Crispy Tortilla Chips with Refried Beans, Monterey Jack Cheese, and topped with Jalapeños , Guacamole, and Sour Cream. (Sold at Polvos, in Austin, Texas)
Ask the average American if they like Mexican food, and they’ll probably tell you that they ate it last week. Mexican has become one of the three most popular cuisines in the U.S., with nearly 90% of the total population having tasted it.
It has become such a part of the traditional American diet — regardless of heritage — that new Mexican-inspired dishes are even popping up at some of the most ordinary U.S. chain restaurants — like Applebee’s, Chili’s and IHOP — just to satisfy the demand.
When Mexican food comes to mind, the average person immediately thinks of burritos, tacos, nachos, and quesadillas. What people do not realize is that, although your nachos supreme come from a “Mexican restaurant,” the people living in Mexico are probably not incorporating giant platters of cheesy fried tortilla chips into their everyday meals.
Real Mexican food is one of the most colorful and varied cuisines in the world. Mexican dishes are prepared with loads of fresh produce, protein-packed beans, fiber-filled tortillas, and nutritious spices like chilies, garlic, cloves, cinnamon, and cumin.
Unfortunately, the average Mexican food joint in the U.S. cannot boast about the health benefits of its meals. Americans have super-sized and super-fattened nearly every dish that we consider Mexican today — in fact, many Mexican dishes were created in the U.S., so they don’t even exist south of the border.
American-style Mexican food is usually high in fat, sodium and calories, and it uses less of the fresh, nutrient-packed ingredients that traditional Mexican food includes.
Let’s compare a few traditional Mexican dishes with those that you find at the average Mexican restaurant in the United States:
AMERICANIZED MEXICAN FOOD
Taco Bell: Nachos Bell Grande — 760 calories and 39 grams of fat.
Chipotle’s: Beef Burrito —1,026 calories and 46 grams of fat.
Find out how “real” Mexican food measures up, and how to make the Mexican meals you love healthier…