Let’s be honest, us foodies can sometimes turn our noses up at chain restaurants. Of course we want to find the best food and eat local, but we sometimes ignore a great restaurant just because it’s a chain. I am a proud foodie and I am here to admit, not all chains are bad, I said it. I recently had the pleasure of trying Tijuana Flats, which has six locations across the Triangle, and several more in Florida, and I was definitely impressed. Brian Wheeler started Tijuana Flats in Florida in 1995 with a loan from his parents and no restaurant experience. After running the restaurant by himself and gaining success, he expanded to other areas. While he loved running his restaurant, doing just that was not enough. So next, he decided to start his very own hot sauce brand, “Smack My Ass & Call Me Sally”, which is now sold and offered at all Tijuana Flats locations. I went to the Cary location, where there is a huge hot sauce bar with about 15 different varieties to choose from. Of course I got about 10 of them to try with my meal, but we’ll get to that later. In addition to his hot sauce brand, Brian Wheeler also wanted to do something to give back to the community. This is why he started the Just In Queso fund, to help neighbors in the communities where his restaurants were located. To this day, Just In Queso has raised $20,000 for Homes for Heroes, and $1 million towards breast cancer research. They have also given to organizations like Habitat for Humanity and those supporting children with cancer. They also have a Charity Hot Sauce where $3 of the $5 purchase will go towards charity.
In addition to doing great things in their community, Tijuana Flats also has some delicious food. Like I said, I was able to try the Cary location, off of Cary Parkway near Trader Joes. We were invited in to try some of their limited time Turkey Chorizo dishes, but were able to try a lot of other things as well. We started with a Chips & Dip ($4.29), which were nice, salty tortilla chips served with salsa, guacamole, and queso. I had to pace myself since I knew there was a lot more food coming, but all three dips were delicious. I’m pretty picky about queso, but this one was nice and creamy, and not too thick or goopy. The guac and queso were nice and refreshing, it was definitely a tasty way to start our meal.
Chips and Dip
Next we moved on to the Norrito Rice Bowl with Blackened Chicken ($6.79). This was basically a giant naked burrito bowl. It was filled with rice, blackened chicken, black beans, avocado, pico de gallo, sour cream, scallions, and jalapenos. The dish was so tasty and for the price, it can’t be beat. This could easily feed two people, or be taken home and eaten for lunch the next day. It was incredibly filling, but at the same time didn’t make me feel terrible about myself. Next we moved on to Tostados ($7.99). These were tortilla chips topped with the limited time only turkey chorizo, refried beans, cheese, pico de gallo, scallions, and sour cream. This dish was one of my favorites because I just love the crunch of the tortilla chips. It was almost like eating nachos, just in a less messy way. These were also made extra tasty by topping them with some of the hot sauce options that we grabbed from the hot sauce bar.
Next we moved on to the Hangover Burrito, which is a limited time menu item. This was created to showcase the turkey chorizo being featured this season. The Hangover Burrito is stuffed with turkey chorizo, a fried egg, potatoes, cheese, and jalapeños. It was honestly the perfect breakfast burrito. The turkey chorizo was not too greasy, and the potatoes added an unexpected texture and incredible taste. Our final savory course was Beef Flautas ($6.99). The flautas were essentially ground beef wrapped in a flour tortilla, fried, and served with a side of queso. This was another one of my favorite dishes. Even though it was incredibly simple (just beef and tortilla) it packed a serious punch of flavor. The beef was nice and juicy without being overly greasy. Our final, and possibly most delicious, course was Cookie Dough Flautas ($2.99). Yes, you read that right. This is chocolate chip cookie dough wrapped in a flour tortilla, fried, and served with a side of chocolate sauce. The result is an out-of-this-world amazing dessert. The cookie dough was warm and gooey and melted, and I wish I could’ve eaten about 10 more of them.
Overall I was really impressed with Tijuana Flats. Every single dish we tried was something I would get again. Living in the Triangle with so many amazing food options, it can be easy to overlook and underestimate chain restaurants, but this is definitely one that is worth a visit.
Cookie Dough Flautas
Note: From time to time we’re invited out to try a restaurant or to try certain products. This meal or items are usually comped, as these was. We’re under no obligation to write a positive review or any review at all when we’re invited out to try a place. Every review you see on our site will be an honest review of the place whether or not the restaurant provided us with the meal at their cost.
Melissa Guido is currently a dietetic intern in the Triangle area. She studied nutrition at NC State and Meredith College. Her favorite part about nutrition is showing people that healthy food can be exciting and delicious. Melissa loves traveling and learning about how food fits into different cultures. In her free time she loves trying new restaurants, cooking, and obsessing over her dogs. Follow her on Instagram @made2order and at www.madeorder.wordpress.com.
*Secret Menu Item* The Mexican Pizza – A fried flour tortilla is topped with your choice of protein, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, tomato sauce, jalapeño and a drizzle of sour cream. This was my favorite!
We were invited to Tijuana Flats near Millenia Mall to try items from their “Secret Menu” as well as some classic items.
Tijuana Flats was was founded in Winter Park, FL in 1995 by University of Central Florida graduate Brian Wheeler with $20,000 in loans. Tijuana Flats now has 136 locations in 6 states.
The Tijuana Flats Manifesto is their Declaration of Independence, their Dead Sea Scrolls. It’s everything they believe in expressed in a single stream of madcap consciousness. You’ll find it displayed in every Tijuana Flats location.
Tijuana Flats’ regional manger, Joey. He has been with the company for 19 years. He is super nice. To the right is our wonderful host, Sarah.
The store manager for their Millenia location, Mike. He is a super cool guy!
The talented kitchen staff! They did a great job with everyone’s food!
Chips & Dip – A basket of warm chips, with a side of handmade salsa, queso or guacamole.
*Secret Menu Item* The Double Stack tacos is available in chicken or steak. Queso is spread across a soft flour tortilla then wrapped around a hard-shell taco – filled with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, jalapeño and sour cream.
*Secret Menu Item* The Bangin Chicken Tostadas – crispy fried chicken cubes tossed in a buffalo sauce with refried beans, tomatoes, cheese, and a drizzle of ranch. Served with a side of salsa.
Cookie Dough Flauntas – Chocolate chip cookie dough loaded into a flour tortilla, lightly fried & topped with powdered sugar. Served with a side of chocolate syrup.
I won a free bottle of sweet chili hot sauce during trivia!
Founder Brian Wheeler created his own line of hot sauces. The “Smack My Ass & Call Me Sally” brand includes some of the hottest sauces in the world.
Be sure to check out the Tijuana Flats location near the Mall at Millenia! They did a wonderful job hosting us and providing great Tex-Mex food!
(Source credit: Tijuana Flats)
94693 Gardens Park Blvd., Orlando, FL 32839
- Always good food at Tijuana Flats – Tijuana Flats
- Can Tacos Be Good For You?
- Eat This, Not That! for Mexican Lovers
- AT THE LOCAL MEXICAN CANTINA
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- On the Border Monterey Ranch Chicken Fajitas
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- Tijuana Flats names 3 new executives – nrn.com
Always good food at Tijuana Flats – Tijuana Flats
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Can Tacos Be Good For You?
If we had it our way, here at Best Food Facts, we’d live every day like it’s Taco Tuesday. But when it comes to consuming them, can there be too much of a good thing? Are tacos considered junk food or health food? To find out more, we reached out to Michelle Jaelin, a Registered Dietitian based in Toronto.
What should tacos be considered — Junk food or health food?
Jaelin: “Tacos could be considered as either a junk food or health food, depending on the ingredients used in the taco dish or how it was prepared. For example, if the taco was prepared in a fast food restaurant where it was fried in lots of oil and prepared with a high amount of salt, seasonings, cheese and sauce with no vegetable toppings – it would be considered junk food.”
While the origins of the taco are relatively unknown, it has been theorized that tacos were first developed by miners in Mexico. As tacos gained popularity, different regions throughout Mexico began creating their own versions that were unique to the region. The first documented taco in the United States was in a newspaper article in 1905. Over time, the original taco recipe (thin slices of meat, salsa, onions, guacamole and lime in a corn tortilla) was altered and has been altered to many different versions to fit individual tastes.
What are the healthy components? Not so healthy parts?
Jaelin: “If prepared with lean protein (beef, chicken, fish) or vegan protein (tofu, beans), those would be healthier components than high-fat beef. Whole grain taco shells are healthier than the ones made with white flour. Vegetables on top, such as lettuce and tomatoes are healthy. In terms of toppings, salsa is your healthiest bet, while sour cream and cheese would be considered not so healthy. Guacamole can be healthy, however, most guacamole prepared in restaurants usually is made with full-fat sour cream to give it that rich flavour.”
What are some ways to make tacos healthier?
Jaelin: “Make your own! Create your own taco party and have guests assemble their own. Be sure to include lots of lean protein options, vegetables and healthier toppings such as homemade guacamole, and salsa. Have the heavier toppings (sour cream, cheese) as well, but try to encourage eating a variety and trying new and different topping combinations.”
If you’re looking for additional healthy taco ideas, Health has put together a list.
So, we have seen celebrities talk about the taco cleanse – is it actually considered to be healthy?
Jaelin: “Raved about by Jennifer Aniston, the taco cleanse is real, you can check out this journalist’s experience with it here. To me, the taco cleanse is like any other diet: eat “good foods” (ie. tacos, vegan foods, everything consumed has to be in a taco shell). ‘Bad foods’ are animal-based products and anything that cannot be consumed in a taco. The good thing about this diet is it does encourage mindful eating – eating with attention and intention. However, it still limits some types of food which promotes diet culture. My other theory is because everything is to be consumed in a taco, you will eat less, which would result in weight loss.
“Whether healthy or not, by the end of it you would be so sick of tacos, that you wouldn’t stick to it. That isn’t very healthy to me!”
Do you have any favorite taco recipes?
Jaelin: “I personally love fish tacos. If it has fish in it, I will eat it! I don’t have a particular favourite one, but I would love to try this one.”
The simplicity of tacos makes them a staple that almost anyone can make. Not only are they budget-friendly, but they also allow for personalization and can serve a crowd. Choosing ingredients such as lean protein and vegetables can make tacos a healthy part of any eating plan.
About The Experts
- health food
Granola bars aren’t as healthy as you think. In fact, pork tacos—tacos al pastor—are in many aspects healthier than granola bars.
A study from the Universidad de las Américas Puebla in Mexico revealed that pork tacos have fewer calories than granola bars—and on other measures are even healthier. The Department of Chemical, Food and Environmental Engineering at the UDLAP reported the results Monday, as reported by El Heraldo de México. The study compared the health contents of tacos and las flautas de cochinita pibíl—a popular plate made with slow-roasted pork wrapped in small tortillas.
A chef shows a taco at El Tizoncito restaurant in Mexico City, Mexico, on May 26. Reuters
The tacos contained 20.77 percent carbohydrates and the flautas contained 40.7 percent carbohydrates. Tacos and the flautas contained around the same amount of fat—around 11.5 and 11.92 percent respectively. Protein, which is where the tacos win again, have 23.51 percent, while the flautas have less than 4.07 percent.
Granola bars, often associated with healthy eating, contained between 20 and 30 percent of fat depending on the brand.
The latest study comes four years after a 2013 study revealed that, in terms of fat content in particular, the two dishes are healthier than donuts, cuernitos, french fries and fiber bars, reported Excelsior. Plus, the dishes were ordered with all the typical additional toppings. Tacos included onions, cilantro, pineapple, lemon and salsa taquera, while an order of the flautas included sour cream, cheese, red onions and salsa bandera.
Granola bars often have added sugar, and the tasty ones often have an added layer of chocolate. One doctor told INSIDER that “nearly all granola brands add sugar and oil during the cooking process.”
“Some are loaded with seeds, nuts and dried fruit, which up the fat content,” said Dr. Christopher Calapi, an osteopathic physician based in Long Island.
Reuters Tourists chat as a woman prepares tlacoyos (oval-shaped toasted corn masa) at a street stand during an Eat Mexico tour in Mexico City October 18, 2013.
All those added ingredients stack up, and eventually make the bars less healthy than even pork tacos. At the end of October, the New York Post reported that a Chicago man claimed to have lost 50 pounds by changing his diet to 80 percent tacos—or 12 homemade tacos per day. Another woman wrote in Delish that she went on a similar taco cleanse and said she felt healthier than ever—noting that only half her meals included meat since the typical taco cleanse trend is supposed to be vegan.
This new study shows that even tacos with meat can be healthy. Protein is one of the necessary nutrients, after all. For the loyal celebrators of Taco Tuesday, rejoice.
There’s no denying it. Americans love both hamburgers and tacos. Like, alot. So much so that one could almost rephrase the old saying “American as apple pie,” to “American as hamburgers and tacos” without ever missing a beat.
In fact, HuffingtonPost.com reported in July 2013 (from information gathered from PBS.org in 2012) that Americans eat almost 50 billion (yes, BILLION) hamburgers a year. That shakes out to about three hamburgers for every person in the U.S. every. single. week.
Meanwhile, according to the website NationalTacoDay.com (which happens to fall on October 4 this year), Americans ate 4.5 billion tacos in 2013. While that’s a bit less than 10 percent of the number of burgers consumed, that’s still an amazing number of tacos and nothing to sneeze at. In fact, NationalTacoDay.com says 4.5 billion tacos comes to about 775 million pounds, as much as the weight of two Empire State Buildings!
So here’s what we know so far: Americans typically eat more hamburgers than tacos each year. But this begs the question: which is better for you, a hamburger or a taco?
The taco! Final answer.
