Food Showdown: Cinco de Mayo Madness

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Mexican dishes often combine both healthy and not-so-healthy ingredients.  Although they include a lot of fresh produce (lettuce, tomatoes, and corn) and complex carbohydrates like beans and rice, the meals are also sometimes cooked in lard and topped with lots of melty cheese.  Taco salads, for example, are usually chock-full of veggies, but they can also be piled high with cheese, meat, and deep-fried chips.  And chicken fajitas are made up of mostly healthy lean protein and veggies, but are often stir-fried and wrapped in an empty calorie tortilla. For a healthier Cinco de Mayo feast, should you dig into a taco salad or a plate of chicken fajitas?

The Winner: Chicken Fajitas!

Fajitas (stir-fried meat and lots of veggies, served with steamed tortillas) will usually be your best bet at a Mexican restaurant. One serving of chicken fajitas brings just 200 calories and 7g fat to the table.  Taco salads can pack in more than 1,000 calories! Most of the ingredients inside the salad are healthy, but extras like dressing, cheese, beef and a calorie-laden tortilla shell can sabotage your meal. When ordering fajitas, ask for no cheese, sour cream, or guacamole to slash the fat content, and top with fresh salsa instead. If a taco salad is calling your name, ask for it without the fried tortilla shell and go easy on the toppings.

What's your favorite Mexican dish?

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looking for a recipe for juicing to help me loose weight Report
We use ground turkey, go light on the cheese and use light sour cream! Love Mexican food! Report
I make my own taco salad by using ground turkey, lettuce, tomato, avocado, lime juice, corn, black beans, some shredded strong cheddar, crumble up some baked blue corn tortilla chips to replace the shell and dress it up with a half mixture of low -cal ranch and salsa. Report
My favorite is whole wheat or seven grain wraps with no fat refried beans, tomatoes, peppers, olives, lettuce, and soy or rice cheese. Report
a toss up between green chili stew and fish tacos (using the vinegar-based cole slaw) Report
I make taco salad at home all the time. We use extra lean burger, fat free re-fried beans, lots of veggies, light on the cheese, and I bake my bowl.
Baking the bowl is just as good as frying it without all the fat and grease. Report
That is exactly what i order. It's a no brainer~ Report
I always get strange looks when we go to the small local coney island and I order chicken fajitas. Then, to add to their entertainment, I just dump it all together on the plate without the fajita and eat it that way. They also work in my favor with their serving sizes of the cheese & sour cream. They bring less than .25 cup of the grated cheese and about 1 Tbsp of sour cream. Most people would complain, I'm sure. Report
Totally not surprised here. I love getting the fajitas, and I don't even bother with the tortillas. They're only there to put the fajita filling in your mouth, and my fork can do that just fine! Report
My fav is homemade tamales. Sopes are a close second. Report
My favorite Mexican dish was pretty much anything made by my Grandma. She raised ten kids in a two bedroom, one bath house and no one went hungry - a little piece of meat could feed everyone. If I had to choose, her hand-stretched flour tortillas could bring you to tears. As a kid my father would often help himself to one without permission, then bring her the belt so he could atone for his cheek. Report
I wish I'd read this blog BEFORE I went to dinner... LOL. Ah well. My Chili Relleno was very, very good! Report
I love veggie tacos and taco salads with black beans instead of meat. Report
Of course, the veracity of the claims in this article depends greatly on your taco salad recipe. My husband an I are vegetarians, have been for 20 years. There's no meat, very little cheese, and a light dressing on our taco salad. Just eat at home. Have your own party. Report
I love Mexican food and I am so happy to be enlightened on how to eat them more healthy. Chicken fajitas and the taco salad are the perfect answers! Sometimes I feel that I have to blow it because I can't eat anything on the menu. Well, now I know! Thank you! Report
I actually made these today but I ate them on Romaine Lettuce instead of a tortilla and had no extra tops of sour cream and cheese but it still was outstandingly delicious. I made an avocado spread with just light mayo in it and ate that on the Romaine Lettuce as delicious! Report
Who doesn't love chicken fajitas! Report
Chicken fajitas are my favorite anyway! ;) Easy peasy. Report
I love Mexican food. Thanks for the advice on how to best eat a taco salad & fajitas.
I always order.Chicken Fajitas with no cheese, sour cream, or guacamole. I only like to add to the chicken and vegetables, salsa! Amazing, just discovered, the best choice. Wow! Report
i love traditional Mexican food, and what I call gringo Mexican food. I love avocado, and think of them as the good fat. molejecta is my favorite, a stewlike of meat, chicken, shrimp and tomatoes. I have no idea if it's healthy or not. I am going out for Mexican tonight and the blog was timely. Report
Black beans! I enjoy (chicken) burritos more than tacos (less messy) and have begun making my own to improve the nutrition Report
Mexican food is one of my biggest downfalls - I can hardly resist the chips & queso...the refried beans topped with sour cream....the burritos, tostadas, enchiladas, chimichangas....all swimming in cheesy goodness - oh my! Not to mention the strawberry margaritas. For me it's better to just stay away. Report
Good food for Cinco de mayo! I have made veggie fajitas before, low cal and awesome. Report
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