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What Mexican food can I eat to lose weight?

Mexican food is beloved for its bold flavors, but it has a reputation for being heavy and indulgent. However, there are many healthy Mexican food options that can help you lose weight when eaten in moderation as part of an overall healthy diet and exercise plan.

Lean Protein Choices

Protein is essential for building and maintaining muscle mass which boosts metabolism to help burn more calories. Lean proteins are low in saturated fat and a smart choice. Try these options:

  • Chicken breast – Grilled, baked, or roasted with just a squeeze of lime and spices.
  • Fish – Grass-fed fish like tilapia, cod, or mahi-mahi prepared simply with herbs and lime.
  • Shrimp – Grilled or sautéed shrimp seasoned with garlic, cumin and chili powder.
  • Pork tenderloin – Marinated and roasted pork is very lean.
  • Beans – Kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, and lentils are excellent plant-based proteins.

Healthy Fats

Healthy fats help you feel satisfied on fewer calories to support weight loss. Good options include:

  • Avocados – Rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Enjoy sliced on salads, sandwiches or tacos.
  • Nuts and seeds – Almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, etc. Sprinkle on entrees or enjoy as snacks.
  • Olive oil – Saute vegetables or use as a marinade or dressing ingredient.
  • Cheese – Go easy on high-fat cheeses. Stick to 1-2 oz of queso fresco or Oaxacan string cheese.

Whole Grain Carbs

Choose carbs that provide more nutrients, fiber to help you feel full. Ideas:

  • Corn tortillas – Contain more fiber than white flour tortillas.
  • Brown rice – Nutrient-rich whole grain.
  • Quinoa – Highly nutritious whole grain that contains protein.
  • Oatmeal – Fiber & protein help you stay full longer.
  • Whole grain bread – Use for sandwiches in place of white bread.

Vegetable Powerhouses

Low in calories and full of volume, fiber, vitamins and minerals, vegetables are your diet essentials. Fill half your plate with these picks:

  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Peppers – red, green, yellow
  • Mushrooms
  • Zucchini
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Cabbage
  • Green beans

Fresh Fruit

Fruits make the perfect sweet treat and provide antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Great options include:

  • Watermelon
  • Grapefruit
  • Berries – strawberries, blueberries, raspberries
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Mango
  • Pineapple

Healthier Cooking Methods

The cooking method can make a big difference in how healthy a Mexican dish ends up. Use these tips:

  • Grill proteins and vegetables
  • Roast veggies in the oven
  • Saute in a non-stick pan using a spray of olive oil
  • Steam vegetables until just tender
  • Skip frying – try baking tortilla chips or oven-frying fish

Lighter Ingredients

Use lighter versions of these high-calorie ingredients in moderation:

  • Cheese – part-skim versions, small portions of stronger cheeses
  • Sour cream – fat-free or low-fat
  • Mayonnaise – lite
  • Guacamole – use less oil when mashing

Healthy Mexican Recipes for Weight Loss

Putting together all the healthy ingredients, here are some delicious Mexican recipes to help you lose weight:

Recipe Ingredients
Chicken Fajitas Chicken breast, onions, peppers, corn tortillas
Shrimp and Avocado Salad Shrimp, avocado, tomatoes, lime juice
Mexican Stuffed Peppers Ground turkey, brown rice, black beans, peppers
Vegetable Enchiladas Zucchini, spinach, beans, enchilada sauce, corn tortillas
Baja Fish Tacos Baked fish, cabbage, pico de gallo, corn tortillas
Chicken and Bean Burrito Bowl Chicken, pinto beans, brown rice, salsa

Healthy Mexican Dining Out Tips

With a few simple strategies, you can enjoy dining at Mexican restaurants while maintaining your weight loss goals:

  • Start with vegetable soup or a salad with lime juice dressing
  • Choose grilled lean proteins like shrimp, chicken or steak
  • Ask for extra veggies instead of rice or chips
  • Order corn tortillas instead of flour
  • Share or take home part of high-calorie items like tacos, enchiladas, burritos
  • Substitute beans, extra salsa or vegetables for cheese, sour cream and guacamole
  • Have a sparkling water with lime instead of sugary drinks


Mexican cuisine offers endless options for healthy, waistline-friendly meals. Focus on lean proteins, vegetables, fresh fruit, whole grains and healthy fats. Use lighter cooking methods and limit high-calorie add-ons like cheese and sour cream. With delicious recipes made from fresh, quality ingredients, you can enjoy authentic Mexican flavor while losing weight.