Hola homies! It’s your girl, Bernadette, author of Herencia Cookbook, full of authentic Salvi-Mex recipes with a modern (and sometimes healthy) twist. In today’s post, I will answer the question: is traditional Mexican food healthy? As most of you may already know, I am a Los Angeles Latina who watches her figure and still loves to regularly enjoy some delicious, authentic Mexican food. Read on for more info on whether Mexican food really is healthy or not, and how to ensure you can enjoy Mexican food in the healthiest way possible!
Traditional Mexican food can sometimes get a bad reputation. For instance, some people assume Mexican food is cooked in lard or heavy oils. I am here to say that is not always the case! In fact, Mexican food can be quite nutritious. Let’s review some popular Mexican dishes together. By the end of this article, you will no longer be wondering is traditional Mexican food healthy.
Is Traditional Mexican Food Healthy: What Are My Options?
Chopped fruit and vegetables with lemon juice and tajin is a delicious Mexican dish and should be enjoyed! It’s a great way to ensure you get your “5 a day.” When enjoying this snack, I try my best to be sure to include cucumber and jicama in my bowl. That’s already two vegetables that I’m putting into my body. Then I add one fruit to my bowl. Usually, it’s mango. (Is your mouth watering yet?) Then, simply mix the chopped produce together. Add a squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of Tajin and you have an amazing Mexican fruit (and veggie) salad, aka some classic fruta picada.
Aguas frescas are a refreshing and very authentic type of Mexican beverage. However, they may get a bad reputation for being too sugary. To ensure you can enjoy them without going overboard on sugar, make them yourself at home! That way, you can control exactly how much sugar goes into your beverage. After all, why mask the lovely tart flavor of Hibiscus with too much sugar anyway? Or for a tamarind beverage, wouldn’t you want to enjoy tangy flavor instead of covering it up with sugar? (My mouth is puckering as I write this.)
Whatever recipe you decide to go with, I encourage you to be mindful of the sugar you add to your agua frescas at home. If you want to get extra fancy, throw some chia seeds into a homemade agua fresca for extra nutrients. Chia seeds were a superfood of an Aztec empire, so if you ask me that is a great way to ensure your agua fresca is authentically Mexican. All in all, I still say a homemade agua fresca is more healthful than a canned soda. When you make an agua fresca at home, you know exactly what you are putting into it! Can’t make an agua fresca at home? Next time you buy one from a local business, simply dilute it with a little bit of water before enjoying it!
Avocado is a superfood. It has healthy fats, omegas, and vitamins. Chunky guacamole with juicy tomatoes, fragrant onion, cilantro, and a slight kick of a serrano or jalapeno pepper can be a nutritious accompaniment to any meal. As a matter of fact, I once took a nutrition class during my pregnancy and the instructor informed me of the following: those fragrant foods that we love, like onion, garlic, and cilantro work amazingly to boost our immune system! So BRB – going to boost my immune system and get in my omegas with some guacamole.
Black beans contain iron, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper, and zinc, which make them a great base to any burrito bowl. Add some lettuce, some lean carne asada, and guac for it to all come together as a nutrient-dense meal. Dice some onions, tomatoes, and cilantro to garnish your meal and you will elevate your burrito bowl to a superfood bowl!
Caldo, also known as soup or stew, is another great example of traditional Mexican food that can be considered nutritious and healthful. For instance, caldo de res is a rich beef stew with a bone broth base that includes cabbage, carrots, green beans, corn, and potatoes. It is full of flavor and offers so many benefits. I loved it when my mom made this for me when I was feeling under the weather.
And, who could forget Chicken Tortilla Soup? Chicken Tortilla Soup includes a spicy broth for a kick. It also contains black beans, which are so full of nutrients as mentioned above. Now with some melted cheese for calcium and diced avocado for omegas, you can enjoy a soup that is light, nutritious, and satisfying.
But wait…there’s more! Have you ever tasted caldo de pescado? This is a fish soup in a light and spicy red broth. The fish is usually a mild white fish that can absorb the flavors of the broth. This soup is also made with carrots and celery. It’s a delicious way to eat fish and vegetables! For extra flavor, garnish with freshly chopped onion, cilantro, and habanero peppers. Be sure to add extra lemon to balance out the heat! My mouth is watering just thinking about it!
After reading about some of these options, what do you think? Is traditional Mexican food healthy after all? Here at Herencia Cookbook, we certainly think so! So, next time you want to enjoy some authentic Mexican flavors and make healthy choices at the same time, opt for some of the options mentioned in this article. Was there a healthy option we missed that you absolutely love? Let us know in the comments! Finally, are you interested in learning to make some of these recipes at home yourself? 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!
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