Dishes, ordering tips and recipes

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1. Fajitas

Fajitas are a popular sizzling hot dish that usually includes peppers and onions along with a protein such as chicken, beef, or shrimp. They’re served with tortillas, but you can skip those and just eat the fajita filling to keep them low-carb.

However, since the carbs of onions add up pretty quickly, it’s best to cook a small portion or split your order into two meals (1).

2. Carne asada

Carne Asada is a marinated, grilled steak dish. There are no carbs in the steak itself, but the marinade may contain traces (2).

This dish is available in many Mexican restaurants. You can also buy raw, ready-to-grill carne asada at many Mexican markets.

3. Ceviche

Originally from Peru, ceviche is found on many Mexican restaurant menus.

This cold dish is made with raw or pre-cooked seafood — usually fish or shrimp — marinated in citrus juice and mixed with vegetables and herbs like tomatoes, onions, jalapeño and cilantro. All of these ingredients are low carb.

If you make it at home, you can halve the amount of tomatoes and onions to reduce the carb count (1, 3).

4. Guacamole

Guacamole is a mashed avocado dip that’s naturally high in fat and fiber and low in net carbs — total carbs minus fiber that your body doesn’t digest.

Additionally, guacamole may contain small amounts of lime juice, onion, jalapeño, tomato, or cilantro. Although you should avoid the chips it’s typically served with, guacamole is perfectly keto-friendly (4).

5. Carnitas

Carnitas is a dish made from shredded, slow-cooked pork. It’s usually made from a fatty cut, like pork shoulder, and some of that fat melts during cooking to coat and flavor the meat.

The meat itself contains no carbs, so it’s an excellent keto-friendly choice in Mexican restaurants or to prepare at home (5).

6. Camarones a la Diabla

This spicy shrimp dish — a staple at many Mexican restaurants — uses a sauce made from mixed chilies (and possibly tomatoes).

It’s low-carb, but if served with rice and beans, consider opting for a salad or side of guacamole instead — both are keto-friendly and can help moderate the heat.

7. Al Pastor Pork

Tacos al pastor are made with al pastor pork, which consists of thinly sliced, marinated pork shoulder. You can skip the tortillas and eat the pork on its own or with a side salad for a keto-friendly meal.

8. Chorizo

Chorizo ​​​​is a Mexican sausage made from beef or pork. It is available either fresh (raw and ground) or dried (cured, ready to eat and sliced).

All types of chorizo ​​are low-carb, high-fat, and flavorful (6).

9. Question

“Queso” is Spanish for “cheese,” but in the United States this term often refers to cheese dip.

In many cases, these dips are very low-carb, although some may contain milk-based carbs or starch-based thickeners. Be sure to check the label, ask for the ingredients, or make your own low-carb version at home.

My keto-friendly way to enjoy dips like queso is with pork rinds or homemade low-carb tortilla chips (7).

10. Salsa

This dip is made with tomatoes, onions, jalapeño and cilantro or various combinations of these ingredients.

Salsa contains small amounts of carbs from tomatoes and onions, but small servings — like 1-2 tablespoons (16-32 grams) — will flavor your meal without sabotaging your keto diet (8th).

11. Birria

Birria is goat meat flavored with various herbs, spices and chillies. Some versions can also be made with beef. It is used to make birria tacos, or a traditional Mexican soup also called birria, which includes broth and additional salsa, onions, or cilantro.

Both the soup and the meat itself are good keto-friendly options.

12. Tacos with corn tortillas

If you’re flexible with your carb intake, consider traditional corn tortilla tacos, which contain fewer carbs than flour tacos — about 7 grams of net carbs per small 18-gram tortilla (9).

With careful planning, you might be able to eat a few regular tacos within your daily carb limit.

13. Taco Salad

Taco salads contain lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, a meat such as seasoned ground beef or chicken, and sometimes other ingredients.

Some can be served in fried taco shells or over tortilla chips, with or without a layer of bean sauce on the bottom. You should skip both the rind and the bean sauce to keep it keto-friendly.

14. Huevos a la Mexicana

This breakfast dish consists of scrambled eggs cooked with onions, diced tomatoes, and sautéed peppers like jalapeño.

Because it doesn’t contain tortillas or tortilla chips, it’s a lot lower in carbs than other Mexican breakfast foods like huevos rancheros and chilaquiles.

15. Pico de Gallo

Pico de gallo is a dip and condiment made with diced tomatoes, chopped onions, and cilantro. In small amounts, it’s low in carbohydrates and adds a bright flavor to rich or high-fat dishes. It’s also easy to make at home.

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