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Mexican food is not exactly known for being diet food in all of it’s fried, cheesy glory, but here are 5 ways to make Mexican food healthier so that it can be a part of your weight loss and healthy lifestyle.

I love pretty much all food (except bananas – blech!), but Mexican food has a special place in my heart.

I grew up in a small town in New Mexico, so Mexican food was pretty much a staple.

Green chiles went into just about everything, our elementary classes would have parents come in to teach us how to make homemade tamales, and don’t even get me started on my love of sopapillas.

There’s just one problem…Mexican food tends to be super unhealthy.

So, I have tried to come up with ways to keep the flavors, but make it a little healthier.

How to Make Healthy Mexican Food

1. I add more vegetables whenever I can.

In the main dish and also as a side dish. I make this Mexican Vegetable Skillet all the time instead of just the traditional rice and beans.

2. I make it at home where I can control the ingredients.

Adding spinach, zucchini, and black beans to enchiladas, and using leaner meats like ground turkey (like in this Easy Turkey & Black Bean Enchiladas). And I make homemade “refried” beans that taste delicious and are way healthier (and they freeze great, so I make a lot at once and have it ready when I need it).

Easy Turkey & Black Bean Enchiladas : So Very Blessed

3. I use a lot less cheese.

I love cheese, but I’ve found that I really can’t tell all that much of a difference when I use less of it. Now, I CAN tell a difference when I use fat-free cheese and I am not a fan, though skim, low-fat cheeses are okay. I just prefer using the regular stuff and using less of it. Sometimes I shred it myself, but if I buy it pre-shredded, I always get the finely shredded stuff because I can use less and not notice it.

4. I bake instead of frying.

This is the one thing that will just never be the same. There is a certain crisp that I love that only comes from frying food – chimichangas, sopapillas, etc. There are some foods you just can’t healthify without losing the deliciousness. However, I skip frying enchiladas because I can’t tell much of a difference and there are some foods that I can bake and I still enjoy the texture (like taquitos). And, fortunately, I just don’t enjoy tortilla chips, so those aren’t much of a temptation for me, though I do love dipping things in salsa, so I try to have carrot sticks, jicama, or whole wheat crackers around for that.

5. I skip the tortilla & make it a bowl.

Instead of making a taco or burrito, I follow Chipotle’s lead and made a burrito bowl instead with all of the fillings that I love, like in this Quinoa & Black Bean Burrito Bowl Recipe.

These Quinoa & Black Bean Burrito Bowls make a great healthy lunch or meatless dinner, full of fresh veggies and protein.

Hopefully, that gives you a few ideas to cut some calories!

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Mexican food is not exactly known for being diet food in all of it's fried, cheesy glory, but here are 5 ways to make Mexican food healthier so that it can be a part of your weight loss and healthy lifestyle.