¡Por Vida program going Mexican

Estela’s Restaurant & Bakery Joins ¡Por Vida! Healthy Dining Program

Author: Ursula Pari, Anchor, upari@ksat.com
Published On: Feb 11 2013 05:02:38 PM CST   Updated On: Feb 11 2013 06:29:46 PM CST

For 27 years, Estela’s Restaurant and Bakery has been offering traditional Mexican food on the West side of San Antonio, and it will continue to do so -- but now with a twist.

Estela Rivas hopes no one takes offense at her newly reworked “Gringo Breakfast," which offers no tortilla, no bacon and no potatoes.

A ¡Por Vida version is now available with ham and wheat toast.

“I am trying to teach my customers to eat healthy, so we take out the potatoes. We take out the bacon and substitute it with the ham," she explained.

Her chicken chalupas are still on the menu, but you can also order the ¡Por Vida! version with no sour cream, refried beans or guacamole.

The difference is a healthy one. It takes down a 1,000 calorie dish down to 360 calories, 13 grams of total fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 trans fat, and a healthier 480 milligrams of sodium.

Estela’s is joining other cafeterias and dining spots in the ¡Por Vida! program offered by Metro Health.

It’s offering guidance and leadership to bring food like this into the community, and so far, few Mexican restaurants have had the courage to try it.

Among them is a surprise contender in the healthy eating category, Delicious Tamales, which is offering a vegetarian low-fat tamale.

"It has black beans, corn, red bell pepper, cilantro and it's made with canola oil," said Valerie Gonzalez, who ships the Southwestern Vegetarian Tamale across the country.

She says the guidelines are simple for traditional dishes to adjust, but not so easy for Mexican, which requires more starches in the cooking. The ¡Por Vida! criteria states that a meal cannot exceed 750 calories, 23 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 750 mg of sodium and no fried foods.

Gonzalez says, "There are a lot of restaurants that are jumping on the bandwagon with the ¡Por Vida! program because they do see the need that something needs to be done. People have to learn how to control their diets. Diet and exercise, they've got to go by that."

To find out more about the ¡Por Vida! program, check out their website at PorVidaSA.com.