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How to eat a healthy, low points meal at a Mexican restaurant?

I had a group member ask this question. This was my answer, any other input would be appreciated.

with mexican I try and avoid meat and sour cream. If you stick with rice, beans, salsa, a touch of guacamole you'll get a nice taste without the saturated fats. Maybe it is unrealistic to worry about points at a mexican place- if you focus on eliminating saturated fat that is something that is very doable.


Thu. Apr 26, 9:07am

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I constantly have this issue myself. I LOVE Mexican food but even if you cut out the cheese and sour cream I've learned that they often cook the meat and beans in oils and butters to make them taste better. My solution is to use eating out at Mexican places as my treat and I don't worry too much about what I order (I know this isn't helpful at all) but I've also taken to cooking my own Mexican food because I can monitor what goes in it and I can buy FF or reduced fat cheese and sour cream.

Also, when you go out - watch out for the sauces...they are typically LOADED with fat. My guess would be that veggie or chicken fajitas could be one of your best bets because you control what goes into the fajitas you make/eat.

Thursday, April 26, 2007, 12:17 PM

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Yeah, I would not have the rice or the guac, both are extremely high calorie. And the beans might be too, b/c you don't know what goes in them.

A healthy meal at a Mexican restaurant would be chicken or veggie or shrimp (or even beef) fajitas, and ask them to not use oil when cooking (or to use very little), and then the sides of lettuce, tomatoes/salsa, and a little bit of guac or cheese or sour cream (in very small amounts), will be a good meal. And, eat with a fork, rather than in the tortillas, or, have one tortilla and eat the rest with a fork.

Mmm, this makes me want Mexican!

Thursday, April 26, 2007, 12:24 PM

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My local makes a great black bean soup - no sour cream. Delicious and filling.

Thursday, April 26, 2007, 12:26 PM

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I usually go with the fajitas too. 2 torillas and lots of veggies and salsa - no rice (high cal and they always give you like 4 servings), no refried beans (generally made with lard), little guac and a smearing of sour cream. I usually get 3-4 meals out of one restaurant-sized serving.

Best wishes! This is a toughie, but my co-workers love to meet at the mexican place down the block and way too much unofficial business happens there for me to miss it, so I had to find a way to cope and this works pretty well for me.

Thursday, April 26, 2007, 12:44 PM

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tortillas have a high calorie content too!

check out chipotlelover.com .. it lets you design your dish at Chipotle and tells you the calorie content .. I found it to be eye opening about Mexican calories in general.

Thursday, April 26, 2007, 12:47 PM

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The huge difference in calorie count at Chipotle between a burrito and a "bowl" with the same fillings is due to the tortilla, but not all tortillas are as high cal as the ones there, because, when you see them, they are huge - at least the size of like 4 or 5 tortillas that most Mexican restaurants will give you with your fajitas. So, one small one might add 100 cals to a meal (like a slice of bread), whereas the Chipotle ones add like 400-500 cals to the meal!

Thursday, April 26, 2007, 2:19 PM

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and when they use a tortilla for a bowl, it's fried, whereas when you fill a tortilla with your own choices, the tortilla is not fried. big calorie/nutritional difference.

Thursday, April 26, 2007, 2:33 PM

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12:44 again - I know tortillas are high calorie. However as my own personal preference, I'd rather have 2 of those than any rice or refried beans. I usually get corn ones and they're the smaller, taco-sized ones so I figure ~100 cal ea, thus if I have a couple finger sized pieces of chicken or steak, onions, peppers, lettuce, tomatoe and lots of salsa - I can keep it pretty satisfying and under 350 cal total for a meal. Also, you gotta stay away from those baskets of chips - that was the hardest for me to get used to.

Thursday, April 26, 2007, 3:20 PM

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I just eat only the chips and salsa...I know the chips are horrible, but I love them way too much to give them up, I would feel deprived, so I just don't get anything else and drink lots of water to fill me up faster.

Thursday, April 26, 2007, 9:41 PM

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at traditional resteraunts the tamales are yum. And it's just corn and pork. So add some tomatoes and lettuce and it's pretty good.

