Mexican food is a style of food that is bursting with flavour but is unfortunately usually loaded with calories and fat. With a little planning and creativity, however, you can have a delicious Mexican meal that is actually good for you.
Many Mexican meat dishes use pork or beef. Make a habit of substituting either lean beef or chicken as your meat. Main dishes such as fajitas, enchiladas, or tacos are very versatile and can use almost any type of lean meat, including seafood.
The next most prominent ingredient in any Mexican dish is cheese. Use low fat cheese instead or experiment with different kinds of cheese such as Swiss or Mozzarella. These two cheeses tend to be lower in fat and still taste great. If the recipe calls for cream cheese, simply use a low fat or non fat version. Another option is to slightly reduce the amount of cheese used in the dish. While cheese is a great source of protein, it also packs in quite a few calories and grams of fat.
Sour cream is a common ingredient found either in a dish or as a side topping. As a side dish, you could eliminate it altogether or use creative substitutions such as plain, non fat yogurt, avocado, or salsa. If it is needed in a recipe, try low fat or non fat.
Refried beans are a flavourful side but are typically made with lard and therefore extremely high in fat. You can buy non fat refried beans, which also have less calories and taste just as good. Another option is to serve black beans and add various spices and vegetables. Black beans are high in protein and low in fat.
Lettuce is an essential topper for your tacos. Rather than using traditional ice berg lettuce, which has virtually no nutrition, substitute a leafier green such as Romaine lettuce, Belgian endive, radicchio, arugula, or even spinach. You could always mix these other types of field greens in with iceberg lettuce for a great healthy combination.
Tortillas are perhaps the staple of Mexican dishes. Traditionally, they too have been made with lard. You can buy a plethora of different health-conscious tortillas at the super market including low fat and low carb. The best option is to get wholemeal tortillas. You can also find them with a variety of spices and seasonings added in. You could always make your own at home. All you need is wholemeal flour, oil, water, and salt. This could be a fun way to involve the whole family.
When sautéing vegetables or meats, use less oil and use a lighter version such as olive oil. Only sauté vegetables until they are crisp-tender so you preserve their nutrition.