Let the chimi see the changa!
This week, we’ve got two great but healthy Mexican takeaway treats. Beef Nachos vs. Mushroom Quesadillas.
Naughty – Beef Nachos
Nachos are a great choice as a starter and that’s naughty enough. But if you push the boat out and have main-course nachos… well, that’s pretty serious indulgence!
When you have nachos as a main, you’ll generally choose from a range of tasty ingredients such as beef chilli, steak, chicken or vegetable. And all of these have their own nutritional benefits and drawbacks – beef is higher in iron, but also in fat, while chicken, and vegetables even more so, are lower-fat choices.
The stars of the show are the nachos themselves – those crispy little tortilla chips and all that cheese, that top your meal. Sadly, these are what let the nutritional side down.
But who could possibly blame you? (source)
For a start, although the cornmeal they’re made from is nutritious (it contains healthy pigments that are important for healthy eyes), tortilla chips are deep fried, soaking up plenty of oil in the process.
Then they’re smothered with cheese before being popped under the grill until the cheese melts and gets all super-gooey. And yes, that cheese contributes another hefty dose of fat, including saturated fat, as well as salt.
If it MUST be nachos, go for the veggie version (often based around beans, which are fantastically nutritious), and do a bit of ‘damage limitation’ by asking your server to go easy on the cheese.
Choose your ‘extras’ carefully, too. Sour cream is 20 percent fat (to put it in context, that’s the same as single or pouring cream).
Guacamole is tasty but calorific too – the fats it contains are ‘good fats’ that are healthy if you only eat them in moderation. And salsa is positively ‘health food’ – I eat it by the bucketful when I have Mexican!
Nice – Mushroom Quesadillas
Quesadillas are probably your best bet if you just want a light bite – and they’re certainly lower in calories than a lot of the other choices on the Mexican menu.
A quesadilla is another variation of the ‘something wrapped in a soft tortilla’ theme that features so much in Mexican cuisine.
Delicious and healthy. (source)
First you take a flour tortilla and spread one half with the filling of your choice. The filling varies – chicken, pork and vegetables (especially mushroom) are all popular, but it’ll always include grated cheese as well.
The tortilla is folded in half to make a half-moon shape, and cooked on a dry griddle pan (see, no added oil) until the filling heats through, the cheese melts, and the surface of the tortilla picks up those nice little griddle marks.
Then all that’s left to do is cut it into wedges and enjoy! Because no oil is added, it’s healthier than fried tortilla dishes like chimichangas.
If you want to make it nicer, you could ask for less cheese – so long as there’s enough to stick the quesadilla together, you’ll be fine. Add a big salad with a low-fat or no-fat dressing, some salsa (high in antioxidants and vitamins) and that’s a pretty healthy mexican feast!