Mexican food has an unfairly bad reputation for being too high in fat and calories. I admit there are several Mexican dishes that meet this description, but there are also many ways to have healthy Mexican food. This time, I’m going to share some tips and recipes that prove that you can have your Mexican pie and eat it too!

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Healthy Mexican Food | My Heart Of Mexico

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Recently, I realized that although I workout every day, my eating habits were getting the best of me. So I decided to go on a self-imposed 4-week healthy eating challenge.

This healthy eating plan only required me to stay away from junk food, which is easy, but I also had to tweak my daily menu to keep it as healthy as possible.

The problem is I live in Mexico, which means I’m always surrounded by delicious food, such as tacos, tamales, sopes, gorditas, picaditas, enfrijoladas, enmoladas, chiles rellenos, carnitas, barbacoa, chicharron, and the like.

Unfortunately, many of those yummy dishes are fatty, deep-fried, salty, and probably not supportive of my healthy eating goals. Ugh.

But fear not! I’ve found some very useful tips and recipes that will keep waistlines in check and neither you nor I will have to miss out on any delicious Mexican treats.

How To Make Healthy Mexican Food You Will Love

1. Choose corn tortillas instead of flour

I’ve received several comments from people that prefer flour to corn tortillas. I know flour tortillas might taste good to you, but the truth is they’re not as healthy as corn. 

And please don’t get me started on taco shells!

Corn tortillas are gluten-free and lower in calories, saturated fat and sodium, so they’re definitely healthier than flour. And taco shells.

You should know the only way to have a proper taco is in a corn tortilla, not in a taco shell or flour tortillas. If you want healthy and real Mexican food, corn is the only way to go!

Try this 3-Ingredient Mexican Corn Tortillas by Isabel Orozco at Isabel Eats.

Healthy Mexican Recipes | My Heart Of Mexico

Try this classic Corn Tortillas recipe by Mely Martinez at Mexico In My Kitchen.

Corn tortillas recipe

2. Don’t top everything with cheese or cream

I’ve noticed that for some reason, there’s a common belief that all Mexican dishes should be topped with grated cheese or cream.

People, in case you didn’t know, most dishes in Mexico are topped with neither cheese nor cream. I think restaurants started doing that to appeal to foreign tastes.

Just so you know, simply throwing dairy on top of a dish does not make it Mexican. But it does make it less healthy.

Of course, there are certain Mexican dishes that call for a little cream on top, or perhaps for some crumbled feta cheese or queso fresco. Quesadillas also have cheese in them, but it doesn’t have to be the main ingredient.

As far as I’m concerned, salsa is the only proper way to top a Mexican dish. But if you’re not into spicy food, there are other authentic and healthy Mexican toppings you can try. Here are just a few of them:

  • Avocado (diced or sliced)
  • Guacamole
  • Pico de gallo
  • Crumbled white feta cheese
  • Chopped onion and cilantro
  • Lime juice

Those are all much healthier options that heavy cream or cheese.

Try these Marinated Flank Steak Tacos with Pico de Gallo by Isabel Orozco at Isabel Eats.

marinated-flank-steak-tacos-by-isabel-eats

Try these surprising Hibiscus Tacos with Salsa and Feta Cheese by Karla at Mexican Food Memories.

Healthy Mexican Recipes | My Heart Of Mexico

3. Eat beans

The three basic ingredients of old-fashioned Mexican cooking are corn, chilies, and beans. So if you want an authentic and healthy Mexican food experience, you need to include beans.

Beans can be thrown in soups and salads, or they can be served on the side with stews, tacos, tamales, or any other Mexican dish.

Beans are also packed with fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, so they’re generally considered a superfood. Dry beans are especially  nutritious, but canned beans will also do.

A plate of cooked beans, with tortillas and salsa on the side, is an authentic Mexican delicacy!

Try this classic Frijoles de la Olla bean recipe by Mely Martinez at Mexico In My Kitchen.

frijoles-de-la-olla-by-mexicoinmykitchen

Try this very healthy Cooked Pinto Beans recipe by Leslie Limon at La Cocina de Leslie.

