Margarita and SangriaBy Cynthia Ramnarace
Heading out for margaritas to celebrate Cinco de Mayo? From burritos to quesadillas, here's what to order and what to skip.
1. Margarita vs. Sangria
Do you opt for the sweet-yet-tart margarita or the fruity and refreshing sangria? Which is worse?
Answer: Frozen Margarita
A frozen margarita yields between 450 and 750 calories, compared to between 100 and 200 calories in a glass of sangria, says Anne VanBeber, R.D., chair of the Department of Nutrition Science at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. That's a meal's worth of calories in one frosted glass. Plus, eat the fruit in your sangria and you get fiber and vitamins. If you have to have your margarita, ask if there's a "skinny version" on the menu. And pass on the salt -- your dinner will deliver more than enough sodium.
2. Nachos vs. Mexican Pizza
Which is worse: A mountain of tortilla chips loaded with the works or the Mexican pizza, which uses a tortilla instead of pizza dough and is topped with similar nacho fixings?
Nacho portions are usually enormous, making it easy to overeat, says Joan Salge Blake, R.D., nutrition professor at Boston University and author of Nutrition and You. And with each bite you'll be getting deep-fried chips as well as high-fat cheese, sour cream and taco meat. The Mexican pizza is usually divided into equal portions so it's easy to know how much to eat. When ordering the pizza, ask the kitchen to go easy on the cheese, add extra vegetables and get black beans instead of beef. If the crowd ordered nachos, monitor your portion size by placing a few on your plate instead of eating straight from the platter.
3. Black Bean Soup vs. Chicken Tortilla Soup
Is a hearty brew of black beans better for you than this Mexican version of chicken soup, with its onions, peppers, beans and tomatoes? Which is worse?
Answer: Chicken Tortilla Soup
The black bean soup likely has fewer ingredients (black beans, broth, spices) than the chicken tortilla soup, which is one hint as to why it's better (less ingredients often mean less calories). Also, black beans are rich in soluble fiber, which will make you feel fuller. "Black bean soup can help keep blood sugar levels under control and helps lower cholesterol," says VanBeber. But avoid toppings such as sour cream and cheese, which add saturated fat and calories.
4. Bean and Cheese Burrito vs. Bean and Cheese Taco
It's a veggie classic: but do you want your beans and cheese wrapped in a burrito or piled into a taco? Which is worse?
Answer: Bean and Cheese Burrito
The flour tortilla used in the burrito is larger than a taco shell, thus yielding more calories. And "there's always fat added to flour tortilla," says VanBeber. "Traditionally it's lard, but nowadays it's likely a vegetable oil." A single 10-inch flour tortilla has about 200 calories whereas a single taco shell has only 50. So you can eat two tacos, and top them with lots of low-calorie lettuce and salsa, and still consume fewer calories than you'd get in the burrito.
5. Frozen Margarita vs. Margarita on the Rocks
Do you like your margarita shaken or blended? Which is worse?
"If the margarita ingredients are the same, one isn't worse than the other," says registered dietitian and certified mixologist Tina Ruggiero. "After all, it's the same drink with a different method of preparation." But on-the-rocks can go down the hatch pretty quickly. So if you find yourself ordering a second shaken margarita in the time it takes to risk brain freeze from the frozen kind, then go for the icy mix.
6. Steak Taco vs. Grilled Shrimp Taco
When deciding how to fill your taco, should you go with succulent strips of steak or grilled shrimp? Which is worse?
"When you compare steak that's just put on the grill and shrimp, the calories are not going to be that much different," says VanBeber. That's because the beef generally used for tacos is the tougher cut that has less fat. (If the steak is a fattier cut, like tenderloin or rib eye, choose the shrimp). To reduce your overall fat intake, ask for soft corn tacos instead of crunchy ones and top your tacos with lots of salsa.
7. Beef and Bean Chili vs. Burrito Bowl with Steak
A bowl of hearty beef chili loaded with beans and tomatoes or a combination of rice, beans and beef topped with cheese, guacamole and salsa. Which is worse?
Answer: Burrito Bowl with Steak
The chili, chock-full of vegetables and beans, has more fiber and protein. You'll get fuller faster and stay fuller longer, says VanBeber. With both dishes, be aware of toppings: Just 2 tablespoons of sour cream and an ounce of shredded cheese add an extra 200 calories to your meal.
8. Fish Taco vs. Garlic Shrimp
Should you opt for a fish taco, with a crispy fillet, or shrimp served in a spicy, buttery garlic sauce? Which is worse?
Answer: Garlic Shrimp
Shrimp is a great choice --until you drown it in high-saturated-fat butter. The fish taco, while fried, generally comes with healthy topping options. "If you eat the lettuce and tomato that come with it, then you're hopefully getting a serving of vegetables, too," says VanBeber. To make the fish tacos an even better choice, ask that the fish be grilled.
Click here for more Which is Worse? Mexican Cuisine!
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Margarita and SangriaBy Cynthia Ramnarace