Do you love the spicy tang of salsa? Are you a Taco Tuesday fanatic? Do you find yourself craving burritos and quesdillas?
If you love Mexican food, you’re definitely not alone. There are more than a million restaurants in the United States alone and at least one out of every 10 of those sells Mexican food.
As tasty as Mexican food is, there’s plenty of reason to load up on it if you’re looking for health benefits:
- Nutrients: When you think of getting your daily dose of vitamins and minerals, you may think of a multi-vitamin or a smoothie. Instead, you can get all the nutrients you need from the meat, lettuce, onions and tomatoes that are packed in Mexican foods.
- Protein: Protein promotes the health of your body’s muscle and tissue and gives you an energy boost. Whether you load up on beef, pork, carne asada or chicken, you’ll be giving yourself plenty of protein.
- Lowered Blood Pressure and Cholesterol: If you love a little bit of spice or burn in your Mexican food, it can actually help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. Capsaicin helps improve your circulation and also relieves congestion.
- Fiber: Your doctor has probably been on you to get enough fiber in your diet and Mexican food definitely delivers. Fortunately for fans of Mexican cuisine, beans are a staple and beans are chock-full of fiber.
The invention of Tex Mex in the 1940s led to a fusion of American and Mexican cuisines that has well received by people of all backgrounds.
Former Van Halen lead singer Sammy Hagar once sang about wanting the best of both worlds and that’s what you get with Tex Mex. You get traditional meats like chicken, pork and fish that’s infused with Mexican spices and tons of vegetables.
There’s a lot to love about Tex Mex generally speaking:
- It’s very healthy.
- It’s full of beans and we’re not talking refried beans. We’re talking healthy kinds like white and black beans.
- You can get plenty of flavor and eat healthy by swapping beef and pork for chicken and fish.
- You can get plenty of vitamins and minerals from the wide selection of colorful vegetables.
Yes it’s true that Tex Mex offers plenty of options and plenty of positive health benefits, it’s important to note that cooking it must be done carefully. If not, it’s easy to turn what looks like a healthy meal into a very fattening, unhealthy one.
For starters, a lot of Mexican dishes are deep fried and this can add countless calories and grams of fat. Rather than deep frying tortillas and other items, using a little oil and baking them can be just as delicious. A tostada shell or a taco shell can be cooked up in a frying pan too to get that crispness you’re looking for.
Another way to keep Tex-Mex healthy is to either cut out fatty toppings like sour cream and cheese or to use reduced fat options.
And then there’s the meat. Meats like chorizo, beef and pork can add up and the red meat can contribute to a lot of cancers and other health problems. Opting for healthier meats like chicken and fish is good, but you also want to make sure that the meat you choose isn’t breaded.
For tortillas, go for corn tortillas instead of flour. Corn tortillas have far less sodium (salt) than flour tortillas and less fat as well.
When it comes to making Tex Mex healthy, another thing you want to keep in mind especially if you’re dining out on Tex Mex and Mexican food is to skip the chips. They look so inviting next to the salsa and guacamole and are great to snack on while you’re waiting for your appetizer. But it’s also a way to pack on the calories. You can skip them or get a healthier option if you’re cooking at home such as crudities.
There are plenty of reasons to enjoy Tex Mex food like enchiladas and fajitas and you can enjoy them even more by exploring healthier options and doing what’s best for your body. Seventy percent of restaurant patrons are looking for healthier options on menus, so the next time you had to your favorite Mexican place, go for a healthier option when it comes to Tex Mex cuisine.