In Mexico, cultures like the Aztecs and the Mayans have always had a healthy diet full of nutrients. After the Spaniards arrived in Mexico, their agricultural techniques, introduction of livestock and new ingredients, influenced the development of Mexican cuisine, creating an entire new, diverse and exquisite gastronomy.

Over the centuries Mexican culinary traditions have evolved and enriched to the point of being named an “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” by the UNESCO, for it’s flavors, colors and great cultural value.

Avocados, beans, corn, cacao, chile and tomato are the base ingredients of the Mexican food. Aside from the world known Guacamole, here are six delicious Mexican traditional and healthy dishes you can enjoy while visiting our country:

  1. CEVICHE: This fresh and healthy dish is made of raw fish marinated in limejuice, with diced onion, tomatoes, and cilantro. The acid in the limejuice cooks the fish until it turns white and hearty. You can top it with sliced avocado or red onion marinated in limejuice. Ceviche is a great source of calcium and omega-3.
  2. BEANS: Mexico has 70 different types of endemic beans. The most common ones are Black, Pinto and Bayo. They’re usually slow-cooked with onion, garlic, epazote (aromatic herb) and salt. You can eat them in a soup, as a side or with tortillas (enfrijoladas) topped with cream and grilled cheese.
    A half-cup packs in 8 grams of fiber and antioxidants and are also a great source of protein.
  3. FAJITAS: This well-known dish has crossed the border. They are delicious and healthy. The sizzling source of protein can be beef, chicken, fish or shrimp grilled with onions and green, red and orange bell peppers, which are high in fiber and vitamin C.
  4. AGUAS DE SABORES: It can be translated as “natural non carbonated soft drinks” and they represent an important part of the Mexican diet. Prepared with nuts, fruits or flowers, lots of ice and sugar, you must try at least one of these refreshing and traditional drinks:
    Lemonade (you can add “Chia seeds”), Orangade (Naranjada), Jamaica (dehydrated hibiscus flower), Tamarindo, Mango and Horchata (a slightly creamy beverage made with cinnamon and rice).
  5. ENSALADA DE NOPALES: Or Cactus salad, this is the one dish you can only try in Mexico with fresh fleshly leaves (or paddles) of the nopal cactus. The nopales are diced along with chopped tomatoes and onions, a touch of lime and salt. It can be served warm or cold, either way it is mouthwatering and nutritious.
  6. TIKIN XIC FISH: This is a recipe originated in the Yucatan Peninsula, based on Mayan seafood preparation. The fish is marinated with adobo of axiote, sour oranges, onions and garlic. Later wrapped in a banana leaf and cooked in an earth oven beneath a wood fire. Its flavors combine perfectly with an ice-cold beer!

So here you have some of the best Mexican healthy foods you can enjoy while visiting our wonderful country. ¡Provecho!

Jackeline Gibbs
B.A. In International Affairs at the UDLA. Has lived in Quintana Roo for over 20 years and even though the hot weather makes her yearn the mountains, she remains faithful to the place she now calls home. Worked in tourism at the Riviera Maya tourism promotion Board and created the first Wedding planning business in Tulum. She is also a Column writter for the magazine “Cancuníssimo”