Most people think of Mexican food as unhealthy, and I admit, there can be quite a few not so healthy items to choose from. On the flip side, however, are the dishes made with some of the most healthiest of food … tomatoes, onions, garlic, avocado, peppers, lime juice, whole grain corn, whole beans … the list is long. With that said, here are ways to navigate the menu on this very festive day.
Avoid the fried foods … crispy tacos, flautas, chimichangas, taquitos, the big tostada shell, etc., and opt for lean grilled meats, skinless chicken breast or grilled seafood. Soft chicken, carne asada or grilled fish tacos, chicken mole, and even fajitas can be healthier if you ask for light oil.
Opt for corn tortillas instead of flour, and if the tacos come double wrapped, remove one of the tortillas. You can also ask your server to have them made using only one tortilla. The traditional tacos al carbon or the newest “street tacos” are great, just grilled meat, onion, and cilantro on a corn tortilla – perfect!
Instead of refried beans, ask for whole black or pinto beans.
Avoid the high cheese-filled entrees like enchiladas or chili rellenos. Ask for light cheese or no cheese on the other entrees.
Choose healthy toppings such as light sour cream (if available), guacamole and of course salsa. Even though guacamole may be high in fat, it’s rich in monounsaturated fats, fiber and vitamin E. Just keep your portion size to a couple of tablespoons.
Those not driving can make a skinny margarita at home before you go, although most places now have their own version available – just don’t make it a Cadillac, which adds an extra 100 calories.
Watch the chips – keep it to just a few. If you have a small snack before you go, you won’t be so starving that you will inhale an entire basket before your drinks even arrive.
So go enjoy the music, dancing and bright festive colors … eat right and you won’t have anything to feel guilty about tomorrow.
Since your average margarita has over 500 calories, I felt it only fitting that I post my version of a skinny margarita. So I had my best friend and personal trainer come over and after much taste testing (haha) this is what we came up with.
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1.5 oz Tequila (I used Cazadores Reposado)
1 Tbsp Cointreau (or triple sec)
1 tsp agave nectar
1/2 cup club soda
Pour ingredients over ice, rub the rim of the glass with lime wedge and enjoy!
Tami, a California native, attended California State University Long Beach, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Food Administration, with a Minor in Chemistry.
Tami’s expertise is in the areas of weight loss, disease management with an emphasis on diabetes care, and sports nutrition. She has been in private practice for over 6 years. Prior to that, she was the dietitian at the Sports Club/LA in Orange County for several years.
She has worked with hundreds of high school athletes, and is currently the dietitian for the St. Bonaventure University Athletic Department counseling athletes on all aspects of sports nutrition.
She is passionate about helping her clients feel better. A big part of her practice looks at food as it relates to optimal health, and she spends hours researching and educating herself on the most current science and cutting edge research. In addition, she is constantly experimenting with ingredients to find healthy alternatives for her clients with food allergies and sensitivities.
Her goal is to teach people how to eat well, feel better, and most importantly how to “Balance Life with Nutrition”.
Her professional accreditation is through the Commission on Dietetic Registration. Tami is currently in the process of becoming a board certified specialist in Sports Nutrition as well as a Certified Diabetes Educator.