Have you heard that if you’re trying to lose weight, you should give up Mexican food? It’s a common recommendation: stop eating it in favor of weight loss. The common assumption is that ALL Mexican cuisine is loaded with fat and calories and can hinder weight loss efforts. We’re here to tell you… it’s false! The truth is that success relies on making the best choices wherever you are, whether that’s at home or eating out, fast food or fine dining, Mexican or Italian. In fact, when it comes to Mexican food, there are plenty of dietitian-recommended menu choices out there, and some of the most waist-friendly ingredients may be hiding in your favorite menu choices. It’s all about knowing what to look for.
The humble bean can be a big ally in weight loss. High in both fiber and protein, beans can fill you up and keep you satisfied longer. This, plus loads of vitamins and minerals without the saturated fat of their non-vegetarian counterparts make this often-overlooked ingredient a powerful one for whittling your waist. When eating out at restaurants, opt for whole bean choices instead of refried. Many Mexican restaurants now offer whole pinto beans, black beans and more on the menu. Order them as a side or as the main ingredient in your burritos and tacos.
If you’ve dismissed this ingredient as simply a high-fat garnish, it’s time to think again. While avocado is high in fat (and calories), the fats in this fruit are primarily healthy, unsaturated fats. Studies indicate that avocado may actually help satisfy taste buds and hunger cues. When eating out at restaurants, enjoy that sliced avocado garnish or scoop of guacamole. Be sure to keep portions on the small side to keep calories from adding up.
Veggies, veggies and more veggies
Just in case you haven’t noticed, vegetables of all shapes, sizes, flavors and textures are hiding (and shining) in your Mexican food, adding important vitamins, minerals and fiber. Onions, bell peppers, jicama, tomatoes, cactus, tomatillos, cabbage, and lettuce are all common additions to burritos, tacos, enchiladas, tostadas, fajitas and more. Like beans, the fiber in vegetables can help add lower-calorie bulk to your meal which often fills you up on fewer calories total. When eating at restaurants, look for ways to add even more vegetables to your Mexican food favorites such as:
- Extra cabbage on your tacos
- Added lettuce, tomatoes, onions and more to burritos
- Vegetables in place of Mexican rice as a side
Treat yourself well instead of depriving yourself in the quest to lose weight. Opting for the best choices at Mexican restaurants, made with waist-friendly ingredients like these, can help you savor every bite you take as you reach your weight loss goals.
Get started on your delicious diet with the best choices at Mexican restaurants nationwide. Find them on Healthy Dining Finder here.