Mexican cuisine boasts bold flavors, vibrant spices and diverse culinary traditions. From salsas and tortillas to tamales and enchiladas, there is a lot to choose from.
For health-conscious diners, indulging in Mexican cuisine can be challenging when there are so many delicious dishes to try. In addition, many popular entrees contain oil, lard and salt. Some of the most delicious dishes are stuffed with cheese and sour cream, which are high in saturated fats and calories.
Fortunately, with thoughtful planning, everyone can enjoy low-calorie Mexican food without skipping on taste and flavor.
Here are some of the lowest-calorie Mexican foods to look for on the menu.
Classic Mexican Salads
Classic salads are considered one of the healthiest Mexican food options. They often feature crisp lettuce, ripe tomatoes, onions, fragrant cilantro, beans and avocados, all delicately dressed with zesty lime juice and a drizzle of olive oil. For more protein and flavor, consider incorporating grilled chicken, succulent shrimp, or nutrient-packed beans.
Instead of a creamy dressing, use salsa as a salad topping. Otherwise, choose low-fat alternatives like reduced-fat ranch dressing and request it on the side to control portions. For those looking to reduce their saturated fat intake, it’s best to skip the deep-fried tortilla chips that typically come with the salad.
Ceviche consists of raw fish or seafood marinated in lemon or lime juice and infused with spices and herbs, such as cilantro, garlic, cumin and chili pepper. It’s one of the lowest-calorie Mexican foods that’s rich in protein. The citrus marinade cooks the seafood without adding extra calories from oil or frying.
Healthy Mexican foods like Ceviche are often enjoyed alongside deep-fried tortillas and plantain chips. Consider substituting tortilla chips with whole-grain crackers, cucumber slices or even lettuce leaves for a healthier alternative.
Soft Corn Tortillas
Tortillas, when prepared with the right ingredients, can be one of the healthiest Mexican foods. Opting for soft corn tortillas instead of fried shells or large flour tortillas can significantly reduce calorie content.
Corn tortillas are lower in calories and fat while offering dietary fiber and essential nutrients. Two corn tortillas contain just 1.5 grams of fat, mostly polyunsaturated, with no saturated or trans fat, unless prepared with added oils.
Filling ingredients like beans, lean grilled chicken and turkey can provide a good source of protein without the excess fat found in fried options. Likewise, adding fresh toppings such as cilantro, lettuce and diced tomatoes can make tortillas even healthier.
Switch high-calorie toppings like sour cream and cheese with salsa, guacamole or a squeeze of lime for added flavor. These substitutes contain fewer calories and more essential nutrients.
Brown Rice and Black Bean Burritos
Contrary to popular opinion, burritos can be turned into wholesome, low-calorie Mexican food.
Start with whole wheat or spinach tortillas for extra fiber and nutrients. If possible, substitute white rice for brown rice, which is notably richer in fiber, protein and essential micronutrients. It also contains unsaturated lipids and has a lower glycemic index.
Choose a burrito filled with lean proteins like chicken or tofu and add fresh vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, corn, and tomatoes. These ingredients offer plenty of nutrients and vitamins, turning burritos into the most fulfilling and healthiest Mexican foods.
Swap heavy servings of sour cream and cheese with guacamole. Avocado provides beneficial monounsaturated fats that support brain function and overall health. This plant-based fat helps reduce cholesterol levels and mitigate the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Grilled or Baked Lean Proteins
The lowest-calorie Mexican foods are those that contain little to no fat. Frying often involves partially hydrogenated oils containing harmful trans fats. Grilling eliminates the need for these unhealthy fats and allows excess fat to drip away from the food.
Choose grilled or baked protein like chicken or steak instead of fried foods like chimichangas, chicharrones, or taquitos. Eat more black beans instead of refried beans. They’re lower in fat, richer in protein and have higher fiber content.
Consider carne asada, a steak dish marinated in zesty lime juice, garlic, aromatic herbs, and various spices, for a delectable yet nutritious choice. The marinated steak is typically grilled to perfection and sliced into savory beef strips. Be mindful of portion sizes and pair it with generous servings of vegetables for a well-balanced meal.
Indulge in delicious and healthy Mexican food at Benito’s
Adding nutritious elements to every dish can make a huge difference. For healthy Mexican food, head over to Benito’s. This family-friendly establishment offers made-from-scratch Mexican snacks and delicious entrees that keep customers craving more. From hearty breakfast dishes to pico de gallo and fresh guacamole, enjoy low-calorie Mexican food bursting with authentic flavors and goodness.
Benito’s Restaurant is open for dine-in and takeout orders seven days a week. Click here for the menu, or contact (817) 332-8633 for bookings and inquiries.