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Tips for healthy eating at a Mexican restaurant

Newlywed, new mom and first-time home buyer, Sarah is currently playing out her exciting life in Phoenix, Arizona. She recently gave up her job in finance to stay at home with her baby girl, who between bath time and feeding time, keeps ...

Healthy Mexican choices

Healthy eating at a restaurant is hard enough — but when you're at a Mexican restaurant, it seems just downright impossible. We're here to show you how it can be done, and, surprisingly, it's really not all that hard!
Healthy food in Mexican restaurant

Mexican restaurants don't have a knack for being healthy. Once seated, you're immediately greeted with an unlimited supply of chips and salsa, followed by a menu of cheese, refried beans and margaritas.

Nothing about this even comes close to saying "healthy." Luckily, there are some items on the menu that won't send your arteries into overdrive — and no, you don't need to order a side of lettuce and tomatoes only. Let's look at some foolproof ways for healthy eating at a Mexican restaurant.

Avoid the chips

We know — the chips and salsa are good, but you can easily eat more than 1,000 calories without even batting an eye. Chips are addicting in the sense that if you eat one, and there just so happens to a never-ending basket in front of you, you're not going to be able to stop. Avoid them altogether and consider asking the waiter not to bring them — as long as the rest of your party doesn't mind.

Go for grilled items

Mexican restaurants always have an array of healthy, grilled options — including fish, fajitas, chicken and beef. This is significantly healthier than anything that's fried or breaded. Order the items without the tortillas or with them on the side. Flavor the dish with grilled onions, grilled peppers and, of course, salsa!

Choose healthy sides

Skip the refried beans and rice. They're really just fillers and can add up to 1,500 calories to your meal. Order black beans instead of refried and corn instead of rice. Another healthy option is a side salad — but make sure to get low-fat dressing and easy on the cheese and croutons. Remember, you can always add salsa to the corn and beans to spice it up or use it as a salad dressing. Mexican salsas are always fresh and naturally good for your body.

Drink right

Typically, it's best to avoid alcohol altogether since it's loaded with sugar and calories and has a tendency to make us not care about healthy eating anymore. If you must drink, though, indulge in a light beer, glass of wine or skinny margarita. Ask the waiter which drinks have the lowest number of calories and go from there. Also, try to resist the urge to order more than one drink. It adds too many calories to the already fattening meal and ups your bill.

Little tips save big calories

Did you know? The average frozen margarita at a Mexican restaurant has 600 calories and one on-the-rocks has more than 1,100!
  • If you order a taco salad, get it without the bowl-shaped tortilla. Yes, it's good — but you may as well order the enchilada plate.
  • Avoid nachos and anything that's deep-fried. All you'll be left with is a stomach ache.
  • Choose soft tacos instead of hard ones, which are deep-fried; and corn tortillas instead of flour.
  • Be careful with guacamole. Though it's healthier than cheese dip, it's only good in moderation. Mix it with salsa to avoid overeating.

By utilizing these tips next time you find yourself at a Mexican restaurant, you'll be certain to leave feeling healthier, full and satisfied!

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