site. My advice is to check it out before you go
and make a plan -- select the items that are the most nutritious that also fit
into your eating plan. Some restaurants, like Rubio's, have "Better
Bite" entrees that have no more than 5 grams of fat per serving. At Taco
Bell you can now select the "Fresco" option, which substitutes more
veggies and salsa for the sour cream and cheese. At La Salsa, the "Mexico
City" versions of dishes have no cheese. Baja has its "Baja" style
that is lighter in calories.
The great news is that restaurants across the nation are lightening up their
cuisine in an effort to help stem the tide of obesity. The bad news is that the
large portions of heavily laden calorie and fat offerings continue to sell. You
can still have your Mexican "fix," however, as long as it comes from
the lighter side.