Friday, April 27, 2007, 12:56 PM

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You do realize that the masa (the outside of the tamale) may be corn but that its mixed with pork broth and LARD?!?!?! Tamales are very high in fat and cholesterol, not to mention that you usually get 2 plus refried beans(Lard) rice(fried in lard before steaming)and flour tortillas(mega calories) not the low cal low fat meal you thought it was. 1 tamal = 236 Calories

Thursday, December 20, 2007, 3:48 PM

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Hate to burst everyones bubble but most mexican places use lard not oils and yes that is why mexican is so good. Who doesn't love food cooked in lard??? Face it mexican is not the place to count calories, if your going to do that then choose a different type of food. I love mexican and eat it only as a treat, maybe once a month or every other month, and then I get what I want.

Friday, December 21, 2007, 2:25 AM

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I usually get a shrimp quesadilla with veggies and no sour cream. I scrape out about a third of the cheese and then top it with salsa. Still a pretty unhealthy meal but I guestimate that it rounds out to arond 500 calories. If I have a small bowl of cereal and fruit for breakfast, and a big healthy salad for lunch, and work out an extra 10 minutes then next day, I can totally eat Mexican as much as once a week and still lose! I've done it! But maybe I have a lucky metabolism?

Friday, December 21, 2007, 3:24 AM

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2:25, you read my mind. I was reading this thread and thinking how silly everyone sounded. If any of you ever went to Mexican Village (the restaurants in that part of town are seriously amazing), in SW Detroit, trying to order "Beans, no lard please, and no rice, too many calories. Oh and can I have light cheese? And actually could you cook my fajita vegetables in light oil?" you'd get laughed at, or they would just nod and bring out the most delicious, lard-infested, oily, cheesy, mess of a meal you've ever had. And that's how it should be.

Let yourselves indulge sometimes. Eating something bad for your body every once in awhile can be very good for your mind. You'll make yourselves crazy with diet this, low fat that, and all this "points" nonsense.

Friday, December 21, 2007, 8:24 AM

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i love chicken tortilla soup! my local has a lunch special, a cup of soup and a small mexican salad (on a plate, not tortilla bowl) topped with grilled shrimp for 9.50.

YUM! corn tortillas have less calories than flour. can't really avoid the way the cook the meat though... just enjoy!

oh, and skip the margaritas!! holy calories batman. go with a cervesa (beer) instead :) or play it like a true mexican and go for the shot of tequila. only about 90 calories.

Friday, December 21, 2007, 8:45 AM

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8:24: I completely agree with you. I think people should just allow themselves to eat whatever they want when they go out to eat (that's if they only eat out just a few times a week).

Friday, December 21, 2007, 10:36 AM

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Eat some tortilla soup minus the tortilla chips then you wont over indulge.

Friday, December 21, 2007, 12:10 PM

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I usually get the taco salad and just eat the insides (minus the sour cream), or a fajita platter and just eat the fillings. I know that Atkins has fallen out of favor, but I still would rather have a little fat than empty carbs.

Friday, December 21, 2007, 6:08 PM

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I get tortilla or shrimp soup, only eat a few chips, or fajitas without the tortillas. Maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of the rice or beans.

Friday, December 21, 2007, 9:36 PM

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Eat everything! Yes, everything! By exercising portion control, your group member would be able to eat a teaspoon of everything. So they could order a large plate of the meal. And when the large plate comes, they would ask for a very small plate and use their spoon as their server and there they would have it! Another suggestion would be to totally avoid the chips. 1 oz of chips is about 10 chips, so, why bother?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008, 12:51 AM

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@10:36
"...eat whatever they want when they go out to eat (that's if they only eat out just a few times a week)."

A few times a week? Seriously?? There are only 7 days in a week. If I eat out once, I can probably get by using my extra points. I'd be interested to see anyone eating "whatever they want" a couple times a week and truly manage their weight.

I agree that, if eating out is done infrequently, we should be able to not stress over every little point. For me, eating Mexican food out with friends tonight, I plan to order whatever I feel like eating, eat slowly, CHEW (I tend to forget this LOL), and recognize when I'm full. A huge problem for me has also been filling up on chips and cheese dip, then still forcing down my meal.

Thursday, November 04, 2010, 3:15 PM

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Friday, February 18, 2011, 5:49 PM

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