Many Mexican food entrees are high in carbs, as well as saturated fat and sodium.
The good news is that melted cheese can have a place in a low-carb diet, but it can be tricky to eat the food as part of a restaurant meal. Many restaurant foods, such as fried foods and pasta, are high in carbs. If you're planning a meal out, you can have melted cheese provided you know what to order it with.
Cheese Itself Is Low In Carbs
Plain cheese is low in carbs. An ounce of provolone or cheddar cheese, for example, contains less than 1 gram of carbs per ounce. Therefore, in a meal, such as enchiladas or spaghetti and meatballs that's smothered in cheese, cheese doesn't add much in the way of carbs to the bottom-line total. Low-fat cheese, which contains slightly more carbs at about 0.5 gram instead of 0.3 gram, will cut the amount of saturated fat you eat, and that's a smart way to go, as well.
Skip the Dip
Though melted cheese on its own doesn't contain a lot of carbs, the chips or pita bread it comes with can be high in carbs, not to mention saturated fat and sodium. For example, a serving of tortilla chips made from one corn tortilla contains 11.6 grams of carbs. The melted cheese itself, however, contains a little more than 3 grams of carbs per 2-tablespoon serving. If you want a melted cheese appetizer, order it with vegetables, such as carrots and celery, rather than chips or bread, which will cut the total carb count significantly.
Cheese Isn't the Carb Problem
Cheese is the least of your carb worries when it comes to many restaurant entrees. A bean burrito made with a flour tortilla and a cup of pinto beans contains 30 grams of carbs, and that's without any rice you eat on the side. An order of spaghetti and meatballs has about 88 grams of carbs, almost none of which comes from the cheese sprinkled on the top.
Low-Carb Options With Melted Cheese
If you want a Mexican food entree, go with a cheese or meat enchilada or taco. Corn tortillas are lower in carbs than flour tortillas, and the cheese filling is lower in carbs than other fillings, such as beans or rice. A burger or meatball sandwich with melted cheese is another low-carb option since meat, like cheese, is low in carbs. You'll have to order it without the bread, though. If you're at an Italian restaurant and want a sprinkle of cheese on your soup, that's a low-carb choice, as well.