I had some expectations last year when I went to Rancho La Puerta, a health spa in northern Baja Mexico: hours of tranquil pampering, as much exercise as I could pack into a day and tiny portions of spare-looking diet food. I wasn’t disappointed by the daily spa schedule of massages, salt rubs, soaks in hot baths and hikes. But when it came to the food I wasn’t sure what to expect. Was I going to starve?
It turned out there was no need to worry. There was plenty of food at all the meals, and beyond that, it was delicious Mexican food. Since is was a spa menu, I was pleasantly surprised to find Mexican food like Shrimp Tamale Casserole, Quick Guacamole, Chile Rellenos and tacos.
Want to make your favorite Mexican-inspired recipes healthier? Try some of these strategies perfected by Rancho La Puerta:
* Start with super-fresh ingredients, including plenty of fruits, vegetables and herbs. A lot of the produce for the Ranch is grown on the property.
* Keep portion sizes reasonable. Most of the portions at the Ranch are small (compared to an American restaurant) and that limits the calories.
* Limit added fats, especially saturated ones found in meat or butter. Instead use fats that are high in monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil.
* Season dishes with fresh herbs and spices instead of fats and salt.