Healthy Mexican Recipes | My Heart Of Mexico

4. Include veggies

Mexico has a wide variety of native vegetables, such as nopal cactus, chayote, jicama, squash, tomatillos, and so on. I know most Mexican veggies are only available in Mexico, but it’s a fact that traditional Mexican dishes always include at least one or two of those veggies.

Simply remember that you can’t have Mexican food without vegetables. Veggies are always present in soups, stews, and even taco mixes. Mushrooms and squash blossoms are prized as quesadilla fillings, and sweet potatoes are made into dessert. Veggies are everywhere in Mexican food!

If you want to have a real Mexican dinner, make sure you include at least two kinds of vegetables. And that’s a very healthy tip!

Try this Cuernavaca-Style Cucumber Salad by Douglas Cullen at Mexican Food Journal.

Healthy Mexican Recipes | My Heart Of Mexico

Try this Easy Steamed Squash Recipe by Mely Martínez at Mexico In My Kitchen.

Healthy Mexican Recipes | My Heart Of Mexico

5. Try baked instead of fried

A lot of Mexican dishes call for frying something- tortillas, masa, churros, you name it. However, as much as I love Mexican food, I know frying is not the healthiest cooking method.

Whenever possible, try to substitute frying with baking. For example, you can make your own baked tortilla chips instead of buying a greasy bag of them. Also, when ordering at a Mexican restaurant, ask about dishes that are not fried but baked.

Try this baked huevos rancheros recipe by Miz Helen.

Healthy Mexican Recipes | My Heart Of Mexico

Try this delicious Mexican Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Granola recipe by Isabel Orozco at Isabel Eats.

Healthy Mexican Recipes | My Heart Of Mexico

Healthy Mexican Recipes You Will Love

As a special treat, I have asked my favorite Mexican food bloggers to share a few more healthy recipes with you, my readers. Take your pick and enjoy!

Healthy Mexican Recipes | My Heart Of Mexico

Do you know any another healthy Mexican recipe? Share the link in the comments!

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27 thoughts on “How To Make Healthy Mexican Food You Will Love

  1. Hi Fabiola! Thanks for the tips! It’s like with pasta, people tend to pour cream in it, but in Italy, most pasta dishes do not contain cream… one question: how did feta cheese become so common in Mexican cooking? ❤️Marina

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually, feta cheese would be a substitute of Mexican panela cheese, which is rare outside of Mexico. Panela cheese is very soft and white, and there’s also queso fresco, which is very crumbly. There’s actually a huge variety of Mexican cheeses.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so much for featuring my Baked Huevos Rancheros, what a nice surprise! I just love your blog and see so many recipes that I want to try. Hope you are having a great week and thanks so much for your visit and your kindness. I will be seeing you again real soon to get some of these awesome recipes!
    Miz Helen

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Fabiola, that’s a great post! I will try to make my own tortillas in the future, as I prefer having the ingredients under control.

    I usually top off my burritos, wraps, tacos etc with soy yoghurt and homemade guacamole. Only on a few occassions I use cheese. The soy yoghurt gives it a neat extra layer of taste, as it is lightly sweet 🙂 – oh and of course I add plenty of hot sauce 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You are absolutely right! People associate Mexican food with “fried” and full of unhealthy fat. It doesn’t have to be this way to enjoy the delicious, healthy food combinations available to create Mexican meals. Your examples prove my point. For those who like sour cream, one can substitute non fat organic greek yogurt and mix it with organic salsa (and a touch of hot sauce if desired.) This adds a little healthy protein and probiotics (healthy gut bacteria) to the meal and helps satisfy the need for SAUCE.

    Keep up the good work. As you see, challenges will constantly show their “ugly faces,” but persistence and SELF VALUE will overcome them.

    Stay healthy and happy! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As true Mexican food lover … I am thrilled to read all the fabulous tips for making Mexican food healthier!!!!
    My problem though how can you not top everything with queso y crema .. That’s what makes it Mexican LoL 😂 … I recently discovered Greek yogurt and I use it as sour cream …. I guess I’ll try feta cheese but come on give me a break…. A w e s o m e read!!! 💗😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lol lol lol 😀 In Mexico, we just can’t understand how people would rather top tacos with queso and crema instead of using a good salsa. But if you insist, queso fresco is a Mexican-approved option, but topping things with shredded yellow cheese is a major no-no! 🙂

      Like

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