If you're trying to eat healthy and a friend suggests ordering Mexican takeout, your gut reaction might be "oh no!" You may be picturing plates of cheesy nachos and beefy tacos — items that, while delicious, will certainly break your diet. Luckily, it doesn't have to be this way. While not all Mexican takeout items are healthy, it is possible to order a relatively health-conscious meal from your average Mexican takeout restaurant. Here are some tips for making your selections.
Choose items with fewer tortillas
Tortillas are delicious, and they are a hallmark feature of most Mexican dishes. However, they do tend to be high in calories and simple carbohydrates. As such, if you're trying to keep things light, you want to choose menu items that contain fewer tortillas. One taco plus a salad, for instance, is a better choice than five enchiladas, each wrapped in their own tortilla. Enjoy your tortillas, but in moderation.
Pick chicken or fish over beef
For some reason, people often think of beef when they think of Mexican cuisine. But most Mexican restaurants make plenty of items with chicken and fish, too. Chicken is lower in calories than beef, and fish is even lower in calories than chicken. Plus, both contain a lot less saturated fat than beef, making them healthier choices. Whether you order tacos, a burrito, or tostadas, pick chicken or fish as your protein — not beef.
Limit the sour cream and guacamole
There are plenty of Mexican dishes that are relatively low in calories and fat, until you add sour cream and guacamole to the top. Guacamole is a better choice than sour cream because it contains primarily unsaturated fats, whereas sour cream contains saturated fats. But still, guacamole is high in calories and could bust your diet. If you do order it with your meal, ask for it on the side so you can control how much you eat.
Enjoy one margarita, if any
Many Mexican takeout restaurants have begun allowing customers to order margaritas. Having an already mixed margarita delivered to your door can be fun, but make sure you only have one — if any. The average margarita contains about 274 calories, really upping the calorie content of your meal. Drink in moderation.
You can definitely enjoy Mexican food takeout while trying to eat healthy. Many dishes are actually full of healthy vegetables. Just stick to the tips above for successful ordering.