There are a lot of healthy foods that go into Tex-Mex cooking – beans, tomatoes, peppers, corn, cheese, lean beef, fish, chicken, and pork. But, even though it includes these good ingredients, you still need to be careful in how you prepare your Tex-Mex if you want avoid a lot of calories and fat. Here are a few tips.
- Include beans and tomatoes – no fat here.
Whenever you cook or order Tex-Mex, make sure to include a generous helping of beans, which are a good source of protein and fiber. Tomatoes are also a very nutritious food, loaded with vitamins and other healthy nutrients, as well as having no fat. Focus on dishes with tomatoes or tomato sauce.
- Bake instead of fry.
Many Tex-Mex dishes are fried, and this adds a lot of calories and fat. To avoid this, give the food a light coating of oil and then bake it.
You can still make a crispy taco by covering a non-stick skillet with some canola cooking spray and then warming the tortilla on a medium heat just until it starts to get a little crispy, while flipping it often.
- Cut down on the cheese and sour cream.
To help reduce the calories of a Tex-Mex dish with cheese, you can either use regular cheese, but half the amount, or use a reduced-fat cheese at the regular amount. With the sour cream, try using a fat-free version there as well.
- Go with chicken or fish fillings.
These are generally the best because they contain the least amount of fat. But you want to make sure there is no skin on the chicken – that’s where the calories are – and that the fish is not breaded or fried which, again, adds calories.
If you are going to use cuts of meat, try to make them as lean as possible, and, as mentioned, try to avoid frying. The filling with the highest fat and calorie count is chorizo, a chili-flavored sausage. Two ounces of the stuff has 22 grams of fat and 260 calories. So, if you are watching your waistline, avoid the chorizo, or use it sparingly.
- Go with corn tortillas.
Corn tortillas have only one-third the calories of flour tortillas. Plus, with corn tortillas, only 10 percent of the calories come from fat, as compared to 30 percent with flour tortillas. But again, avoid frying either one.
If you’re careful of your girl-ish – or even boy-ish – figure and want to watch calories, just let your Mattito’s waiter know and we’ll suggest some more calorie-conscious Tex-Mex dishes.