Make Healthy Choices at Mexican Restaurants

The beauty of Mexican food is that it incorporates various pungent flavors. From beans to vegetables, there are a variety of ways to mix it up for a healthy Mexican meal that’s still tasty. When thinking about a healthy Mexican dish, many may consider it impossible because of fried tortillas, heavy cheeses, and appetizing sour cream on the side. However, there are alternative options for creating a healthy Mexican meal. With simple substitutions and thoughtful meal selection, eating healthy Mexican food is easier than you think!

The first step to making healthy Mexican food is utilizing the power of avocados. Substituting toppers such as cheese and sour cream for guacamole is a healthy Mexican way to enjoy bursting flavors of Mexico. Guacamole is made from a healthy fat that doesn’t rack up too many calories. Don’t underestimate the fibers in beans and vegetables when deciding to eat a healthy Mexican meal. These beneficial foods can be used as substitutes in a variety of delicious dishes to create a healthier Mexican dish. For instance, a bean burrito is a healthy Mexican substitution for a beef and cheese burrito. The following article from About explains ways to transform a calorie-loaded dish into healthy Mexican cuisine.

Mexican restaurants get a bad rap thanks to ever-present chips, cheese and high-calorie drinks being on offer, but the fact is, Mexican food can be a “do” when you’re dieting! By learning a few simple rules, you’ll always know what to say si to and make healthy choices at Mexican restaurants.

  • Crunch Some Calories

When in doubt, choose an item that includes soft tortillas. Soft tortillas are baked while crunchy shells are fried. Choosing soft tortillas over crunchy ones can easily save a few hundred calories.

  • Soft with Salsa

A friend of mine swears by ordering soft tortillas to swap for chips. She spreads them with salsa, folds them up, and eats them like a taquito. (Yes, it can get messy.) She says these roll-ups quell her chips ‘n’ salsa craving in nada time flat!

  • The Best Beans

Black beans are an excellent choice for most any dieter. They are low in fat, high in protein and provide plenty of fiber. (Avoid black beans and rice if you’re a low-carb dieter and order the beans by themselves.)

Refried beans may sound like a good choice, but they are often prepared with lard, Mexican cheese blends, and even bacon, which quickly ups the fat and calorie content of what could be a healthy side.

Bonus Tip: Order pinto beans instead and you’ll get a similar flavor without the extra fat.

  • Dips are a “Don’t”

Con queso dips and nacho cheese are tempting toppers for chips, but they’re both extremely rich and high in fat and calories. Same goes for sour cream. Guacamole is made with avocado which is a healthy fat, but a little bit of it can quickly add up your fat and calorie intake, so keep an eye on portion sizes.

Bonus Tip: Always select salsa as a starter, topping, garnish or side and you’ll know you’re making the right choice.

  • Smart Switches

Switch to bean burritos instead of beef or cheese burritos and you’ll be saying adios to lots of extra calories and get in plenty of fiber to boot. Ask for corn tortillas to be used instead of flour and you’ll be doing even better!

  • “Do” and “Don’t” Dishes

Some popular dishes to avoid include: Nachos, chimichangas, chalupas, taquitos, chile relleno, (all of which are deep-fried) and “double decker” burritos.

Some better choices are: Chicken fajitas, bean burritos, a grilled chicken dish with peppers and onions (hold the cheese!), or a soft taco.

You may also be able to order low-fat cheese, brown rice, whole-wheat tortillas or a side of marinated vegetables.

Some Mexican restaurants will replace the sides that come with meals with a salad if you ask them to. Top your salad with salsa and you’ll have a yummy, low-fat side. If you really missing dressing creaminess, ask for some reduced-fat ranch dressing and blend it in with your salsa until it’s got a more dressing-like texture.

If you order a taco salad, be sure to request it be served on a plate rather than the deep-fried, bowl-shaped tortilla … who wouldn’t be tempted to munch on that?

Bonus Tip: Eat all the salsa you want! It’s fat-free, low-calorie and is a good source of lycopene.

Eating healthy Mexican food is easier than you think when you substitute the wrongs with the rights. Even when you do substitute healthy Mexican alternatives, the food still tastes great! Flavors from avocados, peppers, and onions are common healthy Mexican ingredients that burst with flavor. Don’t let the misconception of calorie-loaded Mexican food get in your way of eating a healthy Mexican meal at a Mexican restaurant.

When trying to eat a healthy Mexican meal, portion control also comes into the picture. Having cheeses, fried foods, chips, and sour cream is okay – in moderation. Asking for minimal toppings is a creative way to create a healthy Mexican dish. Nachos, chimichangas and chile relleno can be healthy Mexican foods in smaller proportions.

At Casa Blanca Mexican Restaurants, we not only offer authentic Mexican cuisine, but we also offer vegetarian Mexican cuisine. Vegetarian eating is also an alternative option when eating healthy Mexican cuisine. Our vegetarian dishes such as Casa Veggie Fiesta, Veggie Quesadilla, Veggie Enchiladas, Veggie Green Burrito, and Veggie Fajitas are loaded with fresh vegetables. Even if you are not a vegetarian, these dishes are a delicious way to enjoy a healthy Mexican meal.

To try the healthy Mexican cuisine offered at Casa Blanca, please visit us at any of our 3 Massachusetts locations! We are always ready to assist with the healthiest of substitutions and look forward to serving you.

What ways have you found for eating Mexican food while retaining your healthy diet? We’d love to hear your advice!

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Going to a Mexican restuarant without the proper ordering tools, is like doing a red light obstacle course. Red lights are everywhere you look. It is easy to go overboard when the chips are free and served when you are most hungry and when full fat cheese, refried beans, and fried stuff go along with almost every dish. Next time you go out to eat at a Mexican restaurant, consider these tips on how to order healthy Mexican food to keep you on track with your goals. Don’t forget to budget some of your red lights so you can eat the things you love most!

Fresh corn tortillas, not chips

The basket you get as soon as you sit down is hard to resist. But, before you know it, you’ve eaten almost the whole basket before your meal arrives. Fried in unhealthy oil, chips will quickly get you past your budgeted red light goal.

A healthier alternative to fried chips, which are easy to over consume. Corn is also a healthier alternative to flour tortillas which are typically made with refined flour and are red lights!

