Do you and your family often find yourselves at the local taco shop or Mexican restaurant? Those tacos, burritos and guacamole don’t have to be a guilty pleasure. Sure, Mexican food is notoriously loaded with calories, fat and sodium, but here are some tips for family-friendly, healthy eating at Mexican restaurants that will make it easy to enjoy those full Latin flavors without sacrificing your family’s health:
· Load up on vegetables – They provide fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that are a must for everyone in the family. Opt for vegetable-filled burritos, tacos, or fajitas and pair non-veggie choices with a side of veggies.
· Choose your tortilla wisely – Opt for a soft whole grain or corn (also considered a whole grain) tortilla whenever possible to add fiber, vitamins and minerals to your meal, or skip the tortilla all together and ask for a lettuce wrap to add those veggies to your family’s meal.
· Ask for less cheese, sour cream, and guacamole – They’re delicious, but they can also add calories and fat quickly. Ask for half the usual amount in any of your dishes or request them on the side to share with the family.
· Fried foods are not your friends – Choose soft tacos, tamales, enchiladas, and burritos. Opt for black or pinto beans instead of refried beans.
Don’t forget to search for dietitian-recommended choices at Mexican restaurants near you. Many restaurants feature Healthy Dining and Kids LiveWell® menu choices that make finding healthy food easy even when time is tight. Here are a few Mexican menu choices recommended by Healthy Dining’s dietitians:
Grilled Salmon Salad at Casa
(510 calories, 23 g fat)
Located in La Mesa, CA
Taco al Carbon at El Pollo
(160 calories, 6 g fat, 260 mg sodium)
Located in AZ, CA, NV, TX, UT
Kids LiveWell® Grilled Marinated Fish with Black Beans at Maui Tacos
(Vegetable, Lean Protein)
Located in CA, DC, HI, ID, MD, MN, NC, NJ, NY, TX, UT
One Grilled Regal Springs® Tilapia Taco Plate with Citrus Rice
and Black Beans at Rubio’s
(500 calories, 15 g fat)
Located in AZ, CA, CO, NV, UT
Written by Healthy Dining's Manager of Communications Sara Lucero