Ok, Cinco de Mayo isn’t for a couple of days yet, but I wanted to post this a little in advance to give you some time to plan. A lot of us celebrate Cinco de Mayo by going out to a Mexican restaurant and feasting on all the goodies they have to offer. It isn’t my intention to put a damper on the celebrations, but have you ever looked up the nutrition information for any of your favorite dishes at Mexican restaurants?
These are a few I randomly pulled from CalorieKing.com just to give you an idea (the restaurant name has been withheld to protect their identity 🙂 – it is a national chain sit-down type place here in Tally, but no matter where you go they all have very similar offerings):
Chips & Salsa
430 calories 22 g total fat 4 g saturated fat 460 mg sodium
Big Chicken Bordurrito with Rice & Side Salad without beans & NO dressing
1690 calories 77 g total fat 20 g saturated fat 4,670 mg sodium (the daily recommendation for sodium for an entire day is between 1,500 and 2,300 mg!)
Classic Chicken Burrito with Rice without sauce & beans
920 calories 36 g total fat 16 g saturated fat 2,340 mg sodium
The Ultimate Fajitas WITHOUT rice, beans, tortillas & condiments
1160 calories 96 g total fat 22 g saturated fat 2,750 mg sodium
Chicken Grande Taco Salad WITHOUT dressing
1180 calories 75 g total fat 29 g saturated fat 2,180 mg sodium
YIKES right?! Want a margarita to go with that? One margarita can have anywhere between 350 to around 700 calories!
So what is to be done if you want to celebrate, but without all the extra calories, fat, and SODIUM?
If you absolutely have to go out here are some tips:
- Don’t go super hungry and push the chip basket to the other side of the table – way too easy to mindlessly munch away 300 or 400 calories!
- Get corn tortillas instead of flour.
- Order a la carte – portion size is one of the biggest pitfalls at Mexican restaurants or any restaurant for that matter. Ordering a la carte puts you in the driver’s seat and let’s you better control portions.
- Keep it simple – avoid dishes with heavy cheese sauces or other sauces. Use salsa as your sauce.
- Share with a friend or have your server box up half the meal before it even gets to the table.
- Use the plate your food was served on as just that, a “serving plate”. Have your server bring you an extra small plate and serve yourself smaller portions off of your “serving plate”. Go slowly and pay attention to fullness as you go!
- Go with grilled meats and pile on the veggies, adding nutrient density instead of calories.
The best solution though is to have your own Mexican fiesta right at home! Because many Mexican type dishes are full of so much flavor it is easy to cut the calories, fat, and sodium and not even miss it. Here are a couple of recipes from my recipe section you might try and a link to a tastier, lighter version of the Classic Margarita from Eating Well:
Fish Tacos with Chipotle Cream
Chicken & Spinach Enchiladas with Guacamole Salad
Tienen un feliz y saludable Cinco de Mayo! (Have a happy and healthy Cinco de Mayo!)