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What to eat at a Mexican Restaurant


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Good Morning!

My friends birthday is this weekend and she has chosen to a Mexican restaurant for dinner. Obviously, fried chips and chimichangas dont fit in my diet anymore. LOL Does anyone have a suggestion on what the eat? I've heard the fajitas are the best thing to get, however when I checked the calories on the counter they were very high.

 

Any tips or ideas are welcome.

 

thanks in advance and have a great day

 

21 Replies (last)

Mexican restaurants often have some sort of seafood - like grilled fish, just make sure the sauce is a salsa or something like that, something not creamy.

Regular tacos would probably be fine - minus the sour cream and made with chicken.  Guacamole, while high in calories, is quite good for you - Avocados are a great source of the 'good fat', and the rest of guacamole is just veggies, so you really can't go wrong. 

Most restaurants also have low-calorie menus or items on the menu if you ask nicely. 

Or, just have your chimichanga (I know I can't resist them!).  Order it and ask for a to-go box when it comes.  Before eating it, just cut it in half and put half in the box to have for a treat the next day or day after.  Order extra veggies or something so you'll feel full.  And, if you are really motivated, do 10 minutes extra cardio or an extra set on weights or something to burn the extra calories that eating out will inevitably add.

#2  
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When I have mexican I always order the chicken fajitas(no guac, no sour cream). I ask for a small plate and I take a portion of the chicken/onion/ bell peppers, about 1/3 of the rice, 1/3 of the beans, all of the salad and as much of the salsa as I want. I don't eat the tortillas. I always have a ton of chicken to take home ( I don't take anything else home) and I leave feeling full and satisfied.

Often there is a taco salad on the menu, which usually has some meat, cheese, guac and sour cream on top of lettuce.  There may also be some refried beans, which are usually made with lard, so you don't want those.  You can order this and ask for everything on the side, usually, so you can portion how you want to.  Friends are usually quite willing to take what you don't want, or you can take it home with you.

Sometimes there is a diet area in the menu, or you can maybe order a child's plate (though a lot of restaurants don't let you do that any more), or even a la carte.  If you order a taco, then dump it out of it's shell, it should be pretty okay, especially if you use it as a topping for a side salad, which most restaurants offer.

Mexican food is really high in sodium, so be sure to drink lots of water to help alleviate it.  Eating hot salsa (usually pure veggies) should help in that regard!

I think chicken fajitas are fine, because you can control how you fill them up. Tell them to hold the sour cream and guacamole though.

Depending on how "authentic" the Mexican restaurant is, you can have a really healthy meal.  There is often some kind of grilled meat (called asada).  Chicken or fish or shrimp would be slightly preferable to beef, but any grilled meat is fine.  Ask for "whole beans" rather than refried and order corn tortillas, not flour.  If you are really dedicated, you can ask them to hold the sour cream, but I would eat the guacamole, as someone else said, it is a good source of healthy fats.  I would avoid eating very much rice, since most Mexican rice has a decent amount of fat added when they make it.  Portions are often huge, so getting a box at the beginning of the meal is a great idea, out of sight, out of mind.  Eat lots of salsa, watch the beer/margaritas, and you should be able to get out for a decent nutrition/calorie count.  Watch out for the chips and salsa (my downfall).

I usually stick to the chicken fajitas- with the veggies, black beans instead of refried, and I usually substitute the rice for either extra veggies or black beans. No sour cream, but I do use some guacamole (healthy fats, right? :) No tortillas either. The chicken and veggies are probably cooked in a lot of oil, but hey, you can only do so much, right?

Another good choice is a salad with chicken, veggies, guac, and use salsa for your dressing. 

Grilled chicken tacos, no cheese or sour cream, lots of tomatillo sauce and pico! And def. see if you can get whole beans - authentic refried beans have delicious, delicious lard in them :)

Thank you all so much! I feel better equipped to make a food choice.

I love this site!

Des

I'm going to go against the grain and say this.

Eat what you like. One meal isn't going to undermine all your hard work unless you decide to eat like that every day. You're only going to live once, you should enjoy it. I lost 20 pounds....I still eat fast food time to time, energy drinks, and chocolate bars. Not every day....but you have to eat the things you enjoy sometimes.

^^^^
I second Alex, it's your friend's birthday relax a little bit and enjoy yourself. Everyone needs a free day once in a while you could make that be yours, you'll feel more relaxed and so will your friends. My tip is try to eat light the rest of the day.

