Healthy Mexican Food Definition
Source : Google.com.pk
Most Mexican dishes you find here in the states involve deep-fried tortillas, fatty meats soaked with grease, and oversized combination platters that could feed a whole family. Take Baja Fresh, for example: About a third of the items on the menu have more than 1,000 calories, and most of them are spiked with enough sodium to melt a polar icecap. Order the Shrimp Burrito Dos Manos Enchilado-Style, for instance, and you're looking at 5,130 mg sodium—that's more than 2 days' worth in one sitting!
But that doesn’t mean every Mexican meal has to make your gut burst like a piñata. Whether you’re eating out for Cinco de Mayo or just satisfying a south-of-the-border craving, stick with these 9 orders for healthier takes on your favorite spicy foods.
When you’re craving ethnic food—without all the fat—look no further than our neighbors to the south for healthy, mouthwatering inspiration. Many Mexican staples—beans, corn, tomatoes and peppers—are bursting with important vitamins and nutrients. Often thrown into the broad “Latin” category, Mexican cuisine has distinctive qualities, such as its many uses of corn; complex moles and salsas; and a variety of chiles that perfectly accentuate their intended dishes. The tantalizing flavors of these rich and piquant recipes will help you kick-start whatever fiesta you have planned—and to drink, don’t forget the cerveza!
You probably knew what a quesadilla was when you were just a toddler. And, like most Americans, you're probably still eating them today.
You love Mexican food, but how healthy is it? Read on to find out whether or not your favorite south-of-the-border cuisine is good for you.
mexican food the american way
Ask the average American if he likes Mexican food, and he'll probably tell you that he ate it last week. Mexican has become one of the three most popular cuisines in the U.S., with nearly 90% of the total population having tasted it.
It has become such a part of the traditional American diet — regardless of heritage — that new Mexican-inspired dishes are even popping up at some of the most ordinary U.S. chain restaurants — like Applebee's, Chili's and IHOP — just to satisfy the demand.
But have you ever wondered how healthy Mexican food is for you?
taco bell isn't mexican food
When Mexican food comes to mind, the average person immediately thinks of burritos, tacos, nachos, and quesadillas. What people do not realize is that, although your nachos supreme come from a "Mexican restaurant," the people living in Mexico are probably not incorporating giant platters of cheesy fried tortilla chips into their everyday meals.
Real Mexican food is one of the most colorful and varied cuisines in the world. Mexican dishes are prepared with loads of fresh produce, protein-packed beans, fiber-filled tortillas, and nutritious spices like chilies, garlic, cloves, cinnamon, and cumin.
Unfortunately, the average Mexican food joint in the U.S. cannot boast about the health benefits of its meals. Americans have super-sized and super-fattened nearly every dish that we consider Mexican today — in fact, many Mexican dishes were created in the U.S., so they don't even exist south of the border.
American-style Mexican food is usually high in fat, sodium and calories, and it uses less of the fresh, nutrient-packed ingredients that traditional Mexican food includes.
Let's compare a few traditional Mexican dishes with those that you find at the average Mexican restaurant in the United States:
Americanized Mexican food
Taco Bell: Nachos Bell Grande — 760 calories and 39 grams of fat.
Chipotle's: Beef Burrito —1,026 calories and 46 grams of fat.
Baja Fresh: Steak quesadilla —1,450 and 86 grams of fat.
Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill: Carne Asada Taco with rice and beans — 710 calories and 22 grams of fat.
Find out how "real" Mexican food measures up, and how to make the Mexican meals you love healthier...
Traditional Mexican food
Although "real" Mexican food differs based on the geographic region from which it is derived, most traditional dishes are much lower in fat and higher in nutrients than what you'll find at Baja Fresh, Taco Bell or Chipotle's.
Here are some examples of traditional Mexican dishes and the corresponding fat and calorie content of an average serving size.
Ceviche: 140 calories and 5 grams of fat.
Raw fish — usually shrimp and scallops — marinated in lime juice and flavored with spices, such as chili, salt, cilantro, garlic, and peppercorn.
Chile Rellenos: 237 calories and 8 grams of fat.
Large Anaheim chilies stuffed with spicy meat and/or cheese.
Poc Chuc: 160 to 230 calories and 8 grams of fat.
Grilled pork steak, cooked with tomatoes, onions and spices.
Huachinango a la Veracruzana: 144 to 270 calories and 2 to 9 grams of fat (depending on size of fish fillets).
Pacific red snapper sauted with mushrooms, jalapenos, chilies, onions, tomatoes, and garlic.
satisfy your craving the healthy way
If you cannot bear to think of life without seven-layer burritos, I have good news for you: You can still eat the Mexican foods you love — I'll just tell you how to make the Americanized versions healthier.
Avocados include oleic acid, which has been shown to lower "bad" cholesterol. They are also full of vitamin K and a good source of potassium. Whenever possible, ask for real avocado instead of the processed guacamole found in many American-style Mexican restaurants.
Beans are a great source of protein and fiber, and certain types provide antioxidant benefits. Try to avoid the fatty, refried beans you find at your local Taco Bell and ask for whole pinto or black beans instead. You'll save fat and calories, and they usually taste better.
It's rare that you will find real chilies at most U.S. "fast food" Mexican restaurants. However, the larger, more traditional chains are starting to include more of this all-around healthy spice in many of their dishes. Chili peppers contain an ingredient called capsaicin, which boasts anti-inflammatory and pain-relief qualities. Chilies also have cardiovascular benefits (they aid in lowering bad cholesterol), and they are high in vitamins A and C.
Corn is a staple in traditional Mexican cooking and it has amazing health qualities. Corn is high in folate and vitamins B and C, and is a good source of dietary fiber. It is a heart-healthy food that aids in digestion and can help stabilize blood sugar levels. Try corn tortillas or add corn to your burrito for extra flavor.
Mexican food is famous for salsa, no matter which region you are visiting, and fortunately, tomatoes are the main ingredient. Tomatoes are rich in potassium and vitamins C and A, and they include lycopene, which is an antioxidant that has cancer-fighting properties.
So... is Mexican food healthy? The answer is yes and no.
Traditional Mexican food is high in nutrients, packed with vitamins and is generally low in fat. Sadly, Americans weeded out the "good stuff" long ago and replaced it with oil, fat and calories — which is what you'll find in most Mexican restaurants in the United States.
Sure, American-style Mexican food tastes good, but if you want to experience the benefits of true Mexican cooking, avoid the fast food and Tex Mex joints, and try something authentic.