While I have spent much of my life traveling around the world to discover more about different cuisines, being a native of Mexico means that I will always have a fondness for my country’s food in my heart.
A lot of people share this passion for Mexican cuisine, which is probably why so many places around the world sell it. However, I have noticed that Mexican food can sometimes be unfairly given the reputation that it is bad for you.
I’m not really sure where this came from, but I want to make it clear that it is perfectly possible to make healthy Mexican food that still tastes great. Want to know how? Here are a few tips to get you started.
Making Your Salsa
Salsa is a key component of Mexican dishes and it can be a little unhealthy if it is produced using a lot of oil and fat. You don’t need to go that route though. You can create a perfectly healthy salsa by dry-roasting your ingredients, rather than frying them. Not only do you still seal in the flavor, but you end up with a salsa that won’t lead to you piling on any pounds. Better yet, you’ll also be making the most out of your ingredients when it comes to nutrition.
Use Cheaper, Leaner Cuts
The many flavors that are typical of Mexican food can be brought out in even cheaper, leaner cuts of meat. That means you can avoid buying cuts with a lot of fat on them just to try and get a better flavor. Of course, you need a little skill and understanding of Mexican cooking to pull this off. Slow cooking is the best way to prepare cheaper cuts of meat, but you do need to be aware of the fat dissolving into the meat. Consider leaving the meat to cool after cooking for a while and you will be able to spoon off any excess fat that would otherwise have found its way into your meal.
Use Agave Syrup
A lot of people turn to processed sugars when they are trying to sweeten up their dishes. However, there is a plant native to Mexico that is able to achieve the desired effect without all of the health implications. Syrup from the Agave plant is a slow-burning sugar that can be used in place of regular sugar. It is Low GI, which means the sugar is slowly broken down by the body, rather than giving you the intense sugar rush that leads to the cravings that may cause you to eat too much. Try it in everything, because it works just as well with coffee as it does with your desserts.
Avoid Cheese and Sour Cream
While the taste of both cheese and sour cream is great, it doesn’t need to be the topper for all of your Mexican dishes. The qualities of avocados can really come into play here, as you can use them to create an amazing guacamole that still offers tons of flavor, without all of the unhealthy fats that are often associated with cheeses and sour cream.
Be Careful With Chips
We all know how great tortilla chips taste with a little salsa or guacamole, but it can be very easy to lose track of just how much you have eaten due to the fact that they are a very moreish food. If you aren’t careful, it doesn’t take long to consume about 500 to 1,000 calories in chips alone, only to then move onto your main meal. There isn’t really much to say about this other than you need to exercise a little portion control if you want to eat chips without being unhealthy about it.
Beans And Greens
While a lot of Mexican cuisine is focused around meats, the country also has tons of beans and greens that can offer healthy alternatives. Beans, in particular, are staples of the Mexican diet and you have a choice between a large variety that includes black eyed beans, flor de mayo, pinto beans and black beans, amongst others. Make sure that any healthy Mexican meals contain a few beans and greens, as this allows you to enjoy different flavors that are representative of Mexico and its wide range of cuisine, without having to overload the dish with meats and other fatty foods that might ruin your diet.
This final tip is one that could be used for any type of healthy eating and it is just as relevant to Mexican food as any other. If you overindulge you are going to put on weight. It really is that simple. If you have cooked a really good cut of meat, consider splitting it into multiple servings rather than eating it all at once. Not only does this mean you get to enjoy even more Mexican food, but you also don’t eat more than you should.