Tostada salad, not taquitos

Taquitos are also deep fried and typically don’t include any vegetables. Tostadas offer a much better opportunity to get in more green lights that will let you stay on track with your health goals.

Order a tostada and have them top off with plenty of lettuce, tomatoes, a spoonful of guacamole and ask for fresh black beans to replace the refried beans. Leave the fried tortilla shell at the bottom – by the time you get down will probably be full enough and won’t really need to keep going! Also, ask for no sour cream, go light on the cheese and no extra dressing on the salad. Use the salsa as the dressing!

Grilled fajitas, not wet burritos or chimichangas

Wet burritos mean that your burrito will come smothered in extra sauce, extra cheese and extra calories! Chimichangas are deep-fried in unhealthy oil which is best to avoid whenever possible.

Instead, order chicken and vegetables that come out on a steaming grill to your table! This way you’re sure to get plenty of extra veggies like onions and bell peppers to fill up on without all the extra sauce and cheese. Order them with corn tortillas and build your own little burritos with lean meat, veggies and some salsa.

Soft corn tortilla tacos, not hard tacos

Save yourself from the unhealthy oils and extra calories used to make those fried taco shells hard and crispy! Ordering soft tacos gives you the non-fried version of this classic Mexican dish. Top off with fresh salsa and some lettuce and tomatoes and turn them into a healthy, delicious meal.

Salsa, not sour cream

With sour cream, a little doesn’t go very far and though it is cool and creamy, it is full of fat and calories. Salsa, in contrast, is flavorful, fresh, packed with lycopene from the tomatoes and a green light food!

Keeping these guidelines in mind next time you find yourself at your favorite Mexican restaurant may feel different than what you are used to, but we promise you will feel satisfied, full and good about your choices. Salud!

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Benefits of Mexican food

Mexican food can come with high quantities of trans fat due to the lard employed to make tortillas and beans, along with great quantities of saturated fat from refried beans and cheese. However, even health conscious individuals can enjoy Mexican food by choosing nutritious alternatives that not only promote healthy eating but also let them enjoy that unparalleled Mexican taste.

You won’t need to worry about calorie-laden items used in Mexican cooking including sour cream and high-fat Mexican cheeses if you load up instead on more nutritious ingredients such as avocados, lime and tomatillos.

These are what make Mexican food worth trying out.

Beans, which are great sources of fiber, are a Mexican staple food.

Soluble fiber not only helps reduce cholesterol levels but also gives a feeling of fullness, and this nutrient is what beans are full of. beans are also terrific sources of iron and protein. Many types of beans are used in Mexican food, and these include pinto and black beans. WIth insufficient fiber in the diet, one can suffer from digestive and constipation problems. When you want to enjoy tacos or burritos, try to stick to steamed whole beans instead of refried ones.

Mexican cooking uses plenty of vitamin- and mineral-enriched ingredients.

Cuminaldehyde, which is a phytochemical ingredient with a large amount of iron as well as antibacterial properties, is present in cumin. Cumin is a commonly used flavor in taco seasonings. As a food item with one of the lowest amounts of calories, tomatillos are great sources of vitamins C and K, These cute orbs are firmer and tarter compared to regular tomatoes and can be grilled then put atop chicken tostadas. Burritos and enchiladas can be livened up with salsa, lettuce and tomatoes. helping fight infections and boost the immune system of the body, tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C.

Avocado supplies heart-friendly fiber, unsaturated fats and potassium and is commonly used as garnishing for quesadillas, as part of a dip, as an ingredient in tuna and avocado tapas, avocado soup with chicken and lime, avocado salsa or salad, vegetarian tortilla soup, and many more.

Lettuce is a good source of fiber as well, and is great for making terrific Mexican lettuce wraps, baja bean salad, healthy taco salad, Mexican shrimp cobb salad, turkey lettuce wrap tacos, and plenty more.

A healthy source of vitamin C, onions are nearly always used in poultry and meat broths, which are needed for preparing stews, a huge range of guisados, pipians and moles.

You can get minerals including zinc, phosphorus, manganese magnesium and iron from pepitas, which also has phytosterols that lower cholesterol as well as a healthy quantity of antioxidants. and protein.

The tart juice of limes provide immunity-boosting vitamin C while also boasting antibacterial properties. Use it to put a touch of zing to your tacos or for making avocado lime salsa.

Corn provides a healthy amount of fiber.

As a whole grain food, corn supplies a good amount of fiber. Flour tortillas do not quite deliver the same amount of fiber as corn tortillas. Corn can be used for Mexican cooking when one wants some form of texture, as when making fish tacos.

Cocoa powder makes healthy chocolate.

Whether you’re making mole or eating chocolate, cocoa powder supplies flavanols for brain and heart health. With natural cocoa powder, you get more flavanols compared to Dutch-processed chocolate.

Bring the heat down in your arteries with the heat of jalapenos.

Jalapenos and other spicy peppers are commonly added as ingredients in chili, salsa and sauces used in the preparation of Mexican dishes. Those ingredients derive their heat from a compound that not only speeds up the metabolism but also helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels. That compound is called capsaicin. Capsaicin can also relieve congestion associated with allergies and the common cold. By adding salsa or chili to a Mexican meal, you are promoting your good health.

Plenty of Mexican foods have high protein content.

Meat is a common ingredient in plenty of highly popular Mexican dishes such as enchiladas and tacos. The meat can be pork, beef, chicken, shrimp or fish. Protein is supplied by meat . Protein is needed for energy and for maintaining healthy tissues and muscles. So is cheese, which is also a great source of calcium.

Preparing Mexican food doesn’t always entail the use of frying.

Fried food has an unhealthy amount of fat. Some Mexican recipes call for the use of shortening or lard. You can lessen the risks of getting high cholesterol levels when eating Mexican food by simply opting for grilled or baked shrimp, pork, chicken and beef dishes, which can help shave off those unhealthy calories.

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If you think Mexican food is unhealthy, think again

For many, mention of Mexican food brings to mind images of tacos loaded with liquid cheese, sodium-packed meats and calorie-dense burritos. While there’s definitely nothing wrong with a Mexican feast every once in a while (the cuisine is one of the more versatile, flavoursome and popular on the Latin American spectrum), in Australia it’s commonly considered to be a ‘special occasion’ cuisine – fiesta food – rather than a staple we turn to regularly.

