Healthy Mexican Food
For those of you who may be asking your self, is that possible? It is. Mexican food has a little bit of a bad rap here in the US because people often think of it in the context of fast food. Still, that is saying more traditional North American food is also unhealthy. It comes down to the preparation and the intent.
To go back to the roots, Mexican cuisine is a style of food that started in Mexico by indigenous groups as well as Spanish and other colonists, this colorful mix gives the food its vibrant flavor and amazing garnish.
Rice, beans, tortillas, and a wide variety of spices are commonly used in many Mexican dishes, and a range of different peppers. As for meats: beef, pork, chicken, and a range of fish are eaten. Mexican recipes vary from region to region, but many of the same original ideas are still associated with the cuisine around the world today. Mexican cuisine is often cooked in fat which is where it obtains the reputation as unhealthy.
Although authentic Mexican cuisine can be unhealthy, there are just as many good recipes available for healthy meals.
As we all know a healthy and balanced diet helps maintain or improve our overall health.
A good diet provides the body with essential nutrients: fluid, essential amino acids which Mexican food is known for, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and enough calories. A healthy diet can be achieved through a variety of foods of plant or animal origin. Many of which are found in the ingredients that appear in millions of kitchens daily, both in Mexican-American homes as well as those back home in Mexico.
Healthy diets provided us with the necessary energy without exposing our bodies to toxicity or excessive weight gain due to excessive consumption. A balanced diet (in addition to physical activity) is also important to reduce health risks, such as obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer.
Our cuisine provides use with much of what we need but it is up to us to take it a little bit further.
How can we do that?
Easy. One ingredient that can be easily replaced, fat, which is usually a staple in making dishes prepared with tortillas. Several Mexican recipes combine pan tortillas, such as taquitos, tacos, and even tostadas. While fried tortillas are usually the main part of the main meal, using oil to prepare them adds unhealthy fat and calorie intake. An alternative would be to use soft tortillas, such as making soft tacos rather than frying tortillas. There are also several recipes that feature fried tortillas without being deep fried, such as quesadillas or cooked chips.
Another problem that can make Mexican food unhealthy is the amount of sodium in the form of salt and rising agents that appear in the dishes, which gives the food like a strong flavor. Excessive use of salt and salt-based spices can be eliminated, but the flavor may remain with the use of Hot Chili Peppers and fresh vegetables such as onions and peppers. Rice can be prepared with low sodium chicken broth rather than using salt, and bean dishes can be prepared with the use of fresh seasonal ingredients as well.
Milk is another popular ingredient used commonly used in Mexican cuisine, along with other high-fat dairy products, such as cheese and sour cream.
Although these are essential ingredients in many popular recipes, dairy products can be replaced with low-fat or fat-free versions to reduce the amount of fat present in a dish. Using low-fat milk in a recipe rather than whole milk can reduce caloric intake by almost half, depending on the amount of milk and other dairy products used in the dish.
Milk and calcium have their place in our diets, but they can also be consumed in excess, with more affluence what was once seen as a traditional luxury product can now be purchased and consumed in larger quantities. The consumption of dairy products has historical and cultural dimensions, especially for the peoples of Mongolia, Africa and Northern Europe, wherever cattle, goat sores and sheep are raised. Europe, Australia, North and South America are now major consumers of dairy products. Consumption is growing in emerging countries as well.
This once limited consumption provides a greater risk. For example: Excessive calcium intake (more than 1500 mg of calcium per day) could promote prostate cancer. The World Health Organization recommends a maximum of 2 dairy products per day (about 500mg of calcium, which is equivalent to a 2 oz serving of cheese and a glass of milk or sour cream).
Eggs are one of the main ingredients in different breakfast dishes, and although they are healthy, many egg recipes rely on fat and add a lot to the calories of the recipe. Huevos rancheros, a popular dish around the world means eggs ranch-style, they are usually prepared using any eggs, oil, different salsas, and fried tortillas. Egg whites can be used rather than whole eggs, and tortillas can be prepared in the oven rather than in a frying pan with oil.
Fresh salsas and peppers can be added in place of high sodium condiments, and the dish will always come out tasting amazing. Green vegetables, allium plants (onion, garlic, scallion, shallot, leek, and chives), and cruciferous vegetables are key components of a healthy diet and they can be easily added to the mix to maintain that colorful nature of our dishes.
With the increase in the incidence of obesity occurring, it is important to find healthier substitutes but many of the most popular dishes are not unhealthy.
They are just prepared that way.
Because Mexican cuisine is well known for its high fat ingredients many see it as an unhealthy choice, yet it is important to understand that low-fat and fat-free alternatives are not only possible but are enjoyed daily in Mexico. Such alternatives still contain the flavor that our food is known for. A delicious meal doesn't have to be full of fat and healthy Mexican foods still taste amazing with the help of the right ingredients, fresh vegetables and spices.