Keep blood sugar levels in check, even on Taco Tuesday.
Tortillas, rice, and beans—why so many carbs? Carbohydrates are a necessary part of the diet, but too many carbohydrates can spell trouble for someone with diabetes. The trick to Mexican dining is mastering portion sizes and being savvy with your carb choices. These tips from nutritionist Sharon Richter, RD, make partaking in Taco Tuesday with diabetes a little easier.
Order tequila instead of a margarita. If you’re planning to imbibe, plain tequila on the rocks will complement your tacos nicely without loading you up with sweets.
Avoid anything deep-fried. That includes tortilla chips. Ask your server if you can have vegetables (like jicama, radishes, or bell pepper) to dip in your salsa or guac instead.
Choose your carb. Many Mexican dishes come with multiple sources of carbs, so pick one and stick to it, whether it’s a tortilla, rice, or beans. (If you’re eating a vegetarian entree, the beans will count as your protein rather than your carb.)
Don’t fear the guac. Yes, guacamole is high in fat, but it’s the good-for-you, monounsaturated fat found in avocado. Add about half a cup of this to your dish for a rich flavor boost that’s easier on the arteries than cheese, which contains saturated fat.
Split a splurgy appetizer among everyone at the table if you’re craving something that is a little heavy, like a quesadilla.
Make ceviche your go-to app. It’s a light and refreshing seafood dish with citrus and other seasoning.
Avoid sugary sauces like mole.
Say no to burritos. Mission-style burritos are tortillas packed with beans, rice, and some type of protein (i.e. a LOT of carbs).
Look for a taco salad. But skip the deep-fried shell or crunchy bits of tortilla that might be sprinkled on top.
Try fajitas. In many Mexican restaurants, you will get to assemble the fajita yourself, so you’ll be in control of the proportions in the tortilla. Hint: The more veggies, the better.
Try soup for an entree, especially one with a clear broth.
Order fish tacos. Fish is a great protein for diabetes. Richter likes to order a platter of four tacos, and then take the filling from two of the tacos and stuff them into the other two. The result? Half the carbs (but for nearly the same amount of food). Just make sure the fish isn’t breaded and fried.
Sharon Richter is a registered dietitian with a private nutrition practice in New York City.
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Mexican food can be delicious, and
I know soon as you get to the restaurant,
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the first thing we want is a margarita and
some chips and salsa.
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But, we have to be a little bit
careful about the amount of sugar and
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all the carbohydrates.
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First thing, let's talk about the drinks.
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Those margaritas are loaded with sugar,
but if you have to pick something
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maybe get tequila on the rocks
with a squeeze of lime in it.
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We want to stay away from anything
that's gonna be deep fried
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because it's just not gonna be healthy for
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What is our carbohydrate gonna be?
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Do we wanna have a tortilla?
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Are we gonna have some rice?
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Are we gonna be having beans?
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Are those beans gonna be our carbohydrate
or are they gonna be our protein?
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The chips and the salsa come to the table
often even before you look at your menu.
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What I often ask my server is,
do you have any vegetables I can have?
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Maybe they have some jicama, or
they have carrots or celery and
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I can dip that in the salsa so
I can avoid the chips.
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Some delicious guacamole has
a healthy monounsaturated fats
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that are found in the avocado so
that's gonna be really good for you.
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About half a cup is the amount
that you should have.
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Even though it's good for you, too much
of a good thing isn't good anymore.
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Quesadillas are basically two servings
of carbohydrates, two tortillas, and
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then fat in the middle, cheese.
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But if you really love them maybe order
as an appetizer for your table and
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share it and have one piece so
you get to try it.
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But you're not having
that as your main mean.
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Maybe they have ceviche on there.
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It's a great source of protein so that I
would say that's the absolute go to for
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Now, let's look at our entrees.
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If you wanna get a side of beans, if you
are having some steak, grilled chicken,
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grilled shrimp, then those beans are gonna
count more as your carbohydrate.
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So you're gonna wanna stay away
from the rice and the tortillas.
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So mole has chocolate in it,
which is gonna have some sugar in it.
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So that's something
you're gonna wanna avoid.
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I tell people really stay
away from the burrito.
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But there's a lot of really
good things there for you.
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Maybe you get one of the salads
that has grilled chicken or
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grilled shrimp on it,
some guacamole or fresh avocados.
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Another good option you
can have is maybe fajitas.
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Because you are in control.
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Add the vegetables.
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Load up on those vegetables
that are high in fiber.
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And just control the amount
of fat that you add.
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So maybe just a little bit of sour cream
or sprinkle a little bit of cheese.
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Another good option you could choose is
to have a soup, loaded with beans and
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lots of fresh vegetables and
a clear broth.
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My go-to, I love fish tacos.
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Make sure that they're
gonna be a soft shell.
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And what I do is if I have four tacos,
I make it two.
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I take the filling out of two of them and
I add it to the other two so
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they're nice and loaded with protein and
vegetables, and not so many carbohydrates.
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But I still get to enjoy having a taco.
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While you're eating, try to slow down.
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Savor each bite and enjoy your meal.
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