Healthy holiday food in Mexico

For my third and final missive from Mexico, I wanted to talk about the cuisine, which is amazing.

I have always thought that Mexican food is delicious. I have never thought of it as being healthy – nachos dripping with cheese, tequila, tacos dripping with cheese, tequila, enchiladas dripping with cheese, tequila, quesadillas dripping with cheese, tequila….

Yet on my recent visit to Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Nayarit, I was surprised at how easy it is to eat healthily. All along the coastline I found divine, super fresh, seafood, – like lobster, red snapper and mahi-mahi, often served ceviche style. My absolute favourite – I could sit and eat it all day long in the sunshine – is aguachile. It’s prawns ‘cooked’ in lime juice with a dash of chilli. Sometimes it’s served on tostadas, which are not so healthy, but they are damn good!

Most meals will begin with that old Mexican favourite – nachos with guacamole and salsa. Some restaurants make the guacamole at your table so that it is super fresh. And yes, if you wolf too much it won’t do wonders for your waistline but avocado, as we all know, is packed with ‘good’ fats, so a little bit of what you fancy and all that.

In almost every restaurant, including the hotel ones, you will see ‘green juice’ on the menu for breakfast. It seems to vary in its ingredients, but it’s basically a mix of fruit, vegetable juices and herbs – so could be pineapple and orange juice, celery , lime, mint and parsley. The magic ingredient is cactus juice, which makes it a little difficult to replicate back home!

Some of the best places to eat along this coastline are the beach shacks. Many of them are astoundingly good and they are all cheap as chips (but healthier of course!). Like the Eva Mandarina Beach Club at La Cruz de Huanacaxtle (no website, just rock up). Here we feasted on the aforementioned aguachile plus Sangre Cora cocktails – a mix of red wine, Mezcal and hibiscus flowers, which gives an unusual smoky taste.

Another great choice for healthy, creative (and meat free) food is Bistro Organico at the Hotel Cielo Rojo (www.hotelcielorojo.com) in San Pancho, officially known as San Francisco.

restaurant-1

Bistro Organico

 

For my brunch there I was tempted by the home made granola with yoghurt, seasonal fruits and raw honey. But, having consumed a few (ahem!) margaritas the previous night, the organic huevos rancheros seemed like a better option. Eggs, black beans, wholemeal arepas (flatbreads) , roasted tomato sauce, goats cheese and avocado. Yum. I accompanied it with a Fuc-tonic (seriously) – a hangover defying mix of coconut water, lime, turmeric and ginger root.

The menus here are made with 85% local and 75% organic ingredients. Their slogan is: Food is fuel; Food is medicine; Food is love. Couldn’t put it better myself.

For fine dining, the Four Seasons in Punta Mita (www.fourseasons.com/puntamita) has a good choice of stylish eateries, including Aramara Restaurant which dishes up a sort of Asian/Mexican fusion cuisine and Bahia by Richard Sandoval –a beachfront grill and restaurant with an emphasis on seafood – such as grilled local octopus and jumbo shrimp.

Coconut Station

Above and below: Four Seasons Punta Mita

Catch of the day at Bahía Restaurant

I cannot claim to have come back from this trip slimmer than I went (that really would be asking too much). However I did feel I had fed my body some good stuff…with the exception, perhaps, of the margaritas.

If you’d like to read more about this area of Mexico, click here and for information on my favourite hotels, click here.

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