Oh no, it’s Mexican night! All that sinful rich food brimming with fats and starch. What can you do if you love Mexican food but you don’t want to sabotage your healthy diet? If this sounds familiar then you are not alone. There is a fine line between taste and reasonable meal planning. There is nothing wrong with eating rich foods once a week as a treat but if you are on a diet and really cannot afford to take in that sour cream, refried beans, corn chips and guacamole, then think again. I am going to tell you a few things about modification and how you can incorporate this into delicious meals, even Mexican ones.
Being that I am personally on a “diet” all year long (on season, off season, bulking, leaning), I have learned how to be creative with my foods. Of course, I indulge sometimes and I can afford doing this since I train extremely hard and stay disciplined with my diet for the most part. But there are those times when you just have to work around rich, high calorie foods and find alternatives without sacrificing the overall enjoyment of the meal.
Salsa is usually always a safe, low calorie Mexican condiment you can enjoy at any time. Many store bought salsas will include extra sugars and horrendous amounts of sodium, so make sure to always check the nutritional label on the back of each item. If you want to go super healthy, try making homemade salsa. All you need are onions, peppers, and tomato with lime, lemon, white vinegar, salt and pepper. If you like it hot then add some chillies to it.
Sour cream is another cornerstone condiment used with Mexican foods and it’s used in many dishes to add a smooth, rich texture and a slight relief to the hot versions of different meals. There is nonfat sour cream available but you can also cut out the sour cream and use nonfat yogurt as a replacement. I like to sprinkle some cayenne pepper or paprika into a dish to really liven it up.
Guacamole is actually very healthy with a lot of good fats. Of course, you should limit the overall amount due to its high calorie content but you do not need to eliminate it completely. This is another item that you can make at home. A little lime juice and some finely chopped onions and tomatoes will dilute the avocado puree.
Corn based chips, taco shells and wheat tortillas can also be replaced with tortillas made from other grains such as kamut or spelt. The taco shells and chips can also be made or cut with other grains so that you are not getting so much fatty corn in your meals.
Beans are excellent, and refried versions are wonderful but do not fry, or use extra fat in them. Black beans are usually used whole and they are tremendously healthy with lots of muscle building protein.
Speaking of protein, you can use tofu which is a meat alternative to ground beef. You can also use ground turkey or chicken in place of beef. You will save some extra calories when you switch from using ground beef to ground poultry. This is a much healthier option and takes nothing away from your Mexican dish.
So next time it’s Mexican night, try to plan ahead with some of these healthy alternatives to your meals. Your friends and family will probably not even taste a difference while they are eating a much lower calorie version that will leave them feeling much healthier.