10 Mexican Dishes for Staying Slim
Guacamole often gets a bad rap because avocados are rich in fat. But it's actually good fat—the kind that's monounsaturated, helps lower cholesterol, and boosts heart health. Not to mention that avocados are actually a fruit, not a vegetable, and they're higher in potassium than bananas. The creamy combination of avocado, cilantro, onion, and tomato is divine and even better for you if you scoop up this dip with jicama or carrot sticks instead of tortilla chips.
Forget chicken noodle soup, this traditional Mexican soup is my favorite cure for a cold! It’s typically made with pork or chicken, but we prefer the healthier chicken version of this tremendously comforting dish. Posole is filled with lots of garlic, chiles, onion, lime juice, and my favorite, hominy (hulled corn with a lot more nutritional value). Suddenly, getting sick doesn’t sound so bad.
You could eat this cactus salad all year round, but it’s perfect for warm weather because it’s cool, crunchy, refreshing, and tart. Mexican for cactus, nopalito has a wealth of health benefits, including vitamins, minerals, and fiber. You can find it in tacos or served as a side, but my favorite way comes in a salad, tossed with tomato, onion, lime juice, and cilantro.
Grilled Fish Tacos
People see the word taco and assume it’s unhealthy, but that’s not always the case. In fact, fish tacos are a perfectly good option as long as the fish is grilled, not fried. Just steer clear of “Baja-style” fish, which tends to be deep-fried before making its way into your soft taco. Add a little cabbage, salsa, and a dab of guacamole and you’ve got a fantastic meal. And if you’re watching your carbs, skip the taco shell.
You might think of ceviche as a “seafood salsa” of sorts—light, refreshing, and most importantly, filled with flavor! And it’s so simple, just fresh, raw fish mixed with lime or lemon juice, tomatoes, onions and other seasonings, such as chiles, oregano, or cilantro. Instead of oil or butter, the fish is “cooked” or cured in the acid of the citrus, so there’s no added fat
Mexicans have a wonderful way of letting fresh fish shine. You’ll often find a chilled seafood salad on the menu with octopus, scallops, and/or shrimp tossed in a little olive oil and lemon juice. There’s lots of fresh herbs in the mix such as chives and parsley for added flavor and fragrance.
Instead of Mexican crema—code for sour cream—add salsa to your fish or meat for added flavor. What most people think of as salsa is actually pico de gallo, which is just one kind of salsa. But salsa is any uncooked condiment made with chopped or whole vegetables or even fruit, served smooth or chunky. The most usual suspects are tomatoes, tomatillos, and onions.
Anything a la Parrilla
Scan the menu for the phrase “a la parilla,” which means grilled over an open flame. (That’s a very good thing when you’re looking for lighter options at a Mexican restaurant.) The most typical preparations are shrimp, calamari, steak, or salmon a la parrilla. The char of the grill imbues your fish or meat with a deliciously smoky flavor.
As long as you skip the tortilla chip garnish, this soup is an excellent choice for dinner. Mexico’s answer to chicken soup, it’s made with the country’s staple ingredients, including chiles, cilantro, cumin, onion, stewed tomatoes, jalapeno pepper, and oregano. It’s delicious and filling, so you won’t be tempted by the chip basket.
Instead of gobs of gooey cheese on your quesadilla or chicken taco, opt for a little queso fresco. A sprinkle of this fresh cow’s milk cheese over your dish goes a long way!