According to the United States Healthful Food Counsel (USHFC) Americans spend half their food dollars eating out. This is no surprise when we come to think of the busy lifestyles many of us lead. At MakeMyPlate we are aware of the fact that many of our users eat out often and want to provide you with all the tools you need to stay on track when it comes to your weight loss diet plan both in and out of your home kitchen.
As part of this blog series, every week we will focus on a different restaurant type to make sure you have all the tips and facts for your optimal choices to achieve your weight loss plan. In most cases, restaurants are happy to accommodate your dietary needs, all you have to do is have a diet plan and ask. This week we are happy to share our expert’s weight loss tips in Mexican restaurants and food chains.
Usually, the first thing that arrives at the table is chips and salsa and we all know how hard they are to resist. Make it easier by telling you waiter that you would like to skip the chips as they are high in fat and loaded with empty calories. Another general rule of thumb for dishes you might want to steer clear of are those that consist of cheese e.g. cheese and spinach dip, nachos etc. These dishes for the most part are high in fat adding up to hundreds of calories.
Meet your needs when it comes to meat!
Meat can be found on the menu of almost every Mexican restaurant. Whether its beef or chicken, many times it is prepared with extra lard or oil in the skillet. As part of your efforts in creating a healthy meal, we recommend sticking to the grilled meat options, and don’t be shy to ask for no oil or as little as possible. Another great option is going with an alternative such as fish. Fish is a great source of protein, has heart healthy Omega 3, and goes wonderful with typical Mexican items such as rice, veggies, salsa, guacamole, etc. It is preferrable to ask for it grilled not fried.
Go with the Tacos
Generally, ordering a taco meal is smaller in size than your average entrée. When ordering a taco dish you can ask for the more caloric options such as sour cream, shredded cheese, bacon crisps, guacamole, etc., on the side, leaving you in control of portion sizes. Another tip of ours has to do with the tortilla itself. Generally, corn tortillas are lower in calories than wheat tortillas. Also, check with your waiter if it is possible to get the tortilla baked instead of fried.
Bowl it! Burrito style!
Try a burrito bowl. This way you get to enjoy all the delicious flavors of a burrito and save on the extra calories of the tortilla. Many restaurants offer brown rice instead of fried or white rice, which is a healthier choice. You can also ask to go light on the rice and double the veggies. Add your protein choice and choose healthier toppings such as salsa, pico de gallo, chili corn salsa or lime and cilantro dressing.
Bowl it! Salad style!
A salad always makes for a nice meal, and is widely available to include your needs of all major food groups of carbohydrates, protein and vegetables. The smarter choice is to skip the fried bowl that is offered in many Mexican restaurants, and skip the tortilla chips that come on the side or in the salad. Next, we move on to the toppings. Make a healthier choice by asking for the sour cream, guacamole and shredded cheese on the side or skip it all together- don’t worry there are plenty of other options such as salsa or lime and cilantro instead of salsa dressing.
When ordering Fajitas, go lighter and healthier by ordering grilled chicken or beef and asking for grilled veggies. As with other dishes, request for the sour cream and cheese on the side in order to have better control of their consumption. Additionally, consider skipping the tortillas all together turning your fajitas into a nice hot Mexican stir-fry like dish.
If you haven’t tried our App yet, or are not familiar with our restaurant menu selections check it out to find out exactly which healthier meals you could be ordering in Mexican restaurants to help you in your weight loss process. Buen Provecho and enjoy!