If you're trying to watch your weight, dining at a Mexican restaurant might seem like a bad idea; Mexican food seems to be synonymous with large amounts of cheese, ground beef, sour cream and refried beans. However, it's easy to cut down on the calories as long as you make the right decisions when you're ordering. If you follow these tips, you can enjoy delicious Mexican cuisine without negatively affecting your waistline.
Eating Healthy Starts Before Your Server Even Takes Your Order
Endless chips and salsa are a staple of Mexican restaurants, but you need to be careful. The good news is that salsa is high in vitamins, minerals and lycopene while being very low in calories; the bad news is that it's easy to accidentally eat too many chips and ruin your diet before the entree even hits your table. Tortilla chips are high in both fat and calories, so you need to portion them correctly in order to stay on your diet. Move ten to fifteen chips to your plate (which is roughly the size of one serving) and don't touch the rest; you may want to ask the server to remove the extras.
You'll have to make a judgment call on guacamole; while guacamole is full of vitamins and heart-healthy unsaturated fats, it's quite high in calories. If you order guacamole with your chips, you'll need to be mindful of your portions. This goes for guacamole that may be added to burritos, as well. It's a healthier choice than sour cream, but still represents a lot of added calories that may not fit in your diet.
Traditional Entrees Are A Healthy Choice
Ceviche is a traditional South American dish consisting of fish that's cooked using lemon or lime juice rather than heat and then spiced with chiles. That might sound strange, but don't let it scare you away; ceviche is incredibly popular all throughout South America, owing to its tantalizing combination of sour and spicy flavors. It's also a healthy dish to order at Mexican restaurants, since it's made with lean fish and cooked using no oil.
Fajitas are another excellent traditional dish for people who are trying to watch their calories at Mexican restaurants. Since you can assemble them at the table yourself, you know exactly what you are putting in them, which isn't the case with tacos and burritos. Shrimp and chicken are the best choices of protein if you are trying to watch your calories, but you can consider steak fajitas as well. They're prepared using flank steak, which is a fairly lean cut of meat. If you're really looking to cut back on calories, skip the tortillas and just eat the protein and vegetables.
Watch Out For Hidden Calories
Salads are always an option, but watch out for taco salads that contain ground beef or salads that are served in tortilla bowls. Both of these add a large amount of unwanted calories to your meal. As with any salad you order at a restaurant, most of the fat and calories in the salad are going to come from the dressing. You'll need to choose carefully; cilantro dressing is a delicious choice that's distinctively Mexican and low in calories. You should ask for your dressing on the side so that you are in control of how much you are eating.
No matter what you order, you'll want to hold the cheese and sour cream. These two ingredients sneak their way into many Mexican entrees, adding a lot of hidden calories and saturated fat. You'll also need to avoid refried beans, as they are typically fried in lard and can pack a lot of calories. Ask for lettuce and tomatoes on the side instead. Visit a site like http://www.elmolinitos.com for more.