#11  
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It is possible to eat 'what you like' and 'enjoy yourself' and still be mindful of what you are putting in your mouth. I very much enjoy going out to dinner- we go every Friday night. The whole idea is to learn how to make sensible choices and learn behavior that will allow you to eat what you want and enjoy it and still be healthy (and...dare I say, thin). Choosing not to eat 1500 calories worth of food in one meal does not mean you are not enjoying yourself, eating what you want, or relaxing.

Original Post by surfee:

It is possible to eat 'what you like' and 'enjoy yourself' and still be mindful of what you are putting in your mouth. I very much enjoy going out to dinner- we go every Friday night. The whole idea is to learn how to make sensible choices and learn behavior that will allow you to eat what you want and enjoy it and still be healthy (and...dare I say, thin). Choosing not to eat 1500 calories worth of food in one meal does not mean you are not enjoying yourself, eating what you want, or relaxing.

 It would be pretty hard to eat 1500 calories in one meal. That would have to include drinks and so on.

Every single decision you make in your life doesn't have to be based upon calories. Even if she was able to eat 1500 calories worth of food, that isn't even a pound. Doing that once every few weeks or months isn't going to ruin her life. I'm not saying you can't enjoy eating things that are good for you, but sometimes you have to not worry.

In reality we're talking a maximum difference of maybe 200 calories in her dish. Which is my point here. She doesn't have to choose the healthiest thing on the menu. She should choose to eat what she wants to eat. Not have to worry about "No cheese no sauce no this no that" because in reality one meal wont make a difference. The only way it does is if you let one meal turn into two...then three...so on.

I've lost 20 pounds (about 10 more to go) and I still eat fast food, energy drinks, and candy bars. Not every day of course, but those are probably FAR worse than anything she is going to eat one night at dinner.

#13  
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Original Post by alex4422:

Original Post by surfee:

It is possible to eat 'what you like' and 'enjoy yourself' and still be mindful of what you are putting in your mouth. I very much enjoy going out to dinner- we go every Friday night. The whole idea is to learn how to make sensible choices and learn behavior that will allow you to eat what you want and enjoy it and still be healthy (and...dare I say, thin). Choosing not to eat 1500 calories worth of food in one meal does not mean you are not enjoying yourself, eating what you want, or relaxing.

 It would be pretty hard to eat 1500 calories in one meal. That would have to include drinks and so on.

Every single decision you make in your life doesn't have to be based upon calories. Even if she was able to eat 1500 calories worth of food, that isn't even a pound. Doing that once every few weeks or months isn't going to ruin her life. I'm not saying you can't enjoy eating things that are good for you, but sometimes you have to not worry.

In reality we're talking a maximum difference of maybe 200 calories in her dish. Which is my point here. She doesn't have to choose the healthiest thing on the menu. She should choose to eat what she wants to eat. Not have to worry about "No cheese no sauce no this no that" because in reality one meal wont make a difference. The only way it does is if you let one meal turn into two...then three...so on.

I've lost 20 pounds (about 10 more to go) and I still eat fast food, energy drinks, and candy bars. Not every day of course, but those are probably FAR worse than anything she is going to eat one night at dinner.

 Actually, It's not that difficult to eat 1500 calories in one meal if the meal is deep fried (like chimichanga's), covered in full fat cheese sauce, comes with a half a plate of refried beans (beans mashed up with lard) and a half a plate of fried (with lard) spanish rice. Oh, and add the deep fried tortilla chips, sour cream and guacamole.

This  Don Pablo chimicanga alone has over 1000 calories:

http://caloriecount.about.com/calories-don-pa blos-chicken-chimichanga-i60246 

We are definitely NOT talking about a maximum difference of 200 calories, we are talking about trimming away 700+ calories.

I am happy for you that you have lost 20 pounds and still eat fast food, that is completely irrelevant to what the original poster asked in her question. You might try looking up nutritional information for some restaurant chains...I think you would be very surprised.

If they have it, go for the ceviche.  It's seafood and veggies, in lime juice and seasonings.  Most places have it as an appetizer, but I have no problems ordering it as a meal.  Just make sure you go easy on the tortilla chips, 'cuz they're fried and sooo bad for you.  I generally eat mine with a fork, and just have a few chips with the salsa at the beginning of the meal.  Have fun! :-)

it is definitely NOT hard to eat 1500 calories in one meal at a restaurant if you just order whatever. 