According to San Francisco State University professors Luz Calvo and Catrióna Rueda Esquibel, this is a misconception that needs to be done away with, pronto. The husband and wife dream team have just published a new book called Decolonize Your Diet, in which they argue the ‘unhealthy’ aspects of Mexican cuisine (meat and piles of cheese) were added after Mexico was colonised in the 16th century. “If you look at a rural Mexican diet, it’s very plant based,” Luz tells The LA Times. “Meat is used in small portions. Real foods are the things we get excited about – quelites and verdolagas . These are wild greens. They’re super-healthy for you. Michael Pollan actually calls them the two healthiest plants on the planet. These were things that our grandparents knew how to forage and find.”

The intention behind Calco and Rueda Esquibel’s new book is to showcase the breadth of plant-based recipes Mexican food ­– real Mexican food – is famous for. “We started looking at traditional Mexican food like beans, and really looking at plant-based foods,” Calvo tells the LA Times. “Beans, nopales , verdolaga, quelites were things that stood out to us as really important foods for ancestors ate but maybe we didn’t.”

Bad Hombres is a Sydney-based example of healthy Mexican cuisine at its best. After opening last year with a 60 per cent vegan menu, restaurateur Sean McManus and chef Toby Wilson made the decision to switch to a 100 per cent plant based menu. As one of the few restaurants in Sydney offering authentic Mexican cuisine, Bad McManus and Wilson are leading the charge in the direction of healthier (and arguably more authentic) alternatives to Tex-Mex and Mexican fast food, which have both largely come to define Australia’s perception of Mexican food.

“Traditional food that’s served in Mexico today (especially in Mexico City) generally isn’t that healthy,” says Wilson. “Most things are pork-based, with vegetables cooked in lard. But if you take a step back through history to before the Spanish arrived, the Mexican diet was largely plant and grain based. Now we’re seeing chefs using fresher, healthier ingredients for Mexican food in California and in Australia too.”

While McManus and Wilson cite a wide range of influences for their menu – Chinese and Japanese flavours play a role at Bad Hombres, too – cooking in Mexican traditions allows a plant-based menu to shine.

“We’re not trying to be traditional,” says McManus. “But every week we’re moving more and more towards traditional Mexican cooking techniques and ingredients – it’s a progression we’re conscious of. We import real flour tortillas and the right chillies straight from Mexico. We’re probably one the closest restaurants Sydney has to the real thing right now.”

It’s the driving force behind a dish involving eggplant wrapped in banana leaf and slow cooked or 5-6 hours, but it’s also why their most popular dish (half a head of cauliflower deep fried with seaweed salt, served on a pool of cashew cream with coriander and raw onion) isn’t quite Mexican. Another thing it definitely isn’t is Tex-Mex.

Tex- Mex, of course, originated in Texas, which once formed part of Mexico. The dairy and meat products commonly found in Texas (while similar to what’s available in northern Mexico) are vastly disparate from what’s available in the majority of Mexico – hence the many iterations of Mexican cuisine. When we crave Mexican, it’s usually the Tex-Mex variety we’re after so we head straight to Zambrero, Guzman y Gomez and Mad Mex. But Sydney restaurant Mejico is working hard to change that, with their menu of nutrition-driven, upmarket Mexican food.

“The Mexican food I grew up with in the 90s was cheap, meat driven, saturated in unidentifiable sauces & topped with cheese,” says Richard Prout, Mejico’s food and beverage operations manager. “Our menu at Mejico was created with an understanding of Mexican ingredients, cooking techniques and trying to utilise the produce we offer here in Australia to do justice to a cuisine offered poorly by so many over the years. We took everything people expected and discarded it, then we took traditional dishes from the Yucatan to the pacific coastline of Mexico, dishes that have been lost within the western world or not showcased well in Western cuisine and ensure that we did them justice and made them our own.”

As with any cuisine, there are unhealthy elements to Mexican cuisine ­– it can often be high in salt, for example. But Prout points to the surplus of ingredients inherent to Mexican cooking that boast an array of health benefits. “Ancient grains, quinoa, chia, beans, corn for example are all ingredients that you will find in the aisles of your local health food store and all of these ingredients have been consumed in the Mexican diet for centuries,” he says. “Chilli itself contains up to seven times the vitamin C level of an orange whilst also laying claim to aiding digestion, muscle, joint & nerve pain and packed full of vitamins A, E and a number of other benefits, including being delicious.”

With restaurants like Bad Hombres and Mejico dominating the space, healthy eaters can enjoy Mexican cuisine – true, authentic Mexican cuisine. Sure, you can continue smothering your burrito with liquid cheese sauce and sour cream; but the end result might not actually be Mexican after all.

Have we got your attention and your tastebuds? The Chefs’ Line airs weeknights at 6pm. Check out the program page for episode guides, cuisine lowdowns, recipes and more!

Mexico some more 14 Mexican breakfasts to start your day off with a bang Oh, the breakfast possibilities! 10 reasons to throw a taco party Need a reason to throw a taco party? This is the perfect reason to get your toppings and guac on. Aztec three sisters quinoa bowl

Peas in guacamole may outrage traditionalists, but it adds extra texture and sweetness here. It’s a great complement to the bright crunch of the raw sugar snaps, zucchini and corn.

Is Mexican Food Healthy? 8 Tips To Navigating The Menu!

Your friends are bugging you to viva fiesta at the local taco joint; the problem is you’re bound to a diet. You know restaurant meals are typically high in calories, sugar and fat. But, you still hate to miss a fun night.

Lucky for you, you can maintain your progress if you order carefully. Learn to pick through the menu for healthy choices. Food choice is essential to reach your long-term goals, unless you’d rather stay home every night, but who wants to do that?

Follow these tips to healthy Mexican dining:


Sidestep Chips And Salsa

Mmmmm – that basket of warm chips calls to you. Can’t resist? Get rid of it. If the basket is already on the table when you sit down, ask your server to take it off the table. If it’s not already at your table, ask your server not to bring that big bowl of carbs, fat and salt.

