We all love nachos, fajitas and fiesta dips, but we also know that many of these dishes come with a high nutritional cost. It doesn’t have to be that way. With an emphasis on bold spices and fresh, lean ingredients, it’s easy to enjoy a delicious fiesta without guilt.
The basic elements of Mexican-inspired cuisine deliver robust flavors without the extra fat, sodium and calories. Bring this bright, expressive taste into your family’s everyday diet by stocking up on all the zesty essentials and with a few smart tweaks to standard dishes.
Here are simple ways to make every day a fiesta with nutritious options:
Start on the right foot
An otherwise healthy fiesta can be derailed by kicking off with a 6-ounce serving of queso blanco, which typically has 300 calories. Instead, substitute with fresh tomato salsa, which generally has only 50 calories in the same serving size.
Don’t be tricked by toppings
A standard serving of nachos can have nearly 600 calories in a serving of 6-8 chips. To cut back on calories, use better-for-you toppings like low-fat cheese, fat-free refried beans, no-salt-added pinto beans and grilled veggies for topping nachos.
Be choosy with your chips
Stock up on corn chips rather than tortilla chips, which can have twice as many calories in a serving of 6-8 chips. Make sure you check sodium content before throwing chips in your cart, though, and go unsalted when you can.
Swap in yogurt
Instead of using regular sour cream, which can be loaded with cholesterol, opt for fat-free plain Greek yogurt. It’s just as creamy, and one cup typically has less than 10% of the recommended daily allowance of cholesterol and is a good source of protein.
Get extra fiber
Try substituting meats with lentils, which will add extra fiber to your meal. One cup of lentils can add more than 50 percent of the recommended daily intake of fiber.
Don’t skip dessert
For a dairy-free twist on dessert, whip up some avocado freeze. Simply throw avocado, water, sugar and lime juice in a food processer and then freeze overnight. This creamy fiesta-finisher, with only 1 gram of saturated fat in a half cup, is a great alternative to ice cream, which can have as much as 35 grams of needless saturated fat in the same serving.
The whole family will love the spicy and zesty flavor of meals cooked with a little Mexican inspiration. You will love knowing you’ve served meals prepared with smart, delicious ingredients for your family and yourself.