In today’s post, I will answer the question: how do I order healthy options at a Mexican restaurant? We will review some easy tips, and some delicious food and drink options. Y’all may already know: I am a Latina, born and raised in Los Angeles, who does her best to enjoy delicious, authentic Mexican food while watching her figure. After some trial and error, I’ve come up with tips on how to order healthier, yet still tasty, options at a Mexican restaurant. Read on for more info on how to ensure you can enjoy Mexican food in the healthiest way possible! So let’s get started and learn how to order healthy at a Mexican restaurant.
How to Order Healthy at a Mexican Restaurant: Easy Tips
Tip 1: Serving Sizes
Did you know that the serving size for corn tortillas is 3 tortillas? 3 corn tortillas have about 20 or so grams of carbs. Keep that in mind next time you are enjoying Mexican food so that you can stay within the guidelines of servings sizes.
Tip 2: Single Tortilla Instead of Double
While we are on the subject of tortillas, most soft tacos come with double tortillas. An easy way to enjoy your Mexican food and still keep it light is to opt for one tortilla instead of two! The tortilla is just a vehicle for the meat and salsa, anyway. Let’s be honest. Use fewer tortillas so you can enjoy more of the good stuff!
Tip 3: Appetizers
Instead of mindlessly ending the bottomless chips and salsa, you can be intentional with your meal and enjoy a broth or salad to start off your meal. I learned this tip from Tanya Zukabrat. By starting with a salad or soup, you can fill up on something more nutritious. This ensures you do not overindulge on snacking just for the sake of snacking.
What to Order
So now that we reviewed some tips, how about we review some tips on what to actually order? Good news– the beautiful thing about Mexican cuisine is that there are so many options! Let’s review some options together.
An excellent option that comes to mind is grilled shrimp. You can even order a spicy version or a garlicky version. Paired with a salad and a reasonable portion of Mexican rice, you have a complete meal (protein, vegetables, and carbs) that is authentically Mexican!
Mariscos, also known as Mexican seafood, can serve as a light option. For instance, I go out for mariscos, I get a small caldo de pescado (fish soup in a rich broth) as an appetizer. Then, I enjoy a ceviche tostada. Since I have started with soup, I am less likely to overindulge on the chips that accompany my tostada! The ceviche itself usually consists of mild white fish, cured in lime juice, and some salt. This is then diced and mixed together with tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and some chili. It’s so light and refreshing that it simply tastes amazing on a hot day for lunch! Enjoy this meal and it might not even feel like you are trying to eat healthier!
Check out my recipe for salmon al mojo de ajo here.
Not a fan of seafood? Try fajitas! Fajitas are basically grilled beef or chicken, stir-fried with bell peppers and onions. What is not to love? With a reasonable portion of tortillas and perhaps a side of fresh guac, you can enjoy a healthful and flavorful meal.
Learn more about fajitas here.
Speaking of guac, guacamole is another great food to order at Mexican restaurants. Avocados are a superfood, rich in omegas. I personally adore tableside guacamole and order it every chance I get. Personally, I order it chunky, with tomatoes, onions, minced cilantro, and some jalapeños for a kick. Then, I make sure to ask for extra lime and then I go to town! You can enjoy it as an accompaniment to any meal, rather than eating a bottomless bowl of chips with it.
Finally, don’t forget about caldo as an option for a meal. Caldos, or soups, are an amazing option to order at Mexican restaurants, both due to flavor and the nutrients they can pack. For instance, a bowl of chicken tortilla soup will usually have beans, which are full of nutrients, and chicken which has protein. You can also opt for a caldo de res (beef stew), which usually comes with a delicious bone broth, cabbage, carrots, and corn. It’s like a grandmother’s hug in a bowl. There’s also caldo de pollo (chicken soup), which is lighter in flavor but just as comforting!
Why go for a sugary margarita when you can enjoy a skinnier option? Instead of sugary margarita mix, ask for your margarita to be prepared with agave, salt, and lemon juice only. This ensures you can enjoy your cocktail without overdoing it on unnecessary sugars
When ordering an agua fresca at a Mexican restaurant, ask for extra ice. Or, dilute it a bit yourself with some water to cut back on some of the sugar content.
Learn how to make an easy agua de jamiaca here. And check out my citrus agua fresca recipe here. These are some low sugar options you can make at home!
I love Mexican beer and a michelada as much as the next girl. When I enjoy one, I savor every sip. Sometimes, to cut back on my sodium intake, however, I chose an alternative option. I go with a light beer that is low in carbs and ask for chamoy and tajin on the rim. I still get a tangy pucker, but with a lot less sodium than if I had gone with a complete, traditional michelada!
Now, if you really are craving a michelada, you can learn to make one at home here.
How to Order Healthy at a Mexican Restaurant
What did you think of these tips on how to order healthy at a Mexican restaurant? Which were your favorite? Were there any I missed? Here, at Herencia Cookbook, we would love to hear your thoughts! So let us know in the comments. Finally, are you interested in learning to make healthy Mexican food for yourself at home? Then, check out our blog and our book for authentic Salvi Mex recipes with a modern (and sometimes healthy) twist. Until next time, Buen Provecho! Herencia Cookbook is currently available for sale on Amazon.