Let’s face it: we love to eat. The problem is, many of the dishes we chow down on are loaded with lots of fat and lots of calories. Here are 10 dishes and the surprising calories that you never knew you were eating!
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Rice and Beans: 230+ Calories/Serving
You can’t go wrong with rice and beans! This simple dish is a favorite of many but the problem is, it tends to be deceptive as far as calories are concerned. At most restaurants, refried beans are cooked in lard packing around with 23 grams of fat and 230 calories for only one cup. And that’s just the beans! If you can’t live without rice and beans try Moros y Crisianos (black beans and rice) instead. Black beans are lower in fat and calories (178 calories 1 g fat per serving), and are also high in fiber, which can help prevent heart disease and diabetes.
Pastelón (Sweet Plantain & Beef Lasagna): 674 Calories/Serving
This tasty Puerto Rican beef lasagna with fried plantains is impossible to turn down! It’s the perfect combo of sweet and savory, so before you know it, the whole pan is gone! Since you can rack up the calories fast with this dish (674 calories and 49 grams of fat for 1/8 of pie) simple changes can be made to make this dish a little healthier. Substitute ground beef for ground turkey and use low fat diary wherever the recipe calls for it. If you simply can’t do with out the original recipe, stick with a small portion and fill up on veggies and salad instead of going for round two.
Quesadilla: 1,000 Calories/Serving
Though you may think tortillas and cheese are harmless enough for your diet, one quesadilla can rack up to up to 1,000 calories and 100 grams of fat! A few simple changes can make this fan favorite a bit healthier. Go easy on the cheese and add grilled veggies instead of meat. Also skip the sour cream, and don’t feel the pressure to finish your entire plate! Eating just half of an unhealthy quesadilla will do a lot less damage. If you’re making a quesadilla at home, use corn tortillas instead of flour, and opt for low-fat cheese, which can bring this dish to just 500 calories.
Brazilian Feijoada: 375+ Calories/Cup
It makes sense that this dish is traditionally saved for special occasions in Brazil – it’s seriously incredible! Brazilian feijoada is a delicious stew of pork sausage, ribs, and black beans served over rice with orange slices. The problem? The calories can add up fast, with 375 calories 16.9 grams of fat for only a cup. To make this dish more calorie friendly, prepare it vegetarian by adding lots of vegetables, like bell peppers, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes, to the black beans and rice. Preparing it this way can take it down to around 270 calories and 5 grams of fat for one cup!
Tostada or Taco Salad: 1,140 Calories/Serving
When we hear the word “salad,” we tend to think healthy. When you add “tostada” or “taco” to the mix, start running. Tostada and taco salads can run up to 1,140 calories and 55 grams of fat for just one. Ay yi yi! It you really can’t get let go of this delicious meal, steer clear of eating the shell, which can knock off over 500 calories! Also, no sour cream and go light on the cheese.
Tamales: 180+ Calories/Tamale
Tamales seem harmless enough, with 180 calories for one pork tamale, and around 240 calories for one shredded beef tamale. But who really only eats one tamale?! If you would like to indulge in a few tamales, opt for vegan ones instead, which run around 157 calories. Vegan tamales are filled with black beans and veggies that are high in fiber – making you fill up faster!
Bandeja Paisa: 1,200+ Calories/Serving
This amazing Colombian dish consists of pork, rice, ground beef, eggs, plantains and avocado. While this meal is big on taste, it’s also big on calories: 1,220 to be exact (not to mention the 135 grams of fat!). To make this dish a little lighter, ditch the pork and ground beef and go for ground turkey instead. Also use egg whites in place of eggs and go easy on the sauces. Those small changes will make a big difference!
Fish Tacos: 750 Calories/Taco
Fish tacos scream warm weather, but if you’re ordering these yummy items at a restaurant: beware! Many are full of fat and calories (750 calories and 58 grams of fat) thanks to America’s best friend – the deep fryer. Luckily, this meal is pretty easy to trim down. Choose fish tacos that are prepared with grilled fish instead of fried, and ditch the (usually cream-based) condiments, which are loaded with fat. Also opt for corn tortillas instead of flour, which are lower in calories.
Burritos: 721 Calories/Burrito
Nothing hits the spot like a big ol’ burrito. Since most burritos are packed with meat, cheese, beans, rice, salsa (and much more), they can get real unhealthy, real fast with at least 721 calories 33 grams of fat. To make this dish healthier, ditch the tortilla and meat and go for a veggie burrito bowl (whether you’re eating out or making your own!), which has less than 500 calories. If you must eat a burrito, keep it simple with small bean burrito with only beans and cheese, which rings in around 490 calories.
Huevos Rancheros: 770 Calories/Serving
This popular Mexican breakfast is a traditional favorite. It consists of eggs, corn tortillas, cheese, salsa, beans, rice and guacamole. Delicious right? Wait for it: this breakfast comes in at around 770 calories and 33 grams of fat. Yikes! To make this meal a bit more calorie friendly, swap eggs for egg whites, and opt for low-fat cheese. Also, add lettuce, and ditch the rice. Those simple changes can knock off around 300 calories! (So you can dig in without feeling guilty.)