But it doesn’t take a nutritionist to see why tacos are definitely healthier than hamburgers. Let’s start with the fact that hamburgers very often come dressed with mayonnaise or ‘secret’ sauce smeared on their high carb bun. Not only does this add a significant number of fat and calories, remember that these are only the first two ingredients. Let’s also not gloss over the fact that even if you were to prepare a hamburger with lean beef patty, you’re still going to have a higher fat and calorie content than a taco.
While it may look healthy, if it comes smothered in mayonnaise or some other sauce, the hamburger isn’t as good for you as a taco.
However, prepare a taco with the same lean meat and you’re going to come out with less fat and fewer calories. That is until you douse the whole thing in melted cheese and call it a day.
Of course, you can always skip the meat altogether and load up your corn tortillas with treasures from the garden or sea. Fish tacos, for example, are packed with heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids and pair perfectly with a plucky pico or mouth-watering mango salsa.
And speaking of pico, while you’re probably used to toppings like chopped lettuce and tomato, you may also choose to keep it fresh with a heavy helping of pico de gallo (also known as salsa fresca). The combination of chopped tomato, white onion, lime juice, chopped cucumbers, radish and even mango, boosts your veggie intake and helps make your taco a truly healthy meal. Wrap it all in a soft tortilla (which has a lot less trans fat than a hard taco deep fried in hot oil) and you have yourself a very veggie forward lunch or dinner!
Throw in a side of black beans and you’ve covered all your essential food groups on one plate!
If you’d like a nutritious and delicious taco visit a Mattito’s restaurant location near you – and don’t forget Happy Hour.
Eat This, Not That! for Mexican Lovers
There’s no denying it: America is a nation filled with folks who are obsessed with Mexican food. From guac and tacos to burritos and Coronas, it seems everyone from the Unidos de América can’t get enough—even Trump is a rumored fan of the grub, which is saying a lot! (Yes, we totally made that up.)
But like most fare that makes its way into our fine country, Mexican food has been thoroughly Americanized, which is really just a nice way of saying it’s been pumped with fat, calories, sodium and chemicals. Not only is that bad news for Tex-Mex lovers looking to stay healthy and lose weight, it’s also a bit of a diss to the traditional wholesome dishes they were modeled after.
There is a bit of good news, though. If you’re careful, it’s totally possible to indulge in some delicious Mexican dishes without packing on the pounds—and we’re here to help you do just that! Read on to discover what to eat and what to skip whenever you get a craving for a Mexican fiesta in your mouth.
AT THE LOCAL MEXICAN CANTINA
Avocados are high in fat, but it’s the monounsaturated kind, so (like olive oil) it’s good for your heart. Guac also contains vitamin E, a disease-fighting antioxidant. (No wonder it costs extra!) For even more ways to keep your ticker in tip-top shape, be sure to steer clear of these 30 Foods That Can Cause Heart Disease.
When you order at a Mexican restaurant, ask your waiter which type of beans they serve. If they’re the whole variety, a bean burrito could be the healthiest thing on the menu. The fiber in beans lowers cholesterol and helps make you feel full—which is just one of the reasons they’re one of these 30 Best Foods for 6-Pack Abs. However, if they’re the refried kind (that means they’re mashed and cooked in lard) you’re better off with the chicken burrito.
A heap of onions and peppers is a plus, but to keep this sizzling skillet from breaking the caloric bank, skip the cheese and the sour cream—it will save you 300 calories and 15 grams of fat. To slice additional calories, ask for just one tortilla and stuff it full or skip the carb blanket all together and just stick with the fillings and low-cal toppings.
Real Mexican tacos are served on soft corn tortillas, and you should embrace the authenticity; made with just whole grains (i.e. corn) and water, they’ll save you 100 calories per taco over the flour variety. For even more calorie-saving hacks, check out these 25 Ways to Cut 250 Calories.
No matter how you look at it, opting for mole over melted cheese and sour cream is a healthy choice. Hop on board with this swap to keep your arteries clear and your waistline lean.
Want to cut 200 calories or more out of every Mexican meal? El Pass-o on the tortilla chips. They do nothing but make you thirsty and get you to order more beer. The guacamole is just as healthy and delicious if you eat it with a fork. Some restaurants may even have some raw peppers and carrots they can give you for dipping. Obsessed with avocados? Don’t miss these 10 Avocado Recipes for Weight Loss!
Mojado means “wet” in Spanish, and normally denotes a burrito that is shrouded in melted cheese and then drowned in a rich, salty tomato- and chili-based sauce. Skip it if you want to stay slim.
Sure, they call it a salad, but in reality, it’s just a huge fried tortilla shell filled with ground beef, cheese, sour cream, and a few token shreds of iceberg lettuce. The result: 900 calories, 55 grams of fat, and perhaps the most liberal use of the word “salad” ever. For salads that are actually healthy, check out these 20 Awesome Recipes for Mason Jar Salads!
