Mexican cuisine has so many healthy foods to offer, including healthy Mexican snacks.
As a dietitian, one of the most popular requests from my clients is more snack ideas. They want something quick to help them stay energized between meals. And most importantly, it has to be delicious!
So I’ve come up with a few ideas for when you want a flavorful, healthy snack.
Check out these healthy, easy Mexican snacks.
1. Guacamole with tortilla chips
Yes I’m a dietitian, and yes I recommend tortilla chips as a snack.
Tortilla chips are made from corn tortillas, and can be a good source of fiber and resistance starch. While they are a source of carbohydrates, these tend to be the healthy complex carbs that help you stay full.
Plus, avocado is a good source of fiber and healthy fats (1). These help manage your blood sugar, keeping your appetite and blood sugar steady between meals.
If you’re worried about the fact that the tortilla chips are fried, you could try a baked tortilla chip. If you’re feeling extra ambitious you could bake your own tortilla chips.
2. Chips and salsa
We have a theme! I’m once again recommending tortilla chips as a convenient snack option.
Salsa is a natural combination with tortilla chips. Most of my clients forget that salsa is made from vegetables, so you are in fact getting vegetables with this snack!
Plus, the tomatoes in a classic red salsa can be a good source of antioxidants like lycopene (4).
Chips and salsa alone may not be filling enough for you, though. This is because neither is a significant source of protein, which can help you feel full. If this is the case for you, try adding a bit of cheese or nuts to your snack.
3. Ceviche with tostadas
Yes, you could also eat ceviche as a meal, but it’s also a common snack or appetizer.
The seafood in ceviche is a good source of lean protein. It can also provide vitamins and minerals like vitamin B12 or iron, depending on the type of seafood you use.
This plus the complex carbohydrates found in a tostada makes for a very balanced snack that will keep you energized.
4. Mexican fruit cups
Have you ever seen a fruit vendor selling fruit cups with chile seasoning? If so then you’ve seen this snack before!
Fruits like watermelon, mango, and pineapple are commonly served with tajín and chamoy to make a delicious and refreshing snack. You may even see them with vegetables like jícama or cucumber!
The nutrition benefits of this snack will vary slightly depending on which fruits (or veggies) you choose. However, what all of them have in common is they will be a good source of fiber and hydration.
Eat this snack on a hot day to help you stay cool!
5. Pico de gallo
There are a few different definitions of pico de gallo. In the US, most people think of fresh tomato salsa that’s chopped instead of pureed. However, in certain parts of Mexico pico de gallo means a salad of chopped jicama, cucumber, and oranges.
Either way, pico de gallo is an easy way to incorporate vegetables into a snack.
If you’re eating the version with jicama, you might not even need tortilla chips for dipping. I always eat jicama pico de gallo with a toothpick!
Just like the fruit cups, cucumbers with tajín and chamoy is a common snack in Mexican food.
You may also see sliced cucumber topped with lime juice and salt, or just by themselves.
However you eat them, this snack is very cooling and hydrating. Cucumbers are approximately 96% water! Cucumbers are also a good source of vitamin K, which can promote strong bones (5).
Did you know peanuts are native to Mexico?!
It’s true! The word for peanuts in Mexico–cacahuate–comes from Nahuatl, showing how long it’s been a part of Mexican culture.
There are plenty of peanut-based snacks in Mexican food. These include “Japanese” peanuts (they’re not actually Japanese), peanut brittle, and peanut candy.
However the healthiest one is probably botana de cacahuate, which is typically peanuts tossed with chili powder and garlic. The peanuts in this snack provide protein and heart-healthy unsaturated fats (6).
The protein and fat also make the peanuts a filling snack.
Elote is the quintessential Mexican street food (that’s why it’s often called “street corn”). While many people may think it’s unhealthy, elote can be a pretty balanced snack.
Fresh corn is a source of fiber, vitamin C, and other antioxidants (7). Adding the cheese can add extra protein for a more filling snack.
Plus, elote is customizable! If you’re worried about the mayo or crema used in a typical elote, you can always get it without. I like elote with just limon y chile myself.
Pepitas are pumpkin seeds, with the outer hull removed.
Like peanuts, pepitas are found in candies, salsas, or simply seasoned to make a snack.
Pepitas are a good source of iron, unsaturated fats, and protein (8). This makes them a great snack, especially for anyone following a plant-based diet.
10. Fresh juice
With the abundance of fresh fruits in Mexican food, fresh fruit juice is a favorite treat in Mexico.
While fruit juices like orange are popular, green juices made from cucumber or nopal are also popular.
The nutrition benefits of juice will vary depending on which fruits or vegetables you use. How recently it was made can also affect the nutrition value. But most fresh juice is a good source of vitamins and minerals.
Because juice doesn’t have fiber or protein, you may not find it filling enough for a snack. If this is the case, serve the juice with a protein like a hard boiled egg or peanuts (see earlier entry).
Licuados are like smoothies but with a thinner texture. Fruit smoothies have all the benefits of fruit juice plus fiber! The fiber in a licuado helps you stay full, and helps control your blood sugar.
A licuado is typically made with milk, which will provide protein. This makes a licuado a more filling snack.
Popular smoothie flavors in Mexican food include papaya, nopal, strawberry, and many more.
12. Cheese and guava paste
Guava paste served with cheese is a common snack or dessert in several parts of Latin America.
This combination makes a great snack because it combines protein and fat from the cheese, with carbs from the guava paste.
The most common type of cheese used for this is manchego (different from Spanish manchego). If that’s not available, mozzarella or queso fresco could work too!
In Mexico, quesadillas are more often served as a snack than a meal. They could work for either scenario though!
Contrary to popular belief, quesadillas can be very healthy. The tortilla provides carbs (and fiber if you choose a corn tortilla). The cheese adds protein and fat, for a more filling snack.
To make a complete meal, try serving with salsa or guacamole for extra fiber and vitamins.
Alegrias are sweets made from puffed amaranth.
Amaranth is a whole grain that has been used in Mexico for thousands of years. It’s a rich source of fiber, iron, and magnesium (9).
Alegrias are a good source of fiber and healthy carbohydrates. For a more balanced snack, choose an alegria that also has nuts and seeds for extra protein.
As you can see, there are plenty of healthy Mexican snacks to choose from. From fruits and vegetables to nuts, Mexican food uses a wide variety of healthy foods to make delicious snacks.
Use these ideas when you need some more snack inspiration.
If you’re curious how to make balanced meals with Latin American foods, check out my free resource below!