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5 Tips for How to Make Healthy, Low-Calorie Quesadillas at Home

Quesadillas are absolutely scrumptious... but typically not the best for your waistline if you're trying to watch your weight. The good news is that Keri Glassman, R.D., of NutritiousLife.com and author of The New You (and Improved!) Diet, has come up with some helpful pointers for how to make your favorite dish a lot more diet-friendly. Here's how.

Redo Your Dairy
A typical quesadilla might ooze with bland, overprocessed Cheddar, but goat cheese's full, creamy taste means you can use less queso without sacrificing flavor—plus, this type usually boasts lower calorie and fat counts, per ounce, to begin with.

Gourd Choice
It's a fall favorite and good for you too: Butternut squash is rich in carotenoids—as evidenced by its beautiful orange color—which is associated with a reduced risk for cancer and eye degeneration.

Meatless Magic
The flavorful and nutritionally dense mushroom (it's full of B6, folate, niacin, riboflavin, iron, potassium, and selenium) makes an excellent substitute for chicken or beef. In a study from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, people who swapped meat for mushrooms for a year lost an average of seven pounds.

Go For Fiber
Skip the white-flour tortillas—their carb (and calorie) counts are nearly identical to those of whole wheat, but they often have zero fiber.

Better Mex
At a popular Mexican-style chain, the lowest-cal quesadilla comes in at 700 calories, more than twice what this version tallies. The highest on that menu? Over 1,800 (yes, two zeros).

Homemade Upgrade: Quesadillas
1 Tbsp coconut oil, divided
3 cups crimini mushrooms
1 cup chopped onion
3 cups thinly sliced butternut squash
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup goat cheese
4 whole-wheat tortillas

Brian Kennedy

1. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onion, squash, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and pepper, and sauté until lightly browned.

Brian Kennedy

2. Meanwhile, spread goat cheese on 2 tortillas and top with mushroom, onion, and squash mixture. Place a remaining tortilla on each.

Brian Kennedy

3. In the skillet, heat remaining oil over medium heat. Cook 1 quesadilla for 2 to 3 minutes, then carefully flip and cook 2 minutes more, until lightly browned. Repeat with second quesadilla. Slice into wedges and serve.

Makes 4 servings 
Per serving: 320 cal, 13.5 g fat (8.5 g sat), 42 g carbs, 445 mg sodium, 6 g fiber, 12 g protein

More from Women's Health:
4 Tips to Make HEALTHY Fried Chicken (Seriously!)
7 Foods I Prep Each Week to Make Sure I Eat as Healthy as Possible
How to Make a HEALTHY Burger and Fries

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