Craving Mexican food but want to eat healthy? You’re not alone! Mexican cuisine is known for being flavorful yet packed with calories. However, with the right choices, you can enjoy Mexican food without overdoing it on fat, sodium, and calories.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Grilled chicken or steak, chicken or steak fajitas, chicken or steak tacos, chicken or veggie burritos with beans, guacamole, pico de gallo, corn tortillas, flour tortillas, brown rice, black beans, chicken tortilla soup, chicken salad, and chicken enchiladas are all healthy Mexican food options.
This comprehensive guide will walk you through the healthiest Mexican menu items to order the next time you visit your favorite Mexican restaurant or taqueria. You’ll learn how to customize your order and what to look out for to keep your meal nutritious.
Lean Protein Options
When it comes to making healthy choices at Mexican restaurants, opting for lean protein options is a great way to stay on track with your fitness goals. These protein-rich options not only provide essential nutrients but also help you feel full and satisfied.
Here are some delicious lean protein choices to consider:
Grilled Chicken or Steak
Grilled chicken or steak is a fantastic choice for those looking to add lean protein to their meal. Grilling helps to minimize the amount of added fats and oils, making it a healthier option. These meats are not only high in protein but also rich in essential vitamins and minerals.
Plus, they are incredibly versatile and can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes.
Chicken or Steak Fajitas
Chicken or steak fajitas are another excellent choice for a lean protein option at Mexican restaurants. Fajitas are typically made with grilled meat and a mix of sautéed vegetables, providing a well-rounded meal. You can wrap the filling in a tortilla or opt for lettuce wraps for a lower-carb option.
Don’t forget to ask for extra veggies to boost the nutritional value even further!
Chicken or Steak Tacos
Chicken or steak tacos can be a healthy and delicious choice when made with lean cuts of meat and topped with fresh ingredients. Opt for corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas to reduce the calorie and carbohydrate content.
Load up on veggies like lettuce, tomatoes, and onions to add more fiber and nutrients to your tacos.
Remember, portion control is key when it comes to enjoying these lean protein options. While these choices are healthier, it’s still important to be mindful of your overall calorie intake. Pair your protein with a side of steamed vegetables or a salad to create a balanced and nutritious meal.
For more tips on healthy eating and making smart choices at restaurants, you can visit www.eatright.org or www.healthline.com/nutrition. These websites offer evidence-based information and expert advice to help you make informed decisions when it comes to your diet.
For those following a vegetarian diet, Mexican restaurants offer a variety of protein-rich options that can satisfy your cravings. These options not only provide essential nutrients, but they also add flavor and texture to your meals.
Here are two excellent sources of vegetarian proteins that you can find at most Mexican restaurants:
Beans are a staple in Mexican cuisine and are a fantastic source of plant-based protein. Whether it’s black beans, pinto beans, or refried beans, they are packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Beans are not only nutritious but also versatile, making them an excellent addition to any vegetarian dish.
Not only do beans offer a good amount of protein, but they also contain complex carbohydrates, which provide a steady release of energy throughout the day. This makes them a great choice for anyone looking to maintain stable blood sugar levels and feel satisfied for longer periods.
Including beans in your meals can also help improve digestion and promote gut health. They are rich in dietary fiber, which aids in digestion and helps prevent constipation. Additionally, beans are low in fat and cholesterol, making them a heart-healthy option.
Next time you visit a Mexican restaurant, consider ordering a dish that includes beans. Whether it’s a burrito, taco, or salad, adding beans will not only increase the protein content but also enhance the flavor and texture of your meal.
If you’re looking for a plant-based protein alternative with a unique texture, tofu is an excellent choice. Made from soybean curds, tofu is a versatile ingredient that can be used in various Mexican dishes, such as stir-fries, tacos, or even as a topping for salads.
Tofu is known for its high protein content, making it an ideal option for vegetarians and vegans. It is also a great source of essential amino acids, iron, and calcium. Incorporating tofu into your diet can help support muscle growth, promote bone health, and support overall well-being.
One of the benefits of tofu is its ability to absorb flavors from spices and sauces, making it adaptable to different cuisines. Mexican restaurants often marinate tofu in a combination of herbs and spices, giving it a delicious and savory taste.
When ordering at a Mexican restaurant, look for dishes that include tofu as a protein option. Whether it’s tofu tacos or tofu fajitas, you’ll be delighted by the flavorful and protein-packed meal that awaits you.
Remember, whether you choose beans or tofu, these vegetarian proteins can be a great addition to your meal at a Mexican restaurant. They not only offer nutritional benefits but also contribute to a well-balanced and satisfying dining experience.
Build a Healthy Burrito Bowl
If you’re looking to make a healthy choice at a Mexican restaurant, building a burrito bowl is a great option. By customizing your bowl with nutritious ingredients, you can enjoy the flavors of Mexican cuisine while staying on track with your health goals.
Start with Brown Rice
When creating your burrito bowl, opt for brown rice instead of white rice. Brown rice is a whole grain that is packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It provides more nutrients and keeps you feeling fuller for longer, helping to curb overeating.
Load Up On Veggies
Next, load up your bowl with a variety of colorful vegetables. Opt for options such as bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, and lettuce. These veggies are low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants.
They not only add crunch and flavor to your bowl but also provide numerous health benefits.
Add Beans or Lean Protein
For a protein boost, add beans or lean protein to your burrito bowl. Black beans, pinto beans, or grilled chicken or shrimp are all excellent choices. Beans are a great source of plant-based protein and fiber, while lean meats provide essential amino acids and nutrients.
These protein options will help keep you satisfied and support muscle growth and repair.
Top with Guacamole
No burrito bowl is complete without a delicious topping. Instead of sour cream or cheese, choose guacamole. Avocados are packed with heart-healthy fats, fiber, and essential nutrients. Guacamole adds a creamy texture and flavor to your bowl while providing numerous health benefits.
Use Corn Tortillas
Lastly, if you prefer to have a tortilla with your burrito bowl, opt for corn tortillas over flour tortillas. Corn tortillas are lower in calories and fat and provide more fiber and nutrients. They are a great gluten-free option and can be enjoyed without the guilt.
By following these tips, you can build a healthy and delicious burrito bowl at a Mexican restaurant. Remember to pay attention to portion sizes and choose lighter sauces or dressings to keep your meal nutritious and satisfying.
When dining at a Mexican restaurant, it’s important to choose healthy options to complement your main course. Fresh sides can be a great way to add nutrition and flavor to your meal. Here are some delicious and nutritious sides to consider:
Pico de Gallo
Pico de Gallo is a classic Mexican salsa made with fresh tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, cilantro, and lime juice. It is a refreshing and low-calorie side dish that can be enjoyed with tortilla chips or as a topping for tacos, burritos, or grilled meats.
Pico de Gallo is packed with vitamins and antioxidants, thanks to the fresh ingredients used.
Grilled vegetables are not only delicious but also a healthy choice when dining at a Mexican restaurant. Zucchini, bell peppers, onions, and corn are commonly grilled and served as a side dish. Grilling the vegetables enhances their natural flavors and provides a smoky taste.
They are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making them a great addition to any meal.
A side salad is always a good option to add some freshness and crunch to your meal. Many Mexican restaurants offer side salads with a variety of ingredients like lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and avocado.
You can also ask for a vinaigrette dressing on the side to control the amount of dressing you consume. Salads are a great way to incorporate more vegetables into your meal and increase your fiber intake.
Remember, when choosing fresh sides at a Mexican restaurant, opt for those that are made with fresh ingredients and minimal oil or dressing. By selecting these healthy options, you can enjoy a flavorful meal while still maintaining a balanced diet.
Corn Tortillas Instead of Flour
When dining at a Mexican restaurant, opting for corn tortillas instead of flour can be a smart choice. Corn tortillas are typically made from whole corn, making them a healthier alternative to the refined flour used in flour tortillas.
Corn tortillas are lower in calories and contain more fiber, which can help keep you feeling full and satisfied. Additionally, corn tortillas are often gluten-free, making them a great option for those with gluten sensitivities or allergies.
Black Beans Instead of Refried Beans
Refried beans may be a popular choice at Mexican restaurants, but they can be high in fat due to the added oil used in the cooking process. By substituting refried beans with black beans, you’ll be making a healthier choice.
Black beans are packed with fiber, protein, and essential nutrients, making them a nutritious addition to any meal. They are also lower in fat and calories compared to refried beans. Give them a try and enjoy their delicious flavor and creamy texture.
Chicken Instead of Beef
When it comes to choosing a protein option at a Mexican restaurant, opting for chicken instead of beef can be a wise decision. Chicken is generally lower in fat and calories compared to beef, making it a healthier choice.
It is also a great source of lean protein, which is essential for muscle growth and repair. Whether it’s grilled chicken, chicken fajitas, or chicken tacos, you can still enjoy delicious Mexican flavors while making a healthier choice for your meal.
For more information and tips on healthy eating, you can visit Healthline.
Soups and Salads
When dining at a Mexican restaurant, soups and salads can be a great way to start your meal on a healthy note. These options are typically packed with fresh ingredients and offer a variety of flavors to satisfy your taste buds. Here are two delicious choices to consider:
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Chicken tortilla soup is a popular choice among Mexican food enthusiasts. This flavorful soup is made with a rich broth, tender chicken, and a variety of vegetables and spices. It is often topped with crispy tortilla strips, avocado, and cheese, adding a satisfying crunch and creaminess to each spoonful.
Not only is chicken tortilla soup delicious, but it is also a good source of protein and fiber.
According to a study conducted by National Institute of Health, consuming chicken tortilla soup regularly can help improve heart health and reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases. The combination of lean chicken, vegetables, and spices in this soup provides essential nutrients and antioxidants that promote overall well-being.
If you’re looking for a lighter option, a chicken salad can be a fantastic choice. Mexican-style chicken salads often feature grilled chicken breast, mixed greens, tomatoes, avocado, and a tangy dressing. This refreshing combination of flavors provides a satisfying and nutritious meal.
A study published in the British Nutrition Foundation shows that incorporating salads into your diet can help increase your vegetable intake and improve overall diet quality. The addition of chicken to the salad adds lean protein, which helps keep you feeling full and satisfied for longer.
When ordering a salad at a Mexican restaurant, be mindful of the dressing. Opt for a vinaigrette or ask for dressing on the side, so you can control the amount you use. This way, you can enjoy a flavorful salad without adding excessive calories.
Next time you dine at a Mexican restaurant, consider starting your meal with a delicious and nutritious soup or salad. These options are not only tasty but also provide a great opportunity to incorporate more vegetables and lean protein into your diet.
When dining at a Mexican restaurant, it’s important to make healthy food choices that won’t derail your diet. Luckily, many Mexican restaurants offer lighter entrees that are both delicious and nutritious. Here are two options to consider:
Chicken enchiladas can be a great choice for a lighter entree at a Mexican restaurant. Opt for corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas, as they are lower in calories and fat. Additionally, ask for your enchiladas to be topped with a salsa or tomato-based sauce rather than a heavy cheese sauce.
This will help to reduce the overall calorie content of the dish. Pair your enchiladas with a side of black beans and a small salad for a well-balanced meal.
Soft tacos are another healthy option when dining at a Mexican restaurant. Choose a lean protein like grilled chicken or shrimp, and load up on vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, and onions. Skip the sour cream and opt for a small amount of guacamole or salsa instead.
Corn tortillas are a better choice than flour tortillas in terms of calories and fat content. Enjoy your tacos with a side of steamed vegetables or a side salad for a complete and satisfying meal.
Remember, portion control is key when enjoying any meal at a restaurant. Be mindful of how much you’re eating and listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. By making smarter choices and being conscious of what you’re consuming, you can enjoy a delicious and healthy meal at a Mexican restaurant without feeling guilty.
With a few simple substitutions and smart choices, you can enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine without sabotaging your health goals. Focus on lean proteins, load up on veggies, choose corn tortillas, and minimize cheese, sour cream, and fatty meats.
Mexican food is meant to be enjoyed, so go ahead and treat yourself – just opt for the healthier options on the menu.
The next time you find yourself at your favorite Mexican joint, use this guide to build a satisfying meal that provides flavor without unnecessary calories and fat. Your taste buds and waistline will thank you!