Thanks for posting this article! My husband and I will be taking a trip to the southwest this summer and I plan on printing this guide (especially for Mexican cuisine) and taking it with me to help me stay on track since I won't have access to internet let alone Sparkpeople.
I had noticed as I made more of an effort to eat healthier, my trips to my favorite Mexican restaurant had declined. Now I see why. My favorite dish is called quesadilla supreme. It's pretty healthy, except it's loaded with guacomole and white American cheese. I think I need to switch to a chicken fajita.
I think that corn tortillas don't deserve to be in the watch out column, especially when compared to some whole wheat tortillas. Corn tortillas don't have added fat, where most wheat flour tortillas do, unless you buy ones specifically that don't. Also corn tortillas have the corn germ ground up with the flour.
My boyfriend and I go to Mexican restaurants a lot, and this article was very helpful to me. How on earth do they fit 900 calories into a quesadilla?? And Giant-Steps, that was a great suggestion about spinach enchiladas.
One thing the article says is safe to order is fajitas, but there are a couple of things I would suggest about that. First, when you order fajitas, ask for corn tortillas as opposed to flour tortillas. Corn tortillas are usually whole grain, smaller, and have less calories and most Mexican restaurants have them, you just have to ask.
Also, when you get fajitas ask for no butter. Apparently, after the fajitas are cooked the cooks usually melt a bunch of butter on top so it's shiny and sizzles well on the plate. You won't miss the butter and it makes the meal a little healthier.
Ate Mexican for both Lunch and Dinner for my birthday... I was taken out to lunch and it was my choice, but dinner was not. So, for lunch I had Pork Carnitas, rice, 1/4 c. guacamole with diced tomato, maybe a 1/4 c beans, lettuce and diced tomato with ONE homemade tortilla. Kept the calories and fat down. Dinner, since I had already eaten a substantial meal, opted for Soupa de Albondigas. So delish... lots of huge chunks of zucchini, a few chunks of potato and carrot. It was a bit spicy but so good. Loaded with meatballs, but only ate four... they were a bit larger than I would expect for a soup. Started passing around the extra albondigas... there were 8 in the bowl. Hot tea, no calorie laden drinks. I did endulge in the homemade tortilla chips and salsa... Needed the heat from the salsa to help kill the cold that just does not want to let go. Everyone I know has this nasty cold.
Maybe I spend too much time traveling in Mexico, but I found this article to be rather lacking. I'd have to say the first problem is how Mexican food has been modified within North America, most Mexican restaurants offer popularized dishes that only resemble what you get in Mexico. For instance, cheese! It is not as ubiquitous as appears in restaurants up here! Some specific problems I had with the articles were the 'watch for' words... yes, verde means green, picante means spicy (not always red though...)... WHY should anyone watch for them? AND!!! Tamales. Low fat? Hmmm... maybe sometimes but many are made with LARD. I love tamales but enjoy sparingly.
I pulled this article up before I run out the door for a water fitness class celebration. We are doing Mexican and now I know my SMART choices! Thanks SparkPeople!!!! Luv Ya!
2/9/2010 12:32:29 PM
Hopefully, the artical will help me be more prepared the next time my family wants to go to Don Pablos. Sodium is a real issue in most Spanish/Mexican foods. I like the foods but try to stay away from these types of foods.
1/8/2010 2:49:19 PM
Going out for Mexican with work group. This was extremely helpful. I feel I can make a better decision without annoying everyone with my diet questions!
I believe you meant "Arroz con POLLO (chicken)", not "arroz con polo".
Most Mexican restaurants offer some kind of whole beans, as opposed to the calorie and lard ridden refried beans.... and they will gladly substitute them usually. I'm talking from deep south central Texas where good Mexican restaurants are everywhere.
Ask if they have any "whole beans" alternatives. If you ask for "plain" beans you may get just that, unseasoned and unappealing, but they will often have a delicious whole bean bean pot simmering somewhere. Taco Cabana, and others, call theirs "Borracho Beans", or drunken beans (probably has beer in the simmering liquid)
Very helpful article. My favourite is Mexican food, and it can be a real struggle to feel like I'm eating right when I have my occasional "splurge". Sigh....
6/16/2008 10:56:30 AM
Some Tex-Mex restaurants have the option of plain beans instead of refried frejoles. If you don't see it on the menu ask anyway, they might have some plain beans in the kitchen and of course the more people ask for plain beans the more likely restaurants will provide them.
As a vegetarian I always ask about the beans and the rice. In some restaurants they use lard or bacon in the beans, in some restaurants they use chicken stock in the rice, and some places do both. I went to one restaurant for years not eating their beans because they had lard only to learn the rice I ate several times had chicken stock. Many restaurants make their flour tortillas with lard so ask about that as well.
One trick I learned was when they bring the chips and salsa to the table ask for corn tortillas. If you hanker for salsa eating it with corn tortillas instead of chips saves you a lot of calories and fat. I usually still eat a few chips with my salsa or guacamole but I try to keep it under control. When you are hungry it is so easy to attack the chips and before you know it go through several bowls.
The healthiest meal I've found at Tex-Mex restaurants is spinach enchiladas verde with no cheese. Very tasty and a lot fewer calories than most entrees.
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