This combo might seem harmless enough, but chips and salsa contain too much fat and too many calories to fit into any good diet plan. Before you know it, you may munch the entire basket before the food you ordered arrives.

Save yourself the temptation and just say ‘no.’


Snub The Hard Shell

Hard shells are deep fried and contain added fat and extra calories that could push you over your limit.

Choose smaller, whole wheat soft shells: these are better options for your carb source.

It might be hard to say ‘adios’ to such crunchy goodness, but it’s totally worth it.


Reject The Refried

If you choose to dig into a bean dish (which can be a healthy option) go for pinto beans rather than refried beans. Pinto beans are an excellent source of protein, complex carbohydrates and much-needed iron.

Keep your serving size under control, and you will keep your calorie count where it needs to be.


Reduce The Sour Cream And Guacamole

Although the toppings are sometimes the best part of the burrito, spooning on globs of fatty sour cream and guacamole heaps the calories.

Although guacamole is made from avocado, and is technically a source of healthy fat, calories are still calories and folks tend to heap the toppings on, so go easy.

Your entrée will likely have more calories than what you should be taking in, so limiting the extras is a wise move. Instead of sour cream and guacamole, top your meal with plenty of diced vegetables and/or with salsa.

Salsa is a lower-calorie alternative that will also provide important antioxidants and vitamins.


Nix The Margarita

It’s icy, salty, full of tequila and delicious. It’s also a diet wrecker. Adding a margarita to your meal will definitely put you over your calorie limits, so think carefully before ordering one.

When you dine out, you can’t always control the number of calories that come in a beverage, so it’s generally best to just stick with water. (Hardly an alternative to a margarita, I know.) But remember the big picture: Stick to your plan.


Be Picky About Your Protein

You can probably count on getting protein in your meal, but not all protein choices are created equal. Chicken is usually a better option than beef because it is leaner and less processed. Fish is also a good choice as long as it hasn’t been breaded or deep fried.

Before you order, ask your server about how the meat is prepared, and choose the best option for your diet plan.


Choose Your Own Adventure

Some menu choices at Mexican restaurants come with the meal components separated.

Build-your-own taco, burrito or fajita is a great option because you can control what goes into the meal.

Depending on your nutritional needs, you can add or subtract whatever you wish.


Flee The Taco Salad Trap

They have salad! ¡Ensalada! Finding that option on the menu might make you leap with joy. However, “salad” is not synonymous with “healthy.” You’re better off having one or two soft tacos.

The portion size will be much better and easier to fit in a limited-calorie diet.

So the next time you and your friends are down for some spicy Mexican food, remember these tips. Even though you’re on a diet, you can still enjoy the social aspect of eating out.

It just takes a little extra effort to make sure you get what you need, not what you don’t!

Ordering from a fast-food Mexican place is about as big as a blood sugar challenge can get. Portions are generally huge, the tortillas used for burritos are larger than your head and filled with a cup or more of white rice (blood sugar enemy # 1), and the entrées tend to be loaded with cheese — and we don’t mean the Magic low-fat variety. Thread your way around these potholes, and you can arrive at a delicious, moderate-GL meal.

Your Game Plan
1. Ask the waitperson to take away the tortilla chips.
The Mexican equivalent of a big breadbasket is either a bowl of chips with salsa or nacho chips covered with cheese. Just say no.

2. Order a healthy starter instead.
Look for ceviches (marinated raw fish or seafood); guacamole, which is full of “good” fats (ask for soft tortillas instead of deep-fried chips to dip, and don’t overeat them); gazpacho, a spicy cold vegetable soup; black bean soup; and tortilla soup (chicken in broth with vegetables and thin fried tortilla chips). Ask for extra salsa for the table and eat it with a spoon rather than on chips.

3. For an entrée, look to fajitas.
These are made with lean beef (or chicken or shrimp) grilled with onions and peppers. Other good choices are grilled chicken or fish dishes.

4. Order tacos or burritos without high-fat sour cream.
Ask for extra salsa instead. Hard tacos are fried, so you’re better off with soft tacos; soft tortillas are even better. A small tortilla is the equivalent of a slice of bread. If you’re not eating rice, two or three soft tacos are fine, but stick to one or two if you are having rice. If you’re getting a burrito, ask for no rice and more beans.

5. As a side dish, go for rice and beans instead of Mexican rice.
Thanks to the beans, this dish has a lower GL than rice alone. But check first to be sure the beans aren’t refried. Refried beans are loaded with fat.

6. Have dessert at home.
Desserts at Mexican restaurants, such as flan and fried ice cream, are usually high in calories and fat, so skip them and eat something healthier elsewhere.

Just Say No

  • Tortilla chips
  • Nachos
  • Chimichangas
  • Quesadillas
  • Enchiladas (beef, cheese, or any other kind)
  • Chiles rellenos
  • Refried beans
  • Anything “grande”

See also:

  • Ordering Chinese
  • Ordering Italian
  • Ordering Fast Food

Mexican Food: Making Healthier Choices

Here are some tips for making healthier choices when eating at a Mexican restaurant:

  1. Fish first. Fish (when it’s not fried) is often the lowest in fat and saturated fat of the meat choices. Chicken is usually next, followed by steak — if the restaurant uses a leaner cut and doesn’t add extra fat.
  2. Stick with soft tortillas. Most restaurants offer the choice of soft or crispy, corn or flour tortillas. Generally, soft tortillas — whether corn or flour — are lower in calories and fat than the deep-fried, crispy option. And soft corn tortillas can be healthier than flour ones. At Rubios, for example, choosing a stone-ground corn tortilla instead of a flour tortilla will save you 50 calories, 4 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, and 340 mg sodium (while giving you 1 extra gram of fiber).
  3. Skip the sour cream. This saves you 120 calories, 10 grams fat, and 7 g saturated fat for a 2-ounce serving. Some Mexican restaurant salads and entrees also come with creamy dressings, like ranch sauce. Leaving this off can shave 240 calories, 27 grams of fat, 4 grams saturated fat, and 240 milligrams of sodium.
  4. No cheese, please. Leaving the cheese off your grilled meat or fish burrito will usually shave off about 110 calories, 9 grams of fat, and 5 grams of saturated fat.
  5. Guacamole is good for you. While a big side of guacamole (3.5 ounces) adds considerable calories (about 150) and fat (about 13 grams), guacamole made mostly with avocados is low in saturated fat (about 2 grams), high in fiber (6 grams), and most of its fat is the healthy monounsaturated type.
  6. Go for grilled. Instead of fried fish, meats, or veggies, choose grilled fish or shrimp, charbroiled chicken, and grilled vegetables. They will have less fat and still taste great
  7. Add fajita veggies. A flavorful and easy way to boost your daily veggie intake is to add “fajita vegetables” to your burrito or burrito bowl. For just about 20 calories and 0.5 grams of fat, a 2.5 ounce serving of fajita vegetables will add a gram of fiber, about 30% of the Daily Value for vitamin C, powerful phytochemicals, and tons of flavor.
  8. Skip the chips. OK, just steal a few from your tablemate! Half an order of tortilla chips from Chipotle (2 ounces), for example, adds 285 calories and 13.5 grams of fat to your meal total, along with 210 milligrams of sodium.

Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, writes the Healthy Recipe Doctor blog for WebMD and is the author of numerous books on nutrition and health. Her opinions and conclusions are her own.

Good news: That sizzling fajita platter is far from off-limits to dietitians. It’s a great meal to share to keep portions in check, too. “I typically have one full tortilla filled with a couple strips of chicken and vegetables, a dash of guacamole, and a few black beans or small smear of refried beans. If I still feel hungry after my first fajita wrap, I will simply plate a little more chicken and vegetables without a second tortilla,” says Jenny Beth Kroplin, R.D., L.D.N., C.L.C.

5. Whole Beans

“Whole beans cooked in water can be a big calorie saver over refried beans cooked with lard,” says Pine. Gans agrees: When she orders fajitas, “if the beans offered are refried I ask to switch to black beans instead.” Whole pinto beans are also a good option.

6. Mexican Salad

“My favorite dish to order at a Mexican restaurant is a simple Mexican salad,” says Amy Gorin, M.S., R.D., owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition. “It offers all of those traditional Mexican tastes and textures I love—spicy salsa, creamy guacamole—piled on top of veggies.”

Kroplin’s got her ordering formula down: “I always start with a bed of greens, then I add my toppings. I always opt for the grilled chicken versus beef to keep the protein source as lean as possible, and I choose between beans or rice, but not both, which slims down the total carbohydrate load. When it comes to fats like cheese, guacamole, dressing, and sour cream, I decide which sound the best and pick two, then I ask the waiter or waitress to please add them on the side so I have control over the amount that is actually incorporated into my salad.”

Another tip from Gorin and Kroplin: Ditch the fried taco shell bowl and ask for your salad on a plate instead.

7. Lower-Cal Margarita JGI/Jamie Grill, Getty Images

Yep, you read that right: If you’re treating yourself to Mexican food, you don’t always have to skip out on your festive favorites. “If they offer a ‘skinny’ margarita, I order that, since it’s made with lime juice, agave nectar and tequila,” says Michelle Dudash, R.D., who runs the Clean Eating Cooking School. This cuts back on serious sugar and calories from regular margs.

8. Veggie Burrito

“This is a great option when you are feeling very hungry,” says Scritchfield. “They are stuffed with lots of high-fiber vegetables like spinach, peppers, and onions. Opt for brown rice over white, and black or pinto beans instead of refried. Top with salsa and guacamole instead of sour cream or cheese for some added fiber and lots of flavor.”

Dudash is a fan, too: “When I get takeout at Mexican restaurants, like when I grab lunch for one at the place next to my hairstylist, I order a vegetarian burrito that contains pinto beans, avocados, tomatoes, and pico de gallo.”

9. Grilled Shrimp With Molcajete Sauce

“One of my favorite dishes is a grilled shrimp dish smothered in a spicy molcajete sauce,” says Pine. “I’ll then order whole beans instead of refried on the side. I get the protein from the shrimp and all of the traditional Mexican flavors of tomato, garlic, onion, and chile from the molcajete sauce.” Dishes incorporating grilled lean proteins are typically a great option when you’re ordering Mexican—or, any cuisine, for that matter.

21 Day Fix Mexican Meal Plan


We’re spicing things up this week with some 21 Day Fix Mexican meal plan recipes! The 21 Day Fix can be a great way to stay on track with a healthy lifestyle, and I’m here to make sure you have delicious recipes to help you along the way.

Are these ALL Mexican recipes?

Not all of these recipes are Mexican food. Breakfast, snacks, and desserts are kind of hard to keep on theme here but the lunches and dinners should do the trick! If you have a favorite 21 Day Fix Mexican recipe let me know, maybe I’ll add it to this tasty 21 Day Fix Mexican meal plan!

Break out of your food rut, or just find some tasty 21 Day Fix Mexican recipes with this great list of meal plan ideas. It’s easy to follow, just choose a few recipes to make and prep for the week from each category. If you make all of these recipes for each day you will have way too much food.


Breakfast: Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal | Baked oatmeal is a filling, delicious, easy to make recipe that the whole family will love!

Lunch: Mason Jar Salads | You can customize these salads to include all of your favorite Mexican style ingredients. Make yourself a taco in a jar and top it with some yummy homemade salsa (recipes in both Monday and Tuesday below)!

Dinner: Instant Pot Burrito Bowls | A deconstructed burrito that you can eat in a bowl. It takes away the need for wraps which is great if you have a gluten allergy! *this is a great Mexican option that you can eat all week!*

Snack: Banana Roll Up: 1/2 Banana with Peanut Butter on a Whole Grain Tortilla

Desserts: Dairy Free Chocolate Ice Cream | Spicy food calls for some delicious dessert to cool it all down! What better to take care of that task than some creamy and delicious dairy free chocolate ice cream.

Snack: Cloud Bread | Use this cloud bread recipe to dip in salsa, guacamole, and more!


Breakfast: Fajita Breakfast Casserole | This is one of the easiest recipes to make thanks to the Instant Pot! Everything goes in and comes out ready to eat! It’s so flavorful and delicious, you can even spice it up with some peppers if you like!

Lunch: Easy Homemade Salsa on top of your Burrito Bowl from yesterday! | I love using this easy homemade salsa recipe for salads and dipping. Goes great with cloud bread too. Perfect for spicing up all of these great 21 Day Fix Mexican meal plan recipes.

