Mexican restaurants are known for serving up delicious comfort food and yummy margaritas. However, most of their dishes include beans, rice, rich sauces, and flour or corn tortilla shells.
You can eat low carb at most Mexican restaurants by avoiding these items and sticking with the insides only of a taco or burrito.
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You can also order chicken or steak fajitas without the tortillas and top your food with guacamole, cheese, sour cream, and salsa instead of sugar-laden sauce.
Here are the top lowest carb and keto-friendly options you can order at most Mexican restaurants and how to order them.
A burrito bowl is a good way to eat the insides only out of a burrito without getting your hands messy. It allows you to bypass the tortilla shell and enjoy your food with a fork. Chipotle also offers this on their menu.
Request a burrito bowl made with chicken, steak, or pork and low-carb veggies, such as lettuce, tomato, and onion.
You can also add sour cream, cheese, guacamole, or salsa to your bowl. Be sure to avoid all beans, rice, corn, and shells.
What to order: a burrito bowl with meat, cheese, low-carb veggies (lettuce, tomato, and onion), and guacamole, sour cream, cheese, or salsa. Hold the beans, rice, corn, shell, and taco sauce.
If you order a taco salad at a Mexican restaurant, it will probably come in a large taco shell bowl. You can still order this dish as long as you don’t eat the shell!
Your taco salad may also include corn, beans, rice, and tortilla strips. Be sure to hold these and stick with a low-carb dressing, such as ranch. Taco Bell offers something similar called ‘power menu bowl’ which you can opt in for.
What to order: a taco salad with no corn, tortilla shells, beans, or rice. Ask for ranch dressing and do not eat the outer taco shell bowl.
Chicken, Seafood, or Steak Fajitas
Fajitas are another great way to eat the insides only of a taco or burrito. They usually come with your choice of meat (chicken, seafood, steak, or pork) with grilled or sauteed fajita vegetables, such as bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes.
Many Mexican places such as Chili’s Grill & Bar also offer grilled steak fajitas, which you can try.
They are served on a sizzling platter with flour or corn tortillas, beans, rice, lettuce, sour cream and guacamole so that you can assemble your own taco.
Be sure to hold the taco shell, beans, and rice and enjoy the taco fillings only. You may also want to ask to hold any sauce that comes on the fajitas.
What to order: chicken, seafood, or steak fajitas minus the taco shell. Also, hold the beans, rice, and any sauce that accompanies the dish.
If your plan is to eat the insides only out of a taco, then go with a hard or crunchy taco shell. These are usually easier to eat the fillings only from.
Soft tacos, burritos, and quesadillas are made with flour tortilla shells that mix together with the rest of the ingredients when they are heated. This makes it hard to “peel” the shell from the rest of your food.
Most Mexican restaurants will serve one, two, or three stand alone tacos. Order chicken or beef tacos with a hard taco shell and eat the meat and cheese out of them with a fork.
What to order: one, two, or three hard chicken tacos and eat the insides only. Stay away from taco sauce. Top your taco with guacamole, cheese, or sour cream.
Carne Asada is a staple at most Mexican restaurants.
It features a steak topped with green onions and served with all the usual fixings, including beans, rice, lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, sour cream, and flour or corn tortilla shells.
You can make this dish low-carb by holding the beans, rice, and taco shells and eating the steak and low-carb veggies, guacamole, and sour cream only.
What to order: carne asada without the beans, rice, and taco shells. Also, hold any sauce that comes on the steak.
Many Mexican restaurants offer several grilled chicken dishes. You will just need to avoid the starchy sides that come with them.
Pollo Poblano comes with chicken breast topped with grilled onions, mushrooms, and poblano peppers covered in a cheese sauce. It’s served with rice, beans, and flour tortilla shells.
You can keep this dish low-carb by eating the chicken breast only and holding the rice, beans, and flour shell.
You may want to inquire whether the cheese sauce contains flour. If it does, you will want to avoid this as well.
What to order: pollo poblano without the rice, beans, and flour tortilla shells.
This is another grilled chicken dish that features grilled chicken covered in cheese sauce and ranchero sauce. It’s served with beans, rice, lettuce, sour cream, and tomatoes.
You can keep this dish low-carb by holding the ranchero sauce, beans, and rice. Also, ask whether the cheese sauce contains flour and avoid it if it does.
What to order: pollo ranchero without the ranchero sauce, beans, and rice.
This dish contains grilled chicken and Mexican sausage with green onions and cheese sauce. It’s served with beans, lettuce, guacamole, and pico de gallo or fresh tomatoes.
You won’t have to do much to this dish to keep it low-carb other than ask for no beans.
What to order: pollo toluca minus the beans.
This dish comes with grilled chicken strips, Mexican rice, refried beans, lettuce, guacamole, pico de gallo and sour cream.
You can keep it low-carb by holding the Mexican rice and refried beans.
What to order: pollo jalisco without the Mexican rice and refried beans.
This dish features marinated steak cooked to order, chicken, and Mexican sausage topped with queso fresco sauce, grilled onions and jalapeno peppers.
It’s served with Mexican rice, refried beans, salsa, and flour or corn tortilla shells.
You can keep it low-carb by holding the Mexican rice, refried beans, and flour or corn tortilla shells.
What to order: molcajete without the Mexican rice, refried beans, and corn or flour tortilla shells.
Chili verde features steak strips cooked to order or carnitas with green chili sauce served with Mexican rice, refried beans, and flour or corn shells.
You can make this dish low-carb by holding the Mexican rice, beans, and taco shells. You may also want to hold the green chili sauce and ask for sour cream or guacamole instead.
What to order: the chili verde minus the Mexican rice, refried beans, and taco shell.
Eating low-carb at restaurants isn’t impossible. Most offer a wide selection of grilled meats and seafood that you can eat with low-carb vegetables, such as lettuce, tomatoes, and onions.
We recommend going with the steak or chicken fajitas and holding the beans, rice, and flour tortilla shells that come with the dish.
You can also choose from one of several chicken and steak dishes. Hold the starchy sides and sugar-laden sauce.
Ask for guacamole, sour cream, and cheese instead. Safe beverage choices include water and unsweetened tea.
*Featured Photo by AlenaKr/depositphotos