Saturday, February 24, 2018 5:48

Mexican Healthy Cuisine

Posted by on Wednesday, January 6, 2010, 14:46
This news item was posted in Healthful Eating category and has 3 Comments so far.

The first choice confronting anyone planning a Tex Mex type meal is flour versus corn tortillas. They are different in more ways than just color. The flour-type has the four-letter “L” word in it LARD .

Flour tortillas have up to 150 calories each, compared with corn tortillas with about 50 calories. The flour types have 34 percent of calories from fat, compared with 10 percent for corn tortillas.

Flour tortillas have about 140 milligrams of sodium, while corn tortillas have just one milligram of sodium each. Deep fry either one, though, and it doesn’t matter which you’ve chosen. They’ll both come up loaded with grease and calories.

So it’s best to leave those entrees with fried tortillas where they belong on the menu! The second major consideration, especially when dining out, is whether to reach into that basket of tortilla chips or to hold on until dinner. One innocent handful of chips adds about 140 calories, half of which are from fat. And dip them into the salsa or chili sauces? One fourth cup contains around 900 milligrams of sodium!

If you have a thing for that chili-flavored sausage, chorizo, try and forget about it. A small 2 ounce serving has about 430 calories, 83 percent from fat, and 85 milligrams of cholesterol. And, speaking of fat and cholesterol, a typical recipe of Huevos Rancheros has 530 milligrams of cholesterol 480 calories, 50 percent from fat, and about 2,000 milligrams of sodium.

You’realready way past your daily cholesterol target of 300 milligrams a day and darn near your sodium limit of 3,000 milligrams. And you haven’t even left the breakfast table!

So what can you order or cook up? Believe it or not, that side of rice and beans, even the refried type, is a good place to start. Even though the secret “refried” ingredient is usually lard (they have cans of “vegetarian refried beans” that add vegetable oil instead), a typical 3/4 cup side serving with a sprinkle of melted Jack cheese on top is still between 25 and 35 percent of calories from fat around 300 calories, with 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 100 milligrams of sodium, and an impressive 15 grams of fiber!! Not bad!

The distinctively Mexican tomato-colored rice has about 240 calories per 3/4 cup serving, with 22 percent of calories from fat. Depending on the recipe, the rice can have up to 600 milligrams of sodium.

For possible entrees, I’ll give it to you straight:

•    Try to order them without the sour cream and guacamole. Per 1/4 cup dollop, sour cream has 125 calories, 86 percent from fat, and 32 milligrams of cholesterol. Guacamole has almost 100 calories per 1/4 cup, with 79 percent from fat (but no cholesterol).

•    If you absolutely have to have the taco or tostada, order chicken instead of beef and ask if you can have it with a baked or steamed tortilla instead of fried. (Don’t tell yourself “it’s the best part,” because it isn’t. And even if you think it is, it’s not worth all the extra fat and calories.)

•    Chicken tends to be the lowest fat enchilada (about 35 percent of calories from fat and around 240 calories each, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, and 200 milligrams of sodium).

•    If you’re a burrito person: Bean burritos are always a safe bet (about 30 percent fat calories from a total of 340 calories, 7.5 grams of fiber, 7 milligrams of cholesterol, and 270 milligrams of sodium). The beef and bean combos (about 36 percent calories from fat) are usually better choices than the all beef types. Those fresh, regular sized vegetarian burritos (where they, or you, fill a steamed tortilla with whole beans, rice, mild salsa, and some cheese) are an excellent choice. I indulge in these at least once a week. One, which is usually more than plenty for me, has about 500 calories, 20 percent from fat, 11 grams of fiber, and 26 milligrams of cholesterol. Sodium values can get up around 1,300 milligrams, depending on the chili sauce and how much you or they add. The one with chicken but no cheese is still a great choice. It has about the same calories, percent of fat calories, and fiber as the vegetarian but twice the cholesterol.

•    What’s the secret to these soft, yummy cornmeal tamale exteriors? They’re held together with lots of LARD! (There’s that word again!) So don’t be shocked that half the calories are from fat. The chicken ones are pretty low in calories (around 300 for two small tamales), so technically you could probably have a low fat meal if you ate some rice and enough fruit or something to bring down the
percentage of calories from fat. The same goes for chicken tacos. Two have about 300 calories, 40 percent from fat.

•    And here’s my last word on eating Mexican. Think twice or even three times before opting for a cheesy chili relleno. One dinky relleno has 500 calories, 62 percent of calories from fat, 185 milligrams of cholesterol, and up to 1,550 milligrams of sodium.

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