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?