Dinner: Instant Pot Sweet Potato Chili | Chili is a great way to spice up your meal plan each week. This one is extra tasty because it’s made with sweet potatoes!

Snack: Greek Yogurt with Berries 1 Purple 1 Red

Dessert: Instant Pot Brownies | You can have brownies and still live a healthy lifestyle. These are brownies you’ll love to make AND love to eat!

Snack: 2 Deviled Eggs (yolks smashed with Greek yogurt and mustard) 1 Red


Breakfast: Chorizo and Eggs Breakfast Casserole | Making homemade chorizo is easier than you think…and once you have some prepared you won’t want to miss out on this delicious breakfast casserole.

Lunch: The Easiest Carne Asada Tostadas Ever | I would never joke about carne asada! These tostadas are so easy to make and they’re amazing for lunches or dinner throughout the week.

Dinner: Steak Fajita Zoodles | It’s never a bad time for some fajitas and these are lighter and more delicious even without the tortillas!

Snack: Simple Crepes | You don’t have to just enjoy crepes for breakfast. You can have them for a delicious snack too!

Dessert: Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Energy Clusters | If you are looking for a dessert that you can also use as a snack throughout the week this one is a winner!

Snack: 2 Hard Boiled Eggs | Making hard boiled eggs in the Instant Pot is one of the easiest meal preps I do all week. They’re done in a few minutes and easy to grab for snacks, salads, and more!


Breakfast: Instant Pot Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cups | If you haven’t guessed yet, I love using my Instant Pot to bake. It keeps the house so much cooler than using the oven!

Lunch: 21 Day Fix Crockpot Recipes | There are some tasty Mexican recipes in this roundup. Make sure to save it

Dinner: Cauliflower Taco Bowl Recipe | Watching your carbs?! That doesn’t mean you that you have to miss out on tacos! These cauliflower taco bowls are lower in carbs but still high on flavor.

Snack: Dried Fruit and Nuts 1 Blue 1 Orange

Dessert: Instant Pot Cupcakes | Cupcakes that you can bake in the Instant Pot without heating up the house?! Yes please!

Snack: Pumpkin Seeds and Fruit 1 Purple 1 Orange


Breakfast: 21 Day Fix French Toast | Making French toast for one is easier than ever for the 21 Day Fix. This recipe is easy, quick, and you can add an extra egg for more protein if need be.

Lunch: Carne Asada + Leftovers Ideas | Making one recipe that I can use for four different meals throughout the week?! A total win! Give this simple carne asada recipe a try this week!

Dinner: Crockpot Pork Carnitas | You can make pork carnitas without any effort. This recipe is so easy and thanks to the crockpot it stays juicy and full of flavor. You can use beef or chicken for this recipe too!

Snack: Whole grain crackers and cheese 1 Blue and 1 Yellow

Dessert: Instant Pot Cheesecake | A healthy lifestyle is about finding a happy medium. You deserve a tasty snack and this recipe is more than tasty, plus it doesn’t pack a huge calorie punch!

Snack: Fruit and 12 Almonds 1 Purple and 1 Blue


Breakfast: Healthy Southwest Egg Roll in a Bowl | Okay, this might not seem like a breakfast recipe but hear me out…it’s amazing! If you don’t want to eat it for breakfast you can totally sub it in somewhere else but it’s worth a try for breakfast.

Lunch: Skinny Beef Enchiladas | With homemade red enchilada sauce this recipe really packs a punch of all my favorite flavors! So delicious and easy to make.

Dinner: Carne Asada Street Tacos Recipe | These are one of our favorite family recipes. They’re easy to make and street tacos are a total crowd pleaser!

Snack: Hummus and Veggie Sticks 1 Green 1 Blue

Dessert: Coffee Ice Cream | A healthy ice cream recipe that you can make without churning? It’s totally tasty and has such a great coffee flavor!

Snack: Quesadilla 2 Corn Tortillas with Cheese 1 Yellow 1 Blue


Breakfast: Zucchini and Sausage Breakfast Casserole Skillet | You can use my homemade chorizo for this recipe and really kick things up a notch!

Lunch: Carne Asada Burrito Bowls | Making burrito bowls ahead of time for lunches throughout the week is so easy and quick. They travel well and you can customize the toppings to suit the containers you need for the day!

Dinner: 21 Day Fix Tacos | Is there anything better than tacos that are healthy and won’t ruin your diet? No shells necessary with these 21 Day Fix Tacos in a pepper!

Snack: Deli sliced turkey roll ups with cucumber is an easy snack that packs a protein punch with a healthy crunch. Add some salsa if you’d like to stay on our 21 Day Fix Mexican meal plan theme!

Dessert: Instant Pot Lava Cake | There’s just something about chocolate that goes so well with a little spice! Try out this IP Lava Cake recipe, it’s so indulgent and tasty!

Snack: Apples and Nut Butter, 1 Purple and 1 Tbsp


Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a ‘Mexican food diet’

Cinco de Mayo often means a lot of high calorie margaritas, nachos and burritos, but one Chef says Mexican food can actually help you lose weight. Fox News’ Laura Ingle joins Chef Maru Davila in the kitchen to showcase healthy Mexican dishes from her book “The Mexican Food Diet.”

Mexican food has become one of the world’s favorite foods, and it’s easy to see why: It’s delicious, satisfying, exciting and affordable. However, some people may view Mexican food as fattening or unhealthy; I thought the same thing, and during my 30 years of struggling with my weight, I avoided Mexican food.

The truth is that when you know how to prepare healthy Mexican food, you will have found the effortless and delicious way to maintain weight, and even eat a balanced diet while burning fat, regaining your energy and helping to prevent diseases.


I was born and raised in Mexico City until I emigrated to the United States to attend Harvard Business School, graduating with an MBA.

I always had a busy life with no time to take care of my health. When I was stressed, I ate unhealthy food, and lots of it. The next day, I would eat nothing or very little until I could not resist my cravings for sugar and unhealthy foods.

For 30 years my weight was up, down, up, down, until diets stopped working and I found myself 60 pounds overweight. I also suffered from depression and health issues that no doctor could help me overcome. One day, I decided to go back to school to learn how to eat to get healthy, lose weight and feel great again.

