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  • Writer's pictureSarah Anderson

This or That Thursday: Mexican Restaurant Edition

It's THIS OR THAT Thursday! This week we will take a look at healthier choices at a Mexican restaurant.

I could seriously live of of Chips and Queso! So for me going to a Mexican restaurant is an easy choice when it's date night!

Here are a few healthier options that can often be found at a Mexican Restaurant!

Eat This. . .

1. Salads

Almost all Mexican restaurants will have a few salad options prepared with a variety of vegetables. Ask for dressing on the side. This will help you choose the quantity you want yourself. Salad dressings can be high in fat and add additional calories. Also, consider skipping the cheese, tortilla chips, and fried tortilla bowl. These also have a lot of saturated fats and calories that will add up. Another option is to limit the portion size that you eat or try sharing with a friend.

This past year I have gotten better at eating until I am satisfied and then being done. I then typically have left overs for another meal! Previously, I would eat and eat until I am uncomfortably full.

2. Lean Proteins

Protein is an essential part of a balanced diet. Protein is known for its ability to help maintain muscle mass and its ability to be satiating (feeling of full). While out, try to order grilled protein options over fried. Also, try sticking to leaner protein options such as chicken and fish. These will save you calories because they are often lower in fat content.

3. Beans

When choosing beans try opting for black beans. Black bean are higher in protein and lower in fat. Another bean option are pinto beans. They are naturally cholesterol and sodium-free. They also have a similar taste to refried beans.

4. Brown Rice

While at a Mexican restaurant, ask to see if they have the option of brown rice. Brown rice is much higher in fiber, protein, and other nutrients. It is also lower on the glycemic index.

5. Soft Tortillas

Choose soft shell tacos or tortillas that are baked and not fried. This choice will save you calories, fat, and sodium. It might be just be me but I prefer a soft shell taco any day over hard.

Not That:

1. Fried

Fried foods contain high amounts of fat and saturated fat. Eating large amounts of fried foods can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. Another reason to avoid fried foods is that it can be difficult to know the exact calories.

2. White Rice

Eating white rice is not the end of the world, if you don't have a choice. It is higher on the glycemic index than brown rice. It is also lower in fiber and protein than brown rice.

3. Hard Shells

Hard, crunchy options, such as tortilla chips, are usually flavorful because they have been fried. They often are higher in fat and sodium. One option is to limit the amount of fried food by sharing with a friend. Don't try to eat all the chips yourself!

4. Sugary Drinks

Eating out often comes with additional calories that you may or may not consume when you are eating at home. Sugary drinks are often high in carbs and extra calories. Skipping the sugary drinks can help you save some calories.

5. Light on the Cheese

Cheese and queso are delicious, don't get me wrong. I absolutely LOVE queso. However, cheese often comes with lots of added fat. Trying asking for light chees or skip altogether.

6. Refried Beans

Although, refried beans may sound like a nutritious option, it can often depend on how they are prepared. Some Mexican restaurants prepare their refried beans with lard. Some place also add cheese and salt for extra flavor.

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