Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Happy Cinco De Mayo- Healthy Mexican Dining

Mexican Food—The Healthful Way

 Many times Mexican foods are prepared with lard, covered with cheese, and fried in oil. Knowing what to order is important, so that you can enjoy your favorite Mexican flavors without sabotaging your best intentions.

Unlike many of the fast-food chains, which provide nutritional information and analyses, it can be difficult to determine just what is in the Mexican food you order from a local establishment. The following are helpful hints when ordering, but keep in mind that each restaurant may prepare the same dishes differently, and you may need to ask how dishes are prepared to ensure you are ordering healthy foods.

Tips for ordering

These tips may help you make more healthful choices:

▪ Skip the tortilla chips. If they usually are brought to the table, ask your server not to bring them. One ounce (which may be as few as four to six chips) has roughly 140 calories, which are nutrient poor and generally loaded with sodium.

▪ Choose corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas, when you are given an option. Flour tortillas are often made with lard and full of saturated fats.

▪ Order grilled shrimp, chicken, or beef as an appetizer. If you order a taco salad, do not eat the fried shell or bowl the salad is served in, and ask the kitchen to go light on the cheese. Ask for your dressing on the side, so you can add it yourself.

▪ Choose grilled beef, chicken, pork, or fish instead of carnitas (fried pork) or chorizo (sausage), which are less healthful options.

▪ Avoid refried beans, which often are made with lard and lots of added fats and sodium. As a substitute, choose beans and rice, borracho beans, or frijoles a la charra.

▪ Order chili con carne, which is often a healthful option with fewer than 300 calories in a cup. If you are looking for something that seems indulgent, it is an excellent choice and will satisfy you.

▪ Avoid dishes with sour cream and cheese, which are really damaging to healthful eating! Choose fresh salsa, pico de gallo, cilantro, and jalapeños to boost flavor without adding too much fat.

▪ Use moderation when eating guacamole, or choose salsa instead of guacamole if you are concerned about watching your weight. Even though guacamole is healthful and full of good fats, the calories can really add up. Save avocados and guacamole for times when you are eating a lighter-in-calorie meal or snack.

▪ Substitute fajitas for quesadillas, which are usually fried and loaded with cheese. Fajitas have similar ingredients, but the extra vegetables and less cheese make them a more healthful option.

▪ Use Mexican seasonings sparingly when cooking and preparing Mexican foods at home. Many times they are high in sodium; use less seasoning or substitute low-sodium options.

▪ Order or prepare the following items, which are the most health Mexican dishes:

– Fajitas

– Chili

– Chicken or beef enchiladas with red sauce or salsa

– Grilled fish and meats

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