Cinco de Mayo has been completely embraced by the American public and as with any holiday, food and drink are the focus of the celebration. What follows is a guideline you can use to try and keep from falling of the wagon.
What To Drink
If you like margaritas, your best bet is to order it on the rocks. You will save about 20 grams of carbs and nearly 100 calories compared to the frozen version, bringing it in at around 180 calories and 9 carbs. Beware of the fishbowl-sized drinks. They may seem like a great deal, but you'll be consuming far more calories than you realize.
What To Eat
The following comparisons were put together using On The Border's nutrition information. For an appetizer, nothing tastes better with a margarita than something salty or cheesy. You could go with the grande fajita nachos at 1,970 calories for the entire order -- you'd probably share -- or the seasoned ground beef empanadas at 1,150 calories.
Instead, why not have chips and salsa with a bowl of chile con queso? The whole table can munch and enjoy, and the total calories for the whole thing is less than 1,000. Split that among a table of four and you're well inside the dietary ballpark.
Soup or salad? It should come as no surprise to anyone dieting that taco salads are to traditional salads what fruit fried pies are to a fruit basket. The deep-fried shell, sour cream and big pile of taco meat turn the traditional taco salad at OTB into a 1,450-calorie odyssey. Instead, choose the sizzling fajita salad with chicken at 760 calories. You could even add on a bowl of OTB's excellent chicken tortilla soup for 350 calories and come in far less than that taco monster.
If you don't want soup or salad, your best bet - and this is true just about anywhere - is fajitas. Not only will you get great flavor, but an entire skillet of chicken fajitas at OTB will set you back only 440 calories. Three corn tortillas add 230 calories. Instead of guacamole and sour cream, try topping yours with pico de gallo. You'll get some fresh veggies, and there's hardly any calories per serving.
If you want a more traditional meal, it should come as no surprise that the popular combo plate is the kiss of dietary death. At OTB, the Corona extra dinner, with a chile relleño, two chicken enchiladas and a beef taco, will top out at more than 2,000 calories. Instead, go for the pico chicken and shrimp, which packs a great flavor punch along with its 790 calories.
Please note that all of the above totals do not include rice and beans. At any Mexican restaurant, the rice and beans will quickly add a few hundred calories and an aorta-choking amount of fat to your meal. If you must have beans, choose the black beans over refried beans. You'll get about half the calories and two-thirds the fat.
So, if you missed Cinco de Mayo, go out and enjoy eating Mexican food without guilt. But if you decide to go whole-hog, be sure to compensate during the rest of the week!
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