You know you like them, but what exactly is an enchilada? Tortillas dipped in fat, stuffed, rolled, covered with cheese, and baked, that’s what! Topped with sour cream, two of them carry 748 calories, 55 percent of which is from fat.
In most Mexican restaurants, the rice is fried in oil. The result: a cup of the stuff packs 380 calories and nearly 11 grams of fat—and no, we’re not talking about healthy fats. So just say no!
Taco Bell Chipotle Chicken Loaded Griller
Courtesy of Taco Bell
350 calories, 16 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 810 mg sodium, 37 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 3 g sugars, 15 g protein
Next time you’re at the Bell, pick up this Loaded Griller. Carrying the lowest calorie, carbohydrate, and salt count, plus 15 grams of protein, it’s the best burrito at the Tex-Mex chain.
Chipotle Barbacoa Bowl
770 calories, 34 g fat, 6.5 g saturated fat, 2,230 mg sodium, 77 g carbs, 22 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 37.5 g protein (calculated with cilantro-lime rice base, black beans, barbacoa meat, fajita vegetables, tomato salsa and guacamole)
“Chipotle is my ‘fast food’ go-to! It’s actually one of a few takeout places I feel good about picking up dinner from in a pinch,” says registered dietitian Cassie Bjork. “My go-to barbacoa bowl (outlined above) is an entirely dairy-free entree for those with food sensitivities or allergies. Don’t forget to add some fresh guac to your plate! It’s a good source fiber and healthy fat, which promotes absorption of all the nutrients from your meal.”
Chili’s Pasilla Chile Chicken
410 calories, 11 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 1,750 mg sodium, 43 g carbs, 9 g fiber, 11 g sugar, 40 g protein
Considering Chili’s has appetizers for more than double the calories as this dish, it’s safe to say the Pasilla Chile Chicken is one of the safest bets for your belly. To keep the dish low-cal, without sacrificing protein or fiber, the chain tops the grilled chicken with a corn and black bean salsa and then pairs it with a quinoa and wheatberry blend and steamed broccoli, one of the 30 Best Foods for 6-Pack Abs.
On The Border Smart Grilled Chicken Fajitas
550 calories, 10 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 1,480 mg sodium, 65 g carbs, 50 g protein,11 g fiber, N/A sugar
By simply holding the sour cream and swapping out flour tortillas for the corn variety, On The Border manages to keep their “smart” poultry-based fajitas surprisingly low in calories and fat. To ensure the flavor isn’t lacking, they serve the dish with black beans, shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, and guac. The best part? They don’t even charge you extra for the green creamy stuff!
Taco Bell XXL Grilled Stuft Burrito
860 calories, 41 g fat, 14 g saturated fat, 2,200 mg sodium, 91 g carbs, 12 g fiber, 6 g sugars, 32 g protein
It’s safe to assume that any dish with “XXL” or “Stuft” in the title is gonna be a doozy for your gut. It’s hefty 32 grams of protein aside, this meathead contains a whopping 91 grams of carbs, 41 grams of fat, and 860 calories! With avocado ranch sauce, cheddar, pico de gallo, guac, sour cream, refried beans, seasoned beef and a shredded three cheese blend wrapped in a flour tortilla, just about the only thing “reduced-fat” about this burrito is the sour cream—and you’re holding a whole day’s worth of salt in one hand. To burn that off, you’d need these 33 Ways to Flatten Your Belly—Fast!.
Chipotle Burrito with Steak
Chipotle prides itself on serving “food with integrity.” We appreciate the chain’s commitment to high-quality ingredients, but all the integrity in the world won’t make this burrito any less fattening or caloric. This over-stuffed burrito is definitely a no-go.
Chili’s Quesadilla Explosion Salad with Grilled Chicken
1,430 calories 96 g fat, 28 g saturated fat, 0.5 g trans fat, 2,420 mg sodium, 84 g carbs, 9 g fiber, 18 g sugar, 64 g protein
I’m embarrassed to admit it, but—before calorie counts were so readily available—this was my go-to order at Chili’s. It seemed like the best of both worlds: You could get a solid serving of veggies, all while indulging in some quesadillas. But let this be a lesson for all: If a dish seems too good to be true, it probably is. Not only does this salad pack in more than the recommended daily intake of salt and more than half the day’s calories, but it also carries traces of dangerous trans-fats. To learn about more scary stuff lurking in your dinner, check out these 40 Most Horrifying Things Found in Food—and stay far, far away!
