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A Mexican buffet does not typically conjure images of health and fitness (in my experience, this is true of most buffets), but today I enjoyed a healthy, satisfying, and affordable lunch at El Toro in Middletown.

I’m typically an eat-at-your-desk kind of gal because it allows me control over what is going into my body, and what’s coming out of my bank account. But when The Boss wants to celebrate a coworker's three-year anniversary with “unlimited guacamole” on El Toro's patio on a beautiful day, it’s hard to say no!

Upon arrival, I picked up the menu and scanned for healthy options. Grilled salmon and vegetable fajitas are typically my go-to, and I limit my portion to half of the serving size and avoiding refried beans and sour cream. My coworkers insisted I at least look at the buffet before I make my decision.

I found exactly what I expected: Refried beans, deep-fried “taco salad” shells, and hot cheese containers. But much to my delight I came across something very surprising and refreshing: a salad bar complete with MANY fresh fruit options! I decided I could make this work and grabbed a plate.

I happily walked away from the buffet with a delicious lunch:

  • Shredded lettuce – no nutritional value, but helped add crunch and volume to my plate to help me feel full
  • Fajita chicken and vegetables – this probably had some fat involved, so I used very little and drained as much of the juices out of the spoonful that I could
  • Banana peppers and tomatoes
  • Various fresh salsas
  • A spoonful of guacamole – this is healthy fat and full of protein!
  • A tiny sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese – cheese is my weakness.
  • A large side of fresh kiwis and strawberries

It’s hard to know exactly how many grams of fat and calories I consumed during my meal, but after lunch my body felt like it was replenished, not like it had been drowned in lard. I will happily return to El Toro for their Mexican buffet.

Photo: Cat Scott Larimore

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About Cat Scott Larimore

Owner of 502 Power Yoga, Kentucky's first Baptiste Power Vinyasa yoga studio. Located in the Douglass Loop neighborhood. Also a designer, artist, beer drinker, mother, and wife.

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