Does Mexican Food Make You Fat?

You love tacos, enchiladas, and other tasty Mexican fare. But you worry that indulging in all that cheese, sour cream, and grease could lead to weight gain.

No need to give up your Mexican food fix! With smart choices, you can eat Mexican deliciously without expanding your waistline. This article reveals how to balance nutrition and satisfaction when eating south-of-the-border cuisine.

Understanding Traditional Mexican Cuisine

To start, learn what makes up authentic Mexican cooking:

  • Beans, corn, squash – These provide fiber, protein, vitamins.
  • Fresh veggies – Tomatoes, peppers, onions add nutrients.
  • Herbs and spices – Replace some fats and salt used in Americanized dishes.
  • Lean proteins – Eggs, chicken, fish used in moderation.
  • Smaller portions – Prevent overeating high-calorie foods.

This whole food foundation means traditional Mexican fare tends to be lower in unhealthy fats and sodium than Americanized versions. Keep this healthy balance in mind when making choices.

Choosing Dishes Wisely at Restaurants

Be menu smart at Mexican restaurants. Some dishes have added fat from:

  • Sour cream, cheese – High in saturated fat.
  • Lard, frying – Increase unhealthy fats.

Here are healthier options to pick:

  • Grilled or baked proteins – Fish, chicken, steak, shrimp.
  • Corn tortillas – More fiber, fewer calories than flour.
  • Load up on veggies – Tomatoes, lettuce, pico de gallo, avocado.
  • Black or pinto beans – Skip fatty meats like chorizo.
  • Skip chips and fried apps – Control calories.
  • Light dressing – Ask for salsa, not sour cream.

With wise customizations, you can enjoy Mexican flavors minus the dietary downsides.

Practicing Proper Portion Control

Whether dining out or at home, watch your portion sizes. Strategize with these tips:

  • Share family-style – Taste small amounts of different dishes.
  • Choose soft tacos or street tacos – Smaller than burritos.
  • Load up on low-cal veggies and salsa – Feel full without overeating.
  • Box up half before eating – Prevent overeating.
  • Skip chips and dips – They add calories fast.
  • Have a margarita, not a giant one – Quench your thirst without downing calories.

With mindful portions, you prevent overeating high-fat, high-calorie options.

Incorporating Mexican Flavors into Healthy Home Cooking

Inject Mexican zing into everyday healthy home dishes:

  • Fajita chicken breast and veggies – Skip the tortilla to cut carbs.
  • Roasted cauliflower tacos – Delicious meatless option with fiber.
  • Chicken tortilla soup with reduced-sodium broth and veggies – Cut back on salt.
  • Grilled fish tacos with cabbage and avocado – Healthy fat swap for sour cream.

With creative recipes, you can satisfy cravings for Mexican flavors as part of a balanced diet.

Signature Dishes to Enjoy Guilt-Free

Now that you know how to eat Mexican smartly, indulge in these satisfying favorites:



Chicken, steak or shrimp fajitas offer lean protein without heavy toppings. Load up on the grilled veggies instead of tortillas.



Fresh raw fish “cooked” in tangy lime juice provides a light, protein-packed appetizer.

Street Tacos

Small corn tortillas with a sprinkle of onion and cilantro provide the perfect no-fuss taco. Easy to keep portions controlled.

Tostada Salad

Crunchy tostada shell topped with lean protein, beans, light dressing and fresh veggies for a nutritious, lighter meal.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This savory soup lets you fill up on healthy veggies and lean chicken in flavorful broth. Pass on the hefty tortilla strips.

Yes, you absolutely can savor Mexican cuisine without sabotaging your healthy eating efforts!

What to Watch Out For on Menus

To balance Mexican flavor indulgence with nutrition, know which dishes to approach cautiously due to high fat from:

  • Nachos – Fatty meat, abundant cheese, salty chips. Share a small appetizer portion.
  • Quesadillas – Buttery griddled tortillas and gooey cheese pack in saturated fat. Stick to one wedge.
  • Chalupas – Fried corn shells piled with fatty meat and cheese add up calorie-wise. Go easy.
  • Chimichangas – Deep-fried burritos cram in refined carbs, cheese and grease. Make it an occasional splurge.

Being selective with these dishes can help offset their high-fat pitfalls. Use them as occasional treats rather than regular picks.

Tips for Preparing Healthier Fare at Home

Take full nutrition control by making Mexican dishes yourself:

  • Use lean proteins – Chicken breast, grass-fed beef, white fish.
  • Load up on fresh veggies – Peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes.
  • Cook with broths and avocado oil – Skip lard, butter, sour cream.
  • Choose whole grain tortillas – More fiber and nutrients than white flour.
  • Boost flavor with herbs and spices – Not extra oil, salt, cheese.

Getting creative in your kitchen lets you enjoy fabulous Mexican flavors while avoiding excess fat and calories. ¡Buen provecho!

Yes, You Can Maintain a Healthy Weight Eating Mexican Food!

With mindful choices, moderation and balance, you absolutely can indulge in Mexican cuisine without packing on pounds or compromising your health. By returning to more traditional cooking methods, choosing healthier restaurant options, controlling portions and preparing lighter fare at home, you can savor enchiladas, tacos and more while still maintaining your weight and nutrition goals.

Mexican food is all about celebration, family and joy. Learn to eat it in a way that nourishes your body, heart and soul. With a few simple strategies, you can master the art of enjoying Mexican deliciously and guilt-free!

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Bill Kalkumnerd
Bill Kalkumnerd

I am Bill, I am the Owner of HappySpicyHour, a website devoted to spicy food lovers like me. Ramen and Som-tum (Papaya Salad) are two of my favorite spicy dishes. Spicy food is more than a passion for me - it's my life! For more information about this site Click

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