The Cooper Institute

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


Mexican Food Minus the Calories

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Eat better

Thursday, Apr 24, 2014

Here in Dallas, we are looking forward to another beautiful weekend… Sounds like the perfect weekend for some Mexican cuisine and a lime beverage on-the-rocks while sitting outdoors watching the Dallas Stars and Mavericks play-off games. But let’s have a quick reality check before our trip to Margaritaville. This previous post I have in mind reveals the min, the max, and the Ay Dios Mio! (OMG!) of calories found in various Mexican foods and provides some calorie-cutting strategies to help make your patio days palatable.

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) beans 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
Share your low-calorie Mexican food faves with us on Facebook!