Sticking to the mexican theme go to Taco bell and order the soft taco supreme combo, 2 taco supremes, and a fries/nacho supreme and bam almost 1100 calories (not including a soda).

I just had a quick glance at Chilli's nutritional menu (they are kind of Mexican)

http://www.brinker.com/gr/nutritional/chilis_ nutrition_menu.pdf

Fire Grilled Chicken Fajita Quesadilla - sounds like it could be healthy right? 1480 calories and is without the sour cream and guacamole and whatever they serve on the side.

On the contrary ordering something from their guiltless menu and you will end up on average about 400 calories, which means you could even indulge a little in some of the shared appetizers and maybe even have a margarita.

So while I agree with having a good time out for your friend's birthday you can defintely do it without ruining days of hard work, if you have been dieting for a while having a big greasy mexican meal could very well make you feel ill and completely ruin your night.

Does the restuarant you are going to have nutrional information? If not you can try and compare their menu selections with the nutrional information from other places.  The reason Fajita's can get high in calories is because the Tortillas run about 100calories each so if you can avoid something that requires all the "bread" you are better off.

I followed berryblue's lead and went to On the Border's site.  Their nutritional info is here:http://www.brinker.com/gr/nutritional/OTB_Nut ritionBW.pdf.  You can eat there really well if you order something like grilled chicken with veggies and stay away from tortillas, rice, beans or chips.  For example, the Grilled Fajita Chicken with black beans and grilled veggies sounds delicious and is only 570 calories.  The fish tacos with black beans and grilled veggies are only 490.  Not bad for a meal at a mexican restaurant.

But they are fairly commercial, so will have more options than a locally owned restaurant typically will.If you know where you are going, definitely see if you can find their website and see if they have nutritional info posted, or even call to see if they have a clue (many places don't).

I agree that it is okay, good even, to let loose a little for special occasions, but there is something to be said for coming out of it feeling like you made a major accomplishment by choosing wisely.  All things in moderation, eh? 

I can see all points of view on how to manage "special occasions" -- either go for broke and start anew the next day, or minimize the damage and order/eat as much in your eating plan as possible.  Each person needs to decide what works best for her/himself.

For me, I have lots of weight to lose, and I am going slowly (about 6 pounds per month).  Since I have been gaining, on average, about 6 pounds per year, that means that it will take me about 2 years to get back to my healthy weight.  So, I am living as I will need to to maintain weight once I am at goal, so I want to minimize the "blowout" events to what seems reasonable on a maintenance diet to a few occasions a year.

In the meantime, I like to go out and socialize, and want to continue to do that on a regular basis.  That means having a plan on dealing with food temptations in advance.  I usually decide if I want wine or a dessert, and plan my entire day around being able to do that and still be within my calorie target.  For occasions that are slightly more important than just going out to dinner on Friday night, I allow myself to go up to maintenance calories.  But I have no interest in going over maintenance calories either now when I am trying to lose weight, or longterm once the weight is lost.

Also, I find that if I am satisfied with my choices, nobody else even notices what I do or don't eat.  So, I don't think anyone needs to worry about "spoiling the party" by making healthy food/drink choices.

Well, I am a No S eater (Reinhard Engles plan of three meals a day, no sweets - snacks or seconds EXCEPT on  Saturdays, Sundays and Special days. This common sense plan has been what I was looking for - for YEARS, and it was recommended by this board. It has been the easiest and smartest eating plan I have ever encountered, who knew - three meals a day?)

So, I would enjoy the celebration. It is a special day.....

Just don't go crazy, there are a lot of healthy choices, enjoy them. There is no need to even make mention that you are "dieting".

SRSmile

#19  
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I second the cerviche.

Watch the margaritas. A frozen marg can easily be 400-500 cal. If you're drinking, sip on a good tequila straight up instead.

 

Ditto on the Margeritas - they  are KILLER!  Dont binge on the chips!! go crazy on the salsa or pico de gallo or see if they have seviche. if you get fajitas ask them to cook it in oil - the butter adds tons of extra calories!  beans r good for u just like avacado - protein - just watch how much u intake.  check out a grocery store n look at calories for chips, tortillas, beans, etc and figure out how much or exactly what u will order b4 u go to the restaurant - and if what they bring exceeds the aount you rationed just seperate it on your plate before begining to eat.  know your measurements - rationing is key! and if you want the fried ice cream just ration it in  good luck and enjoy your meal! : ) 

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