Who can say no to a large bowl of queso and unlimited tortilla chips? We all have our guilty pleasures when it comes to our favorite Mexican-styled foods. With the main ingredients of flour tortillas, white rice, salted beans and cheesy plates, the calories can add up quickly. But there are a few ways to have your favorite foods while keeping your health in mind.
Cook Mexican Dishes at Home
When you cook at home, you are able to control what goes into your food. Find your favorite recipe and try reducing the amount of salt and butter by using fresh fruits and vegetables and cooking with lean proteins. If you are using canned beans, rinse the beans before using them; this way there will be less salt in the meal. If you are using tortillas, try swapping white flour tortillas out for tortillas made with corn, whole wheat or spinach.
Ask for Food Swaps at the Restaurant
Don’t want to give up your guilty pleasure of going out to eat? Follow these tips to make your meal a little bit healthier while keeping the same taste. Most restaurants are flexible with what you order and can personalize the meal for you. Ask the waiter about swapping the flour tortilla to corn, refried beans to black beans, sour cream and cheese to guacamole, and beef to chicken or fish. If you order a meal that comes with a sauce or dressing on top, ask for the sauce on the side so you can lightly drizzle it and still have the same taste without the extra calories. If you are up for ordering a new dish, try a meal from the “lighter dishes” portion of the menu. Items such as salads, vegetable fajitas or bean tacos may be a great lighter meal option. The waiter may also have some suggestions about what they can swap to make the meal healthier; it doesn’t hurt to ask. Fork Friendly is a great resource for more information on healthy restaurant swaps.
Written by: Amaris Teter, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern. Learn more about Wellness Workdays and our wellness program offerings by downloading our brochure.