I was very excited to discover that healthy Mexican food, the kind I grew up with, was the best way overcome the two things that were keeping me fat, sick and sad: my uncontrollable cravings for unhealthy food and the many negative effects of all those years of unhealthy eating.

With this powerful discovery in hand, I began writing my book, “The Mexican Food Diet.” I wanted to help people who wanted to lose weight or feel healthier without feeling hungry, deprived or bored with bland foods. This book is the perfect example of what I teach today in my programs: healthy eating that feels like cheating™.

The Mexican Food Diet™ has two primary objectives. The first goal is to replace cravings for unhealthy foods with cravings for delicious, nutritious and satisfying foods. The second goal is to give the body the nutrients it needs to fight inflammation and keep people healthy and happy.

Our featured Cinco de Mayo feast was created for maximized detoxification and effortless weight loss.

Margarita Detox Shooters

Think of this as a healthier version of the traditional Margarita which uses a lot of sugar in the form of syrups and mixes. In my version, I use 1.5 ounces of tequila and mix in 3 ounces fresh lemon juice, 3 ounces of fresh orange juice, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds and 1 jalapeño (take out the seeds and the vein). My shooters are also loaded with vitamin C from the lemon and orange juices (25 percent of your daily requirements in 1 shooter) and antioxidants to boost the immune system and get healthier, younger-looking skin. I made them even healthier by adding chia seeds to provide fiber and protein. This Mexican grown seed also helps reduce the impact on blood sugar and insulin, which can prevent fat gain and disease.

Serves: 6-8


  • 3 ounces fresh lemon juice
  • 3 ounces fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon organic chia seeds
  • 1.5 ounces tequila
  • ¼ teaspoon liquid stevia
  • 1 jalapeño, without seeds or veins
  • Sea salt for the glass rim
  • 1 fresh lemon half
  • Jalapeño slices for garnish


  1. Add first six ingredients to a blender and blend on high speed.
  2. Pour some sea salt on a plate. Use a lemon half to moisten the rims of the shooter glasses, then dip the rims in sea salt.
  3. Pour the blended mix on the shooter glasses. Decorate with a slice of jalapeño and serve cold.


Detox Blueberry Mole

Our main dish is a delicious nutritional powerhouse. Each serving provides significant amounts of 14 vitamins and minerals that are essential for optimal health and weight loss. My mole sauce can be a meal on its own. It has healthy protein and fats (almonds and pecans), healthy carbs and spices with detox and anti-inflammatory power (blueberries, hot peppers, tomatoes, garlic, onion, cinnamon), as well as high levels of fiber from the veggies and nuts. Eating balanced meals like this one helps you keep blood sugar and insulin at healthy levels, which will help you with appetite, weight loss, energy and mood.

I pair it with organic, pasture-raised chicken, but it would also be delicious on fish, meat or a mix of roasted veggies.

Serves: 4


  • 2 ancho chiles, dry
  • 1 guajillo chile, dry
  • ½ of a medium onion, cut into large chunks
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 tomato, organic
  • ¼ cinnamon stick
  • 3 ounces blueberries
  • 1/3 cup chicken or vegetable stock (organic, reduced sodium)
  • 1 ounce raw pecans
  • 1 ounce raw almonds
  • 1 clove
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 ounces water
  • 1 ounce extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 ounces chicken or vegetable stock (organic, reduced sodium)
  • 1 pound chicken thighs or chicken legs with thighs (organic, free range)


  1. Preheat the oven at 350 degrees F.
  2. Wash the chiles and remove the seeds and veins. Soak the chiles in water while you measure the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Roast the chiles, onion, garlic, tomatoes and cinnamon sticks. Turn them around making sure they are well roasted on all sides (not burnt).
  4. Heat a small sauce pan over medium heat with the blueberries and the first 1/3-cup of chicken or vegetable stock. Bring it to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Place the roasted ingredients in a blender. Add the pecans, almonds, clove, sea salt and water. Add ½ cup of the blueberry-stock mixture. Blend all ingredients in the blender on high speed for 30 seconds or until smooth.
  6. Heat a large sauce pan over medium heat. When hot, add the olive oil and the blended ingredients. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Add the second chicken or vegetable stock and the remaining blueberry sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
  8. Pour all the ingredients into the blender and blend on high speed until smooth.
  9. Place the chicken thighs on an oven tray and cover with the mole. Cook until the internal temperature reaches 165 F. Serve the chicken with additional mole on top and garnish with almonds.

Mexican-Style Cauliflower Rice

I made my rice with cauliflower instead of traditional rice. One serving of rice made with cauliflower has 100 calories, 9 grams of healthy carbs, 7 grams of fiber and high amounts of a variety of vitamins and minerals. The same dish made with white rice has 350 calories, 47 grams of carbs, 1 gram of fiber, and very low nutrient content.

Serves: 4


  • ½ cauliflower, large
  • 1 serrano chile
  • ½ onion, small
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
  • 1 tomato, large
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • Dash of black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin powder
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • 2 ounces tomato paste
  • Fresh cilantro, for garnish


  1. Chop the cauliflower into florets and put in the food processor or blender. Pulse until the pieces are the size and shape of rice. Set aside.
  2. Take the seeds out of the chile, then chop and set aside.
  3. Chop onion, garlic, cilantro and tomato.
  4. Heat a medium-sized pan over medium heat. When hot, add the olive oil, onion and chile. Sauté for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 more minute.
  6. Add the cauliflower and stir. Add the salt, pepper, cumin and paprika. Stir and combine, cooking for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add the tomato paste, cilantro and tomato. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  8. Garnish with cilantro.

Guacamole Ice Cream

We finish our meal with a delicious sweet guacamole ice cream that will satisfy the sweet tooth while burning fat and powering up your brain, energy and overall health. I transformed my famous guacamole recipe into a dessert by using sweet healthy ingredients while keeping the guacamole look. My ice cream has only 160 calories and 1.5 grams of sugar (all from whole nutritious foods), compared to a regular ice cream which has at least 250 calories and 20 grams of sugar (most from added sugars and syrups). I use avocado and coconut milk as the base instead of the regular milk and cream used in traditional ice creams.

