We spent 3 months eating a keto diet in Mexico.
Think you can’t find keto Mexican food? Think again!
Living in Mexico as digital nomads we thought we’d have a hard time finding a Mexican keto diet too.
When you think about Mexican food it typically involves corn or flour tortillas – whether around tacos or burritos. And tortilla chips. DEFINITELY rice and beans.
None of which are keto friendly.
But we did stick to keto in Mexico. And 90% of the time we ate keto at Mexican restaurants.
In fact, we found that eating a keto diet (low carb) in Mexico is easy once you have a little knowledge.
There are many keto Mexican foods and they are available at just about any restaurant in the country!
Table of contents
- Background on Our Eating a Keto Diet
- All of Mexico on a Keto Diet
- What NOT to Eat on a Keto Diet in Mexico
- What to Eat on a Keto Diet in Mexico
- Keto Mexican Cocktails
- Keto Diet Snacks in Mexico
- The Keys to Eating Keto in Mexico
- Don’t Forget Exercize!
- Bottom Line – Eating a Keto Diet in Mexico
Background on Our Eating a Keto Diet
When we decided to become digital nomads one of the first things we resolved to do was lose weight so we could travel more comfortably.
To achieve this, we eventually adopted the ketogenic – or keto – way of eating.
We eliminated sugar from our diet and tried to keep our consumption of bad carbs under 20 grams per day (we came to refer to this as our ‘wine allotment’).
We made sure we got plenty of good fats at every meal: MCT or coconut oil in our morning tea (bulletproof tea!), avocado and/or olive oil at lunch and dinner.
We are NOT strict keto people – we don’t pee on ketostix to see if we are in ketosis.
We don’t obsess about 20 gross carbs vs. 20 net carbs per day (in other words: we eat vegetables…a LOT) which makes us ‘dirty keto’. In fact, Lisa often says we are closer to the South Beach Diet than keto.
But I like saying we eat a keto diet because I think South Beach Diet is a stupid name for a way of eating.
And saying ‘Low Carb and Sugar, High Good Fat and vegetables diet,’ while most accurate, is too much of a mouthful.
Anyway, whatever you want to call it, our keto diet worked!
We each lost about 25 pounds before we launched as digital nomads and felt healthier than ever.
And since launching our full time travel lifestyle we’ve not only maintained our weight…we’ve each lost an additional 10 pounds!
All of Mexico on a Keto Diet
Mexico is a big country. And the term ‘Mexican Food’ can mean a lot of different things depending on where you are in the country.
But keto Mexican food remains more or less the same no matter where you eat it – including at home!
Of course, Mexico City is famous for being a foodie city with amazing restaurants including global as well as Mexican cuisine.
For the non-Mexican options you should also check out our more generic advice about eating a keto diet while traveling. And, specifically, Eating at Restaurants on a Travel Keto Diet.
We also recommend staying in an Airbnb or Booking apartment rather than a hotel. That way you can have a travel keto diet kitchen which allows you to enjoy homemade travel keto diet breakfasts as well as homemade keto diet fat head pizza!
What NOT to Eat on a Keto Diet in Mexico
But let’s turn our attention specifically to keto Mexican food and especially eating keto in a Mexican restaurant.
Here’s the bad news: the staples of the Mexican diet are off the table for keto. Tortillas, corn, rice, beans are a keto no-go.
Tortilla chips are also very keto unfriendly – although we have a keto diet travel hack for that! Our favorite keto snacks come from Genius Gourmet! They have lots of great keto snacks including their amazing keto snack chips that travel very well and can be used with Mexican guacamole and/or salsas!
What to Eat on a Keto Diet in Mexico
Ok, enough with what you can’t eat on a keto diet in Mexico.
Let’s talk about all the great keto Mexican restaurant options!
Keto Mexican Food: Fajitas
Fajitas are the rock star of keto Mexican food: they are available EVERYWHERE and they can be keto friendly Mexican food.
After all, they’re just a plate full of grilled meat and vegetables, cooked in oil.
Net carbs in a plate of fajitas? 7 to 15 carbs.
The catch? You only eat the meat and veggies. No tortillas, beans or rice. But it’s still delicious and filling!
Traveling to Mexico? Don’t forget to get travel insurance!
Keto Mexican Food: Tacos
Believe it or not, Mexican tacos can be the perfect keto meal.
Mexican tacos have very little in common with the kind of taco you buy at Taco Bell or get from a Tex-Mex restaurant.
They are grilled meats or seafood laid on a small flat tortilla and covered with garnish like onions and spices.
