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Your Favorite Latin Dishes Reinvented: Lower Calories, Same Homemade Flavor


When we decide to cut back on calories and aim for a healthier lifestyle, our favorite foods are sometimes the first to go. Our weeknight entrees are traded in for salads and gooey, homemade desserts become a thing of the past. What many of us don’t know is that we can have your cake, and eat it too. No, really, we can keep our favorite dishes and still lose weight – with a few quick and easy substitutions. Quintessential latin dishes such as Ceviche, Fajitas and Lechon are viable meal options, with a few minor culinary tweaks. Trade a few ingredients, remove some and you’re left with a plate of nutritional bliss. Same dish, less calories.

LechonCeviche. Flavorsome, zesty… this dish is truly a foodie’s paradise. The perfect combination of heart healthy ingredients: fresh fish, fruit juice, chile peppers, and of course lime. If you normally make your ceviche with shrimp, trade it for a fresh fish such as sea bass or flounder. Cutting cholesterol while increasing lean protein, this is a wise option for those watching their cholesterol intake and looking to shed a few extra pounds. If you’re a culinary adventurer, reinvent your Ceviche with unconventional (and antioxidant-rich) ingredients such as coconut milk, octopus, and passion fruit.

Maybe you’re not a fish lover. If meat is more your thing, take a healthy twist on Lechon. Use boneless pork tenderloin, and trim as much fat as possible. When preparing the meat, use olive oil and fresh herbs – for ultimate flavor potential let spice and oil mixture soak into meat for a few hours, or even overnight. Finally, trade the traditional cooking method and bake instead. Cutting fat content, removing not-so-heart-healthy ingredients and adding fresh herbs will surely transform this classic Latin dish into a high-protein, easy dinner option for you and your family.

Steak Fajitas

You can never go wrong with fajitas. Kid friendly, aesthetically pleasing, and just plain delicious – this meal is a winner all around. The main ingredients – chicken or steak, peppers and onions are surprisingly nutritious. The not-so-healthy additions? White flour tortillas, sour cream and cheese. So, are we forced to kick these ingredients to the curb? No way. Substitute white flour tortillas for whole grain. Choose low-fat sour cream and cheeses and you’re good to go. These accessible and tasty variations cut hundreds of calories while adding that “something extra” to the basic fajita.

When choosing ingredients – aim for lean cuts of meat flavored with homemade low-sodium marinades, and choose toppings that are packed with flavor and nutrition such as jalapeno, fresh garlic, sliced avocado, lettuce, tomato and fresh lime juice. Trade store-bought fajita spice mixes for a simple homemade mix of garlic, salt, ground cumin, chili powder and cilantro. This is another sure way to cut calories, sodium and unhealthy processed ingredients from your meal!

Moral of the story? You do not have to give up your favorite Latin dishes to trim your waistline and become heart-healthy. Simple, tasty substitutions are the key to success in the kitchen, and on the scale. Gain flavor and lose those few extra pounds without sacrificing your favorite homemade culinary creations.

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