I strongly believe that Mexican cuisine is one of the best things on the planet. I am also convinced that I could gleefully consume guacamole, margaritas, huevos rancheros, and fish tacos every single day for the remainder of my life. Unfortunately, there’s just one little problem with my scheme: overindulging in Mexican food (especially westernized Mexican food) can lead to an expansive waistline, low energy levels and generally poor health.
That’s not to say it’s impossible to travel to Mexico, enjoy plenty of the local food on a daily basis, and still arrive home wearing the same jeans you departed in. Consider a few of the following tips on your next jaunt to Mexico (or your favorite nearby Mexican restaurant) for a guaranteed healthier experience:
If you’re eating something like tacos or nachos, go light on the meat and cheese but heavy on the fresh toppings. Think colorful produce like lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, and other vegetables, as well as fresh ceviche; you’ll satiate your hunger with two tacos instead of ten. If you’re worried about the cleanliness of the produce, look for restaurants that are packed with locals and families. The popularity of a restaurant is typically the best indication of its cleanliness.
Swap the Guac
Sure, avocados are one of the world’s healthiest foods. But that’s given a serving size of 1 oz.—or roughly 1/5 of an avocado. I adore guacamole. If a bowl of it lands on my table, I’m definitely eating way more than 1 oz of it. So to enjoy guacamole without overdoing it, I swap the guacamole dip for salsa. I still get my guacamole fix by adorning my tacos or salads with a dollop of the gooey green goodness.
Avoid fried chips and shells
If you’re given a choice, choose a flour or corn tortilla over a fried shell. You’ll save a lot of calories without compromising on any of the flavors. Soon you will be preferring the flour tortillas as part of your eating habit in no time!
Choose beverages wisely
My favorite restaurant in Mexico served margaritas the size of my head. Add to that the large number of local beers and tequilas on offer, and it was no wonder I found myself forgetting to drink any water all day long. I soon learned to swap the daily alcoholic beverages for a local drink called chia fresca—coconut water, chia seeds and lime. It’s delicious, hydrating and healthy.
Prepare your own breakfast
This tip is handy for your health and your wallet. Try to prepare a healthy breakfast at your hotel before heading out. Not only will you save calories, you’ll start the day with a healthier mindset, which can lead to better decision making for the rest of the day. Reward yourself with guilt-free brunch one morning during your travels.
Remember, it’s all about moderation
Like all good things in life, eating healthy in Mexico is all about moderation. You never know when you’ll be back to Mexico, so enjoy the cuisine while you can, and don’t feel guilty if you splurge on occasion. Just remember, too much of a good thing is never very good at all.
What other tips do you have for eating healthy in Mexico?