I love my job!! As a dietitian, typically, I dread going out to eat with acquaintances because there is always this stigma attached to eating and my job. However, if they know me, they understand that I eat by the approach that “all foods can fit in a healthy diet”.
For our corporate wellness Healthy Balance program we talk about topics such as recipe modification and eating out a lot! As usual, for the final class, participants bring in a modified recipe to share. Sometimes we even elect to have a potluck so we can sample the recipes. Yummy right?
Well, my most recent group for Healthy Balance suggested that they would prefer to have our final class be a “field trip” to a local restaurant. We decided that Mexican is one of the most challenging venues for eating healthy. Surprisingly, I was very excited at this idea and up for the challenge!
In preparing for our “field trip”, I had a lot of research to do! Most Mexican restaurants don’t share their nutrition information and most are also independently owned—not part of bi
g chains with standardized recipes. So to start, I went to www.calorieking.com to look up typical Mexican foods. For our class I printed off a copy of the different foods with their calorie breakdown. I learned, for example, that a corn tortilla has about ½ the calories of a typical flour tortilla! Here are some other tidbits I found helpful:
- One basket of chips and salsa (as served at On the Border’s) has approximately 430 calories with 22 grams of fat
- 1 oz of tortilla chips has approximately 140 calories with 7 grams of fat
- 1 serving (2 Tablespoons) of Salsa (ready-to-serve) has 9 calories and 198 mg sodium (in case you were wondering). Most restaurants make their salsa on premises so the sodium most likely would be less if using fresh ingredients.
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 oz) has 228 calories and 18.7 g fat
- 1 oz guacamole (fresh) has 37 calories 4.3 g (only .3 g saturated fat) of fat vs. 1 oz sour cream at 61 calories and 6 g fat (3.7 g saturated)
- Refried Beans 3 oz at 71 calories (made without added fat) vs. Mexican rice 3oz at 130 calories 3.5 g fat
- Corn tortilla (.7 oz) 41 calories .6 g fat vs. Flour tortilla (1.1oz flour tortillas are typically bigger than corn which contributes to the difference) 94 calories 2.3 g fat
- Taco Salads (average of all brands) 860 calories with 46 g fat
- If there is a kids menu: Cheese Enchilada dinner with Rice and Beans 515 calories and 29 g fat (almost 1/2 of your fat intake for the day)
- Enchiladas? Chicken is the best option at 210 calories each and 13 g fat (Beef 263 cal and 18 g fat, Cheese 232 calories and 16 g fat)
- Classic Chicken Fajitas (without rice, beans or cold set) 851 calories and 29 g fat
Stay tuned for my next post on our Mexican Adventure in a few days…