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Mexican Food With a Lighter Touch

10 recipes that are low fat and tasty

cinco de mayo light: pico the gallo recipe

Eating low-fat, tasty meals can be an everyday occurrence. — Photo by Dwight Eschliman/Getty Images

While many Mexican and Tex-Mex meals eaten in American restaurants consist of deep-fried flour tortillas stuffed with meat and cheese; and large portions with too much salt and fat; we have 10 low-fat recipes for the Mexican food lovers among your family and friends.

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Traditional Mexican food is much healthier, centered on nutritionally savvy ingredients like beans, tomatoes, onions and avocados. The dishes below strike a compromise between familiar Mexican-style classics and health-conscious nutritional needs. Condiments like pico de gallo are extremely low-cal and flavorful, so swap them out for sour cream and guacamole if you’re counting calories! Beans are rich in antioxidants and fiber, keeping you feeling full longer.

Enjoy your healthy fiesta.

1) Homemade corn tortillas by Joe Yonan: The tortillas served in fast food or fast casual Mexican restaurants are too often made with oil in the batter, then fried in more oil, and are large enough to make a meal on their own. These homemade corn tortillas, like the ones eaten in Mexico City, are made only of masa harina (dried corn flour), salt and water. A cast-iron tortilla press can be purchased for less than $20, and a little practice in the art of tortilla making will have you hooked on the homemade version. Per serving: 69 calories, 1 g fat.

2) Meredith Deed’s pico de gallo by Fred Thompson: This Latin American condiment, translating literally to “rooster’s beak” and also known as salsa fresca, is generally made from chopped tomato, white onion, chilis, and sometimes lime juice and cilantro. Use pico de gallo to top tacos, nachos or salads. Per serving: 18 calories, 0 g fat.

3) Drunken chicken by Maria Dolores Beatriz: Skinless chicken breasts and lean turkey ham cut calories from this dish without sacrificing flavor. Sherry, raisins and sweet spices give the chicken its signature flavor, and it’s done in under an hour. Per serving: 218 calories, 7 g fat.

4) Frijoles de olla by Diana Kennedy: This recipe for slow-cooked pinto or black beans starts with dried beans, ending in a dish with a velvety texture and well-developed flavor. With 9 grams of fiber and 12 grams of protein per serving, these pack a hearty nutritional punch. Per serving: 211 calories, 2 g fat.

Next: Check out these six flavorful dishes. »

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