The Cooper Institute

Founded in 1970 by the "Father of Aerobics"
Kenneth H. Cooper MD, MPH


Ay Dios Mio!

Posted in
Eat better

Thursday, May 14, 2009


From time to time we expose the calorie content of certain foods to enable you to make educated decisions when eating out. While some restaurants choose to (or are required to) provide this information, many don't . And without knowing how many calories you are consuming, how will you know if you've run over your daily calorie allowance?

This week we're revealing the min, the max, and the Ay Dios Mio! (oh my gosh!) of calories found in various Mexican foods. We'll also provide some simple strategies for cutting calories when eating Mexican fare.

Lower Calorie Choices*: Chicken tortilla soup; 1 to 2 grilled chicken, beef or fish soft tacos; chicken salsa fresca

Higher Calorie Choices*: small (4 slices) grilled chicken, steak or cheese quesadillas; grilled vegetable fajitas; 1 to 2 chicken, beef or fish crispy tacos or enchiladas 

Extremely High Calorie Choices*: Chicken, steak or shrimp fajita platter; fajita or taco salad with dressing; chicken, beef or vegetable enchilada platter; chicken or beef burritos; chicken or beef chimichangas; chicken or fish with creamy red chile sauce

*Calorie content provided by nationwide chains. Food items do not include rice and beans. Lower calorie choices have 500 calories or less per typical serving; higher calorie choices have between 501 calories and 800 calories per typical serving; and extremely high calorie choices have over 800 calories per typical serving.

More Ways to Lighten your Mexican Plate:

  • Tacos and taco salads - ask for cheese and dressing to be served on the side 
  • Fajitas - ask for less oil and no butter when frying meat, fish and veggies 
  • Enchiladas and burritos - order grilled chicken or fish
  • Beans - order black beans or charro (pinto) benas instead of refried beans
  • Rice - ask for a side of salad or grilled vegetables instead
  • Condiments - use pico de gallo or salsa as a topping instead of sour cream
  • Tortillas and tortilla chips - limit them and ask for corn tortillas instead of flour
  • Alcoholic beverages - margaritas typically have 250-500 calories; think before you drink! 
  • Platters - avoid combos and mega-platters; instead, order a la carte