Serves: 6


  • 1½ avocados
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 can coconut milk, full fat
  • 2-3 teaspoons of liquid stevia
  • ½ cup strawberries, organic, chopped in small cubes
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flakes, unsweetened
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 ounce raw cashews, chopped


  1. Place a can of coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Place the avocado in a food processor. Add lemon juice and blend until smooth and creamy.
  3. Open the coconut milk can and, using a spoon, take out the coconut cream, leaving behind the coconut water.
  4. Using an electronic mixer, whip the coconut cream in a bowl until it’s the consistency of a whipped cream. Add the blended avocado and stevia. Incorporate well.
  5. Put the ice cream in a freezer-safe dish and freeze for at least 4 hours.
  6. Remove from freezer and spoon out into small bowls. If too hard to spoon out, leave at room temperature for a few minutes.
  7. Mix some strawberries, coconut flakes, mint and cashews into each small bowl.
  8. Garnish with some strawberries and fresh mint.

Maru Dávila is a certified integrative nutritionist, weight loss expert, healthy chef and author of the bestselling book The Mexican Food Diet: Healthy Eating that Feels Like Cheating.” Maru struggled with her weight for 30 years, eating disorders, depression and other health issues. Maru discovered that the one thing she’d feared and fought with her whole life was the one thing that could save her. For more information on Maru and her company go to

I love swapping meal recipes with mis amigas. Since becoming a parent, I am always on the look out for how to cook up a meal for the familia that is easy yet still tasty. My gringo husband ate Mexican food growing up, but he didn’t eat it like my family. It was on the dinner table every day in mi casa. And like most Latinos, I still love eating the food of my culture at least four to five times a week, and it helps that the main takeaway I have acquired from other mamas is to prep, prep, prep ahead. Sunday is my ideal prep day: laundry is done, house is clean (as much as it is going to be), and most importantly, groceries are in the kitchen from Saturday shopping.

I prep all vegetables and fruit that call for being diced or chopped. I label zipper bags with the day and name of the meal. I like to have at least two to three full meals that include a side, along with a few meals that I call one-shot dinners. If my family’s lucky, there’s a dessert planned for a couple meals.

The great thing about Mexican food is that so many of the same ingredients can be used in different recipes. And as we all know, Mexican food is never boring and (with my family, at least) always eaten. Here are five easy Mexican dinners you can prep on Sunday night.

Monday: Easy Chicken Enchiladas with Mexican Street Corn Salad and Mexican Cornbread

image: Your Home Based Mom

  • Recipe: Chicken Enchiladas and Enchilada Sauce
  • Recipe: Mexican Street Corn Salad
  • Recipe: Mexican Cornbread

I cook enchiladas at least once a week. I buy a cooked rotisserie chicken at the deli of my grocery store, and mamas, this is a major time saver. I also tend to boil a few ears of corn on Sunday, which I save for this recipe and the remainder of the week. And if I am really pressed for time (as we all know, Sundays can be busy family days), I will use store bought enchilada sauce. Gasp. Si, there are many yummy options out there, and I love chopping more time off prep. I tend to fully cook this meal and freeze both the enchiladas and cornbread for a Friday night meal. This is usually the day I refuse to cook yet want a family-style feast we can all enjoy.

Tuesday: Taco Lettuce Wrap with Crock-Pot Spanish Rice and Desert Empanadas

image: Damned Delicious

  • Recipe: Taco Lettuce Wraps
  • Recipe: Crock-Pot Spanish (Mexican) Rice
  • Recipe: Dessert Empanadas

This is so darn easy and delicious. Cook up the taco filling while the rice is cooking in the slow cooker, and pack the leftovers for later in the week. The empanadas are a crowd favorite, but I cheat and buy ready-made dough discs that usually come frozen…in they go to the frier for a slow defrost.

Wednesday: Mexican Stuffed Shells with Watermelon Salsa

image: I Heart Naptime

  • Recipe: Mexican Stuffed Shells
  • Recipe: Watermelon Salsa

These pasta shells are my lasagna swap. This is another fridge or freezer meal that can be made on Sunday; many of the ingredients can be prepped ahead of time, which will cut your meal-prep time in half in during the busy week, as there is a bit of chopping involved. My suggestion is to cook the ground beef up while chopping the veggies. The watermelon salsa is a nice balance to the pasta, and it usually gets devoured in minutes.

Thursday: Burrito Bowl

image: Dinner: A Love Story

  • Recipe: Burrito Bowl

This meal has all the elements of what my son Nacho loves about Mexican food: rice and beans and in a bowl! If I were to put all these ingredients in a tortilla, it would not be touched. My son, like most kids, wants a visual, which is why this yummy dish is not only easy to make, it is beautiful. The recipe has a weekend and a weeknight version. Which means easy and easier. The recipe asks for the chicken to not be shortchanged as that may compromise the flavor—meaning cook as you put the bowls together. I marinate the chicken (on Sunday, of course!) in the spices that it calls for. OMG…it is so good when you eat it a few days later. The only ingredient I do not pre-make is the guacamole. Has to be fresh in my family. It takes all of five minutes to make, so I am not losing much time. I can get this bowl together in fifteen minutes.

Friday: Mexican Black Bean Pizza

image: She Wears Many Hats

  • Recipe: Mexican Pizza

I remember these pizzas from when I was a little one. They are a fun way for the kids to have their pizza and eat it too, with the Latin ingredients I always have in the fridge and pantry. For Sunday night prep, just add the ingredients: since my hijo will not do salsa, I chop up a few tomatoes and store along with the cheese and prepared meat (shredded pork or chorizo). This one meal is so simple to put together, especially when homework and baths are still on the agenda for the night.

Easy Baked Nachos (Bonus!)

image: Motherburg

  • Recipe: Easy Nachos for the Family

Okay, mamas—this is my own easy meal, and it is a huge hit. I do make my own corn tortilla chips, which adds about ten minutes to the recipe. However, since I do them Sunday night, I am not pressed for time the night I make the recipe. All I do is store them in a large re-sealable bag, and voila—they are ready for the night I serve these nachos. I use refried beans from the can to shake up our bean selection, and if I happen to roast a large chicken, I use that in place of the beans. You can easily swap restaurant-style store bought tortilla chips.

The mexican food diet

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