If you think tacos can’t be part of a healthy eating plan, remember there are plenty of ways to make tacos healthier. Last time I checked, Taco Bell doesn’t have a monopoly on the taco industry, and you’re in control when it comes down to what you eat! Try these seven ways to make tacos healthier. Your tacos will still be super tasty without extra calories or fat.
1. Substitute Ground Turkey or Chicken for Beef
One of the easiest ways to make tacos healthier is to substitute ground beef for ground turkey or even chicken breast. Ground beef usually has a higher fat content compared to other animal protein choices, not to mention it’s loaded with antibiotics, ammonia, and other fillers. Yuck! Using a poultry product will definitely lower the cholesterol level of your tacos without sacrificing taste.
2. Skip the Meat Altogether
If you’d like to make your tacos with even fewer calories and grams of fat, why not skip the meat altogether! Beans and legumes still have plenty of protein. Their added fiber will also keep you fuller longer, so you’ll be less tempted by dessert or other junk food after your meal. Black beans, red kidney beans, and pinto beans are all great choices!
3. Choose Dark, Leafy Greens Instead of Iceberg Lettuce
Traditional tacos at Mexican and Latin restaurants usually serve their entrees with iceberg lettuce. But if you ask me, iceberg lettuce is simply code for ‘crunchy water.’ Avoid foods with no nutritional value and instead choose dark leafy greens. You’d be surprised how great your tacos taste with spinach, kale, and even raw collard greens that have been chopped finely.
4. Replace Sour Cream with Guacamole
Sour cream might taste good, but it certainly isn’t good for you. It offers no protein or substantial source of calcium, and it’s pretty much pure fat. Avocados and guacamole, on the other hand, are rich sources of monounsaturated fat. This is the kind of fat that makes your hair stronger, your skin glow, and your figure trim.
5. Add Tons of Lycopene-Rich Tomatoes
Don’t be afraid of adding salsa, taco sauce, and other tomato-based sides to your tacos. Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, a crucial antioxidant for heart health, lung function, and radiant skin. All it takes is blending a few tomatoes, onion, and jalapenos in your food processor for a simple salsa that’s fresh and crowd-pleasing.
6. Use Quinoa Instead of Rice
If you enjoy eating white rice and/or beans with your tacos, consider switching to quinoa. Quinoa is one of the only whole grains that is also a complete protein. This means it has all the amino acids you need to build muