Menu Navigator: Best (and Worst) Choices at Mexican Restaurants

We'll show you the healthiest choices (and splurge-only dishes) to help you order wisely at Mexican restaurants.

Navigating Mexican Menu Illustration

Illustration: Serge Bloch

Here's the trick to keeping your healthy-eating intentions from taking a siesta at the cantina: Many of the ingredients highest in sodium are also high in calories and saturated fat, which means that cutting back on cheese, sour cream, and chips solves three problems at once.

Speaking of chips, let's start with the starters: margaritas, salsa, and chips (a combination quite possibly created by the culinary gods). Twelve chips and a little salsa are around 300 to 350 calories, and a margarita can range from 150 calories (small and on the rocks) to more than 400 calories for a great big frozen slurpy drink. So before you even start your meal, you can easily consume upwards of 700 calories. Our advice? Choose the drinks or the chips during this visit, and leave the other for next time.

The numbers below are estimates derived from averaging nutritional info from many national Mexican restaurant chains. Unless otherwise noted, the numbers refer to the main dish only—not the rice and refried beans that are often served alongside. Dishes marked with a red light aren't untouchable (no food is) but can be a really big splurge.

Splurge Only:

Ask Your Server:

Healthy Choice:

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