On the Border Monterey Ranch Chicken Fajitas
Warning: When you drown grilled chicken and veggies in a pool of bacon, Jack cheese, and ranch dressing you majorly up the calorie and fat count. Stick with the chain’s Smart Grilled Chicken Fajitas to save 1,080 calories and 55 grams of artery-clogging fat.
Red’s Natural Food Steak & Cheese Burrito
310 calories, 10 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 650 mg sodium, 40 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 16 g protein
Free of chemicals and excess calories and salt, this protein-packed burrito is perfect for a healthy-ish dinner in a pinch. To sneak in some extra nutrients, pair this frozen dish with a side salad topped with pico de gallo and black beans.
Kashi Frozen Entrees Chicken Enchilada
280 calories, 9 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 620 mg sodium, 38 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 12 g protein
Kashi’s blend of whole grains makes this chicken and veggies dish surprisingly healthy. Its high fiber content and lower sodium content is an added bonus, too! For more frozen fare that won’t derail your weight loss efforts, check out these 46 Best Frozen Foods in America!
Red’s Natural Foods Veggie Burrito Bowl
270 calories, 7 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 570 mg sodium, 47 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 7 g protein
Free of chemicals and filled with brown rice, roasted corn, black beans, lime juice, onions, cheddar cheese, chili pepper, and a host of other yummy, flavorful ingredients, this is a vegetarian Tex-Mex meal that gets our stamp of approval. These 6 Americanized “Mexican” Dishes They Won’t Eat in Mexico, however, not so much!
Newman’s Own Mild Salsa
2 tbsp: 10 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 65 mg sodium, 3 g carbs, <1 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 0 g protein
Not only is Newman’s classic dip filled with a delicious savory flavor, it’s one of the lowest sodium salsas on supermarket shelves! Speaking of salt, discover all there is to know about the mineral in our exclusive report, 17 Things You Need to Know About Salt.
Tostitos Oven Baked Scoops
1 oz: 120 calories, 3 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 140 mg sodium, 22 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 2 g protein
At 120 calories and just three grams of fat, consider this the healthiest salsa scooper in the supermarket. We love that these crunchy crisps are made with only three ingredients: corn, vegetable oil, and salt. Any tortilla chip made with more than that doesn’t deserve a place in your shopping cart. For more healthy chip picks, check out these 35 Best-Selling Chips—Ranked!
Per 12 fl oz: 128 calories, 11 g carbs, 4% alcohol
Not only is this beer lower in calories than the oh-so-popular Corona Extra, it’s the perfect base for a Michelada, one of Mexico’s most popular drinks. To whip one up, mix the beer with a squeeze of lime, a dash of Worcestershire, and a few hits of fiery hot sauce. Oh, and if you love setting your taste buds on fire, don’t miss these 20 Hurts-So-Good Ways to Eat Hot Sauce!
El Monterey Beef Steak & Cheese Burrito
450 calories, 15 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 740 mg sodium, 56 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 25 g protein
Not only does this tiny burrito carry 31 percent of the day’s sodium and 25 percent of the day’s fat, it’s also spiked with partially hydrogenated soybean oil which has been linked repeatedly to heart disease. Its artery-clogging effects extend beyond your heart, however; reduced blood flow can impact everything from brain function to sexual function. Yikes!
El Charrito Beef Enchilada Dinner
420 calories, 16 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 1,190 mg sodium, 62 g carbs, 10 g fiber, 14 g protein
El Charrito refers to this as “a delicious Mexican restaurant classic.” However, we highly doubt that those making this dish in Mexico are adding in caramel color (a dye that’s been linked to cancer), BHT (a preservative banned in other parts of the world because it’s thought to be carcinogenic) or dimethylpolysiloxane (an aquarium sealant chemical). If you don’t want to eat those chemicals either keep this frozen health food imposter our of your shopping cart. And for even more frozen dietary no-nos, check out these The 48 Worst Frozen Foods in America.
Kraft Velveeta Cheesy Bowls Bean & Rice Burrito Bowl
350 calories, 9 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 960 mg sodium, 60 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 10 g protein
Though it contains some elements of cheese like milk and cheese culture, Velveeta isn’t real cheese. It’s a cheese product made up of a host of chemicals and random ingredients. If that’s not enough to keep you away, we’re not sure what is.
Herdez Salsa Casera Mild
2 tbsp: 10 calories, 0 g fat, 270 mg sodium, 1 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 0 g protein
Though the ingredients in this dip are “clean” (tomatoes, onions, serrano peppers, iodized salt, and cilantro), combined with some salty chips, one serving could easily dish out half the day’s sodium. And considering new research has linked obesity and sodium intake, that’s no bueno!
