A lot can go wrong at a Mexican restaurant, especially for those who are trying to eat a bit more nutritiously, but in all fairness, with a cuisine centered on nutrient-rich ingredients like black beans, vegetables, lean protein and fresh avocado, a lot can also go right at a Mexican restaurant. Today we’re Getting the Skinny with Molly on key ingredients + strategies to help you celebrate Cinco de Mayo, guilt-free.
The SKINNY on BURRITOS
A Chipotle Burrito, for example, with chicken, steak or carnitas with beans and rice, along with sour cream, cheese, and guacamole can set you back nearly 1300 calories, with 22 grams of saturated fat and 2270 mg sodium – maxing us out for saturated fat and sodium in one meal.
3 Steps to Build a Better Burrito:
- USE THE RIGHT WRAP: Check out our Love it, Like it, Hate it segment for the best + worst of storebought wraps, including Molly’s favorites like Hola Nola 100% Whole Wheat Tortillas, La Tortilla Factory Low Carb Whole Wheat Tortillas, and P28 High Protein Wraps.
- SKIP THE WRAP: Just the wrap alone can have 300-plus all-carb calories, so the “bowl” approach can be much more diet-friendly.
- SELECT ADD-INS CAREFULLY:
- Lean proteins - grilled shrimp, chicken, fish, flank steak.
- Pile on the grilled veggies
- Keep the black beans (or pinto beans) but nix the rice
- Add cheese, sour cream, or guacamole
- Top it off with fresh cilantro, and pico de gallo.
Eat Fit 101: Our Eat Fit NOLA guide to ordering in Mexican restaurants.
- Fresh seafood marinated in citrus juices, just ask for vegetables in place of chips. Superior Grill and The Velvet Cactus each offer an Eat Fit NOLA-style ceviche.
- Corn tortillas have fewer carbs and calories than flour. Even better, go with lettuce-wrapped tacos.
- Grilled platter or skewers. Keep it lean with grilled fish, chicken or lean steak. Request double grilled vegetables in place of rice and refried beans.
- TIP: Order cucumber “chips”. Every ounce of tortilla chips (about seven chips) has about 140 calories, so to keep things in check, ask for cucumber chips – raw cucumber slices sprinkled with spices – in place of chips.
Molly Kimball is a registered dietitian in New Orleans. She can be reached at email@example.com. Comment and read more atNOLA.com/eat-drink. Follow her on Facebook: facebook.com/mollykimballrd and Twitter: twitter.com/mollykimballrd.