As the weather outside cools down, many people turn to Mexican food to turn the heat up. With over 70 locations worldwide, Chiquito restaurants are a United Kingdom–based chain specializing in northern Mexican food. The nutritional information of the claimed "Original Mexican Grill & Bar" includes varied caloric content and an array of spices. The company was established in the late 1980s and boasts a relaxing feel and contemporary energy with family friendly meals.
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Some of the popular dishes that include nutritional information at Chiquito restaurants are the Chilaquiles, Mexican Style Burritos and Cilantro Chicken Salad. According to Chiquito restaurant's nutritional analysis, the Chilaquiles contain 425 calories. This dish consists of spicy chicken, tomato sauce and minced corn tortillas served on Mexican-style rice. It is topped with melted cheeses and sour cream. The Mexican Style Burritos come in a variety of fillings, including Fajita Roasted Vegetables, Veggie Chilli, Beef Chilli and Spicy Chicken. Each burrito is made with spinach tortillas, refried beans and a filling choice. They are served with flavorful green rice and mild salsa, and each burrito dish is under 575 calories. The Cilantro Chicken Salad contains about 575 calories according to the company's nutritional analysis. The chicken breast is marinated with grilled coriander and lime and is served on a bed of mixed greens, carrots, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and radishes with Mexican citrus dressing.
While the amount of calories in some of the dishes at Chiquito restaurants does not seem alarming, the company does not reveal an in-depth analysis nor do they share the caloric content of every dish on their menu. Since they only share the calories in select dishes on the website, this leaves the consumer unaware of the fat, carbohydrate, protein, sodium and cholesterol content of every meal. These characteristics are important for those who are trying to maintain a healthy diet, which includes about 25 percent of calories from fat, 55 percent of calories from carbohydrates and 20 percent of calories from protein. In addition, an individual should maintain an intake of as little sodium and cholesterol as possible, according to the American Dietetic Association. Since the exact ingredients of Chiquito restaurant's dishes are not shared, this makes it nearly impossible to analyze the nutrition facts.
Healthy Options at Chiquito Restaurants
Many healthy options do exist when dining at Mexican restaurants like Chiquito. When possible, ask for whole wheat or spinach tortillas for their beneficial complex carbs and higher fiber and nutrient content. In addition, low-fat or fat-free sour cream and cheese are better options than are regular sour cream and cheese because they are lower in fat and cholesterol. Asking for minimal salt usage can also be beneficial for those suffering from high blood pressure. Also, opting for grilled or broiled meats are lower in fat than the fried variety, according to the University of Wisconsin's Tips for Healthy Eating Out.
While Chiquito restaurants are vague in the nutritional content of their dishes, it is best to follow some rules of thumb when eating out. The University of Wisconsin's Tips for Healthy Eating Out states that no matter where or what is consumed, it is best to practice consuming smaller portions. It is also a good idea to ask the restaurant staff to wrap up half the entrée before it is even served. If dining out with a friend, split the meal or order an appetizer as a meal instead. In addition, skip parts of the meal that seem like a filler, like additional bread or tortilla chips. Or, instead of tortilla chips, ask for a side salad and request foods be made without oil. Also, eating a little less at lunch can save calories for a special dinner later. However, it is important not to skip meals, as this can lead to excessive eating. Last, consuming a low-calorie snack, such as a piece of fruit, about 30 minutes before the meal can help curb excessive hunger, which can lead to bad food choices later on.