September 16th is Grito de Dolores! Back in 1810, this first marked the day Mexico initiated its war for independence against Spain. You can celebrate in 2014 with special events all across Houston, Texas, as local restaurants and event centers observe this festive holiday.
For a colorful dance presentation, check out the Ballet Folklorico today at the Children’s Museum of Houston. On the 18th of September one of the largest parades in Southwest Texas takes place at Traders Village, culminating in the eighth annual crowning of Miss Fiestas Patrias. If your Friday is free, the West Lot of The Park is featuring a day-long extravaganza on September 19th. The showcase includes musical performances, dancing, an homage to local folk heroes, and much more.
And it goes without saying that one of the best ways to celebrate Mexican Independence is by sampling the culture’s traditional cuisine. But this year, celebrate with confidence. We’ve got healthy tips for you to make this a fun, safe and healthy TMJ holiday.
Avoid the Crunch
Mexican food doesn’t have to mean crunchy. Tortilla chips are hard on the jaw, so ask your server not to bring them to the table. Order a taco salad, but don’t eat the shell. Taco shells and flautas, a crispy rolled tortilla stuffed with meats and cheese, should also be avoided.
If you fancy fajitas, go for chicken meat instead of tough sirloin beef. Carnitas, fried beef or pork, and chorizo, a spicy sausage, are all hard on the arteries. Instead, try grilled fish or a tender, marinated chicken breast. Most Mexican dishes come with a side of beans, but take a pass on refried ones. These contain the highest amounts of fat. Instead, request borracho beans, or frijoles a la charra.
Other Side Dishes
Choose corn tortillas over flour ones. They have fewer calories, less fat and more fiber. And finally, don’t take a pass on the rice. This soft cooked food is usually seasoned with spices and tomatoes. It’s low in calories and easy on the jaw.
Common Sense for Sauces
Cut out unnecessary calories by avoiding cream sauces and cheese sauces. Instead, select Veracruz, a tangy green sauce, or other red, tomato-based sauces. You should also take a pass on full-fat sour cream. Ask your server if a low fat sour cream is available. If none is available, avoid sour cream or use it very sparingly. And don’t forget the salsa! It’s a wonderful, low calorie topping that can add zest to just about any dish in the restaurant.
Do you have your own tips for eating Mexican food while staying healthy? Join the conversation on Facebook, or share your suggestions in the comments!