So it’s very easy to simply eat the meat, leave the tortilla.
And Mexican tacos are so cheap that you can get 2 or even 3 servings of tacos to compensate for not filling up on carby tortillas!
Keto Mexican Food: Grilled Meat
So you can order fajitas and eat the grilled meat. And you can order Mexican tacos and eat the grilled meat.
Or, you can just order grilled meat!
From steak to pork to lamb to sausages, you can get any kind of keto friendly grilled meat in Mexico. Avoid sauces that might have secret sugar in them by asking for the sauce on the side.
Keto Mexican Food: Seafood
Mexican seafood makes for a great keto Mexican meal! Fish, shrimp, octopus, lobster…all available steamed, grilled or baked so totally keto friendly.
And ceviche – fish or other seafood ‘cooked’ in citrus – is available all over Mexico. Typically garnished with keto-friendly avocado or guacamole.
Keto Mexican Food: Queso Fundido
Queso Fundido is melted cheese in a clay pot or small skillet – sometimes with chorizo or other meat mixed in.
The idea is to eat it with bread. But it’s just as delicious and – more importantly – keto friendly eating it with a fork!
Avocado and Guacamole
In case you haven’t noticed, avocado is put on nearly every dish in Mexico. Which makes sense since Mexico is by far the largest grower of this keto superfood.
Just about every keto meal we had in Mexico had an avocado garnish of some sort. Including this bunless cheeseburger!
Keto Mexican Cocktails
We have to preface this section by saying: BE CAREFUL.
Mexicans love sugary drinks. LOVE them.
And that includes their cocktails. Nearly every on-menu cocktail we saw contained either some or – more often – a LOT of sugar!
You can ask for a cocktail to be adjusted for your keto diet. But there’s no guarantee that will happen. Your Mexican bartender may dump sugar or syrup into your cocktail anyway. Be especially wary of Mexican sangria – it’s typically made with an incredibly sugary drink called Fresca.
That’s why our Mexican keto cocktail recommendation are wine and simple cocktails.
You can’t go wrong with dry wine. You know the bartender isn’t pouring sugar or syrup into it.
And there is a pretty good selection of inexpensive South American wines on offer all over Mexico.
Margarita sin Azucar (without sugar)
Sin azucar means ‘without sugar.’ We say those words a lot in Mexico.
But it’s not enough to just ask for a margarita without sugar in Mexico. Most often, the margarita mix is pre-made and contains tons of sugar. So, all the waiter or bartender is agreeing to is not adding EVEN MORE sugar to the cocktail. We learned that the hard way and had stomach aches to prove it.
The key to finding a keto margarita in Mexico is making sure the bartender understands the concept of a Skinny Girl Margarita: tequila, Agave Nectar, and lime juice. That’s all.
If you can, watch the bartender make it. That’s the only way to make sure that those 3 ingredients plus ice are all that goes in the shaker.
Keto Diet Snacks in Mexico
Be sure to check out our post on Keto Travel Snacks
One of the wonderful things about eating keto is that the desire for snacking all but disappears. Since our bodies are burning fat rather than sugar and carbs we aren’t constantly craving more sugar and more empty carbs to burn.
So we typically don’t even think about snacking.
But sometimes we do find we’d like something to nosh on in the evening or with a glass of wine at night.
Pistachios are readily available in stores and bodegas in Mexico. As are almonds and other nuts.
The Keys to Eating Keto in Mexico
Eating keto in Mexico requires a few simple things:
- Try not to sweat the secret/hidden sugar: when you are not cooking for yourself you are going to end up getting some hidden sugar. Just accept that and be comforted that it’s a LOT less hidden sugar than you would be getting in the US or Europe.
- Keep it simple. Whether they come as tacos, fajitas or as a main: chicken and pork, grilled meat, fish or shrimp without sauces are always a great keto option no matter where you are in the world.
- Enjoy the abundance of avacados! My personal keto go-to and they are everywhere in Mexico.
Don’t Forget Exercize!
Mexico is a great country for active travel.
You may be on vacation, but why not spend at least a few minutes every day swimming in the sea, exploring ancient ruins, or taking a walking tour of a city!?
There are tons of ways to stay active while eating a keto diet in Mexico!
Bottom Line – Eating a Keto Diet in Mexico
Eating a travel keto diet in Mexico is surprisingly easy.
And the greatest thing about being on keto is what we call in keto parlance NSVs: non-scale victories. And one of those is looking better than we ever have in a bathing suit on the beach!
Be sure to check out our main Travel Keto Diet page for more keto diet tips and hacks!