Tex-Mex Food Ideas for Diabetics

Posted in Healthy Eating

You may love Tex-Mex food, but if you are diabetic, you have to watch what you eat, particularly keeping an eye on the carbs and fats.

That doesn’t mean you have to give up on Tex-Mex completely because there are options out there that are low in calories and low in carbohydrates, foods such as beans, grilled vegetables and chicken. There is also salsa, made with tomatoes, herbs and spices.

Here is a little checklist you can use to help you know what to eat and what not to eat

Here’s the bad stuff for diabetics:

  1. Meals made with fried tortillas, such as chimichangas, taquitos and empanadas
  2. Refried beans with cheese
  3. Sour cream
  4. Too many tortilla chips
  5. Cocktails
  6. Meals made with ground beef
  7. Big platters of nachos

Here’s what you should eat instead:

  1. Fillings made of beans, grilled chicken or grilled steak
  2. Meals made with soft flour tortillas, such as burritos, tostadas, and carnitas
  3. Grilled lime-flavored shrimp
  4. Bean enchiladas with a little cilantro and onions
  5. Salsas
  6. Sautéed veggies
  7. Guacamole in small quantities is OK, as is avocado salad
  8. Grilled chicken or steak fajitas
  9. Salads with grilled chicken
  10. Tortilla soup

So, for example, if you want that margarita, you can replace the Triple Sec with orange extract and Ciroc vodka. You still get a little sweetness and liquor but without all the extra sugar.

If you want to make a taco, try slow cooking some skinless chicken breasts in a crockpot with enchilada sauce and green chilies and onions. You can put them on whole wheat tortillas with lettuce and tomatoes and a little (just a little) sour cream and cheese.

You can make nachos without using any tortilla chips at all. Just grab some pickled jalapeno slices, sprinkle a little cheddar cheese on top and microwave.

If you like enchiladas, you can try them with roasted vegetables. In this recipe, you fill the corn tortillas with a medley of roasted and cooked vegetables, such as pinto beans, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, and mix them up with a variety of spices such as paprika, cumin, chili powder, cilantro, and garlic.

Or you could try a version of guacamole made with zucchini instead of avocado. It’s about 100 calories and six grams of fat lower than the real thing.

This is the beauty of Tex-Mex: it can be modified to fit any taste and just about any diet. If you visit your local Mattito’s and you have dietary restrictions or desires, just let your waiter know: we’ll do everything we can to ensure our Tex-Mex cuisine is served in the way you want and/or need.

Image by Elizabeth (Flickr: Chicken Soft Tacos from Panchero's) [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons