Facts About Calories in Mexican Food

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Overview

Fried foods, red meat, and white flour just are not good for anyone’s diet. Calories in Mexican food are often overloaded with the preceding types of ingredients. People watching their health should choose regular beans and corn tortillas rather than refried beans and flour tortillas, advises Girlshealth.gov.

Also, some Mexican dishes such as queso blanco and similar cheeses are not safe to eat during pregnancy.

The “Worst” Foods

No matter how good they taste, some Mexican food items are really bad for the diet. A typical burrito from a restaurant such as Chipotle usually consists of more than 1,000 calories. This doesn’t count add-ons like cheese, guacamole or sour cream. Even lower fat sour creams, like Daisy, consist of 60 calories and 5 grams of fat for two tablespoons.

Most other Mexican dishes such as tacos, nachos, quesadillas, enchiladas, and chimichangas tested by the The Center for Science in the Public Interest also clocked in at well over 1,000 calories. Thus, it might be a better idea to make Mexican food at home, or select healthier options when dining out.

Better Choices

Skipping the chips and eating fresh salsa and rice is probably a great idea. Restaurants such as Acapulco serve a grilled fish, rice, vegetables, and salsa that is only 420 calories. Another healthier option is soft corn tortilla-based tacos with grilled chicken or fish; these usually have 350 calories or less. Mexican food fanatics who are not willing to expand their waistlines can also try Mexican salads (sans fried tortillas shells). A fast food version with chicken or beef, mixed salad greens, black olives, onions, a bit of cheese and just a few tortilla chips usually runs about 390 calories.

Chicken quesadillas, like those served at Taco Bell, typically run about 520 calories.

Making some of these dishes at home can shave 100 or more of the calories in Mexican food, according to “Good Housekeeping.” Choosing lower fat cheeses and beef, controlling the amount of added fat through cooking oil, and selecting the healthiest tortillas contribute to the calorie-saving factors of home cooking Mexican cuisine.

People can save calories when eating favorite Mexican dishes by eating 1/2 or 1/3 of the dish and either sharing with a dining companion or taking the rest home. But this requires willpower, which even the most committed dieters may not always possess.

References

Girlshealth.gov: Nutrition. https://www.girlshealth.gov/nutrition/mypyramid/index.cfm

Good Housekeeping: Healthy Fast Food Alternatives. https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/food/healthy/healthy-fast-food-alternatives

Mayo Clinic: Pregnancy Nutrition. https://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pregnancy-nutrition/PR00109

Medicine Net: Enjoying Mexican. https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=56429

National Heart Lung and Blood Institute: Mexican-American Cuisine. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/lose_wt/mex_amer.htm

Women and Weight: Low Calorie Mexican Restaurant Food. https://www.womenandweight.com/weight-management/weight-loss/low-calorie-mexican-restaurant-food/