Tostitos Multigrain Chips
1 oz: 150 calories, 7 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 110 g sodium, 19 g carbs, 2 g fiber, <1 g sugar, 2 g protein
Despite its healthy-sounding name, these chips are primarily made up of corn—not a mix of multiple grains.
Per 12 fl oz: 148 calories, 14 g carbs, 4.6 % alcohol
For a beer that doesn’t taste like much, it sure does come with plenty of calories. Stick with the Carta Blanca to stay on the straight and narrow toward weight loss success.
Skillet Chicken Tortilla Pie
Nutrition: 356 calories, 15.3 g fat (6.7 g sat fat), 586.9 mg sodium, 4.6 g fiber, 4.5 g sugar, 28.5 g protein
This comforting skillet proves that, if done right, you can have a cheesy dinner without undoing a day’s worth of healthy eating. Pair it with a side salad to boost your fiber and veggie intake so you’re less tempted to dive back in for seconds.
Get the recipe from Pinch of Yum.
Slow Cooker Mexican Quinoa
Quinoa is one trendy health food that has earned its praise. Plus, it’s super versatile and can be used in place of pasta and rice in dishes like this Slow Cooker Mexican Quinoa. Not only is it packed with hunger-squashing fiber (12.4 grams per serving in this dish!), but the super grain contains all eight essential amino acids, making it one of the only grains considered to be a complete protein.
Get the recipe from Chelsea’s Messy Apron.
Crunchy Taco Cups
Serves: 12 cups
Nutrition: 178 calories, 7.3 g fat (3.9 g saturated fat), 284 mg sodium, 10.4 g carbs, 0.6 g sugar, 16.8 g protein
Holy tacos! These taco cups are making our mouths water. Pair two or three with a side salad for a wholesome, balanced meal. Wanna eat tacos for breakfast? Check out this delicious ETNT recipe for Breakfast Tacos with Bacon and Spinach!
Get the recipe from Kevin and Amanda.
Chicken Avocado & Lime Soup
Nutrition: 473 calories, 30.5 g fat (6.8 g sat fat), 189 mg sodium, 7.8 g fiber, 2.2 g sugar, 37.8 g protein
How do you get rich, comforting soup without fattening roux and cream? Add avocado. This warmed-up cousin to the classic taco keeps it light without sacrificing flavor or satisfaction. This sky-high protein count is sure to keep you full until bedtime.
Get the recipe from Cooking Classy
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Eat This, Not That When Dining at a Mexican Restaurant
Eating at a Mexican restaurant can be difficult, as it can be hard to pick a healthy item, and servers typically can’t tell you to “Eat This, not That” for a healthy meal. This article helps you sort through a Mexican menu, and offers several alternatives to unhealthy food choices at a Mexican restaurant.
Guacamole, Not Queso
When looking for a pre-meal appetizer, be sure to choose guacamole instead of queso. Queso is typically just a combination of melted cheeses and salt, and therefore, very high in both fat and calories. Guacamole contains tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and avocados. While avocados have been found to contain high amounts of fat, the fat found in these fruits is actually unsaturated, which is important for good health and is actually promoted as a food that should be consumed on a regular basis. Olive oil, similarly, has high amounts of unsaturated fat, making it a great addition to guacamole. It is important to be aware that while guacamole does contain foods that are essential for good health, it is still a relatively calorically dense food–and therefore, should be eaten in moderation.
Fajitas, Not Quesadillas
Quesadillas are typically composed of highly seasoned chicken, layers of cheese, and sour cream–all of which contain lots of fat, calories and salt. If you are craving this kind of dish, a fajita will provide you with the same flavors at a much lower calorie and fat content. Fajitas typically contain grilled chicken, peppers and onions served on a corn tortilla. While there is often a side of sour cream, it is more often than not served in a small bowl on the side–which you can easily ignore.
Burritos, Not Tacos
This food substitution may seem strange–the author is not talking about the contents of the taco or burrito, but the actual shell itself. In this case, burrito shells are the soft version of a hard taco shell–and in reality, the two items are nearly identical aside from their texture. Hard taco shells are often made by placing a soft shell in a pan of hot oil, and frying it until it hardens. Therefore, by choosing a soft taco shell–otherwise known as a burrito shell–you will be decreasing the amount of fat and calories from the hot oil.
Wine, Not Margarita
While margaritas are delicious, they often contain high amounts of calories and sugar. Unless the margarita is homemade, chances are likely that the bartender is using a packaged margarita mix, which is like drinking candy. On the other hand, wine is relatively low in calories compared to a margarita, and the antioxidants found in the grapes used to make wine have been found to be essential for good health and optimal growth. In this case, it’s good to go ahead and have another drink!
5 Dishes You Should Avoid (and the 5 You Should Order) at Mexican Restaurants
5 Dishes to Avoid
Extra Tortilla Chips
Complimentary chips and salsa usually hit the table as soon as you sit down, and like it or not, they’re pretty much bottomless. When that first basket empties, pull back; you’ll want those calories for the rest of your meal.
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There’s nothing light about this liquid cheese sauce. A thinner consistency also means you’ll need to dip twice as many chips. Stick to salsa, guacamole, and fresh pico de gallo.
Chile rellenos, chalupas, chimichangas, gorditas, tostadas, and taquitos are all mains that will be deep-fried. Of these options, tostadas (open-faced tacos) and rellenos (poblano peppers) are best. It’s easier to order one of the un-fried dishes (see below) rather than ask the kitchen to change the way a dish is prepared.
Fried Tortilla Shells
A deep-fried vessel is not a healthy start to a salad; skip it and choose a salad with a leafy green base. If you’re cooking at home, try our genius taco salad makeover (crispy shell included). If you crave something sweet, see if you can order ice cream without the fried shell or sopapilla (a fried tortilla drizzled with honey).
An easy way to save calories and fat is to omit extra toppings that aren’t central to the dish, like generous dollops of sour cream and guacamole or a second layer of melted cheese. Pico de gallo is a fine substitute for any of these toppers.
5 Dishes to Order
Grilled meats and vegetables are always a healthy alternative. Fajitas usually come on a sizzling platter with all the trimmings on the side so you can assemble your own (with a better ratio of veg to meat and toppings) and pack up the rest for later.
Enchiladas, burritos, tamales, and soft-shell tacos will not be fried. Choose corn tortillas over flour, if possible.
Some combos come with a simple salad (usually shredded iceberg lettuce with tomato and guacamole). If it isn’t included, you can add one on from the sides menu or ask your server to include.
Tortilla Soup or Posole
Soup doesn’t usually come to mind at your neighborhood Mexican joint, but it should. Both tortilla soup and posole are relatively low-calorie and incredibly rich in flavor. Order a cup for an appetizer instead of chips and dip.
Steak, Black Beans, and Pico
These three items are healthier options than ground beef, refried beans, and heavier salad dressings or dips. Make these swaps where you can.
A Note about Margaritas:
It’s not really clear whether margaritas served on the rocks are a healthier option than frozen (the latter might go down easier, but they are otherwise the same). Most restaurants will use a mix that can be high in sugar. Order on the rocks if you’d like to customize with less mix, or just ask for tequila, triple sec, and lime juice.
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Tex Mex Nutrition & Calorie Counter – Tijuana Flats Calculate the nutrition and calories of your tex mex meal at Tijuana Flats, including our delicious fresh-made tacos, chimichangas, flautas and more. … Nutritional Calculator. Tex Mex Nutrition & Calorie Counter. Tijuana Flats Nutritional Information Tijuana Bangin’ Chicken Burrito (kcal) Total Calories (kcal) Fat Calories Total Fat (g) Saturated Trans Cholesterol (mg) Sodium Carbs (g) Fiber (g) Sugars (g) Protein Vit A (iu) Vit C Calcium Iron (g) Tijuana Bangin Chicken Burrito 483 214 24 4 0 92 2316 29 2 4 35 457 65 20 0 Tijuana Bangin Chicken Burrito with Cheddar Cheese Tijuana Flats Nutrition Facts, Tijuana Flats Calories … Tijuana Flats nutrition facts and nutritional information. Find calories, carbs, and nutritional contents for Tijuana Flats and over 2,000,000 other foods at MyFitnessPal.com. Calorie Chart, Nutrition Facts, Calories in Food …
Tijuana Flats Calories – Fast Food Nutrition Facts Tijuana Flats Calories – Fast Food Nutrition Facts. Refried Beans 100 3.5 12.5 2 4 0.5 2.5 0 Subsititue Powerlite low fat cheese 72 6 0 0 5.5 3.9 118 13.6 Steak 104.5 13.9 1.7 1.3 4.4 1.5 597 37.6 Refried Beans 100 3.5 12.5 2 4 0.5 2.5 0 Subsititue Powerlite low fat cheese 72 6 … Calories in Tijuana Chicken, Nutrition Facts for Tijuana Calories in tijuana chicken. Per 1 serving – Calories: 292 kcals. JustDietNow – Weight Watchers Points Plus For Tijuana Flats HomeTijuana Flats. You can find all the Tijuana Flats nutrition information including calories, fat, carbohydrates, fiber and protein for each menu item. This will help everyone following all different diet programs. This information will keep you on the right track while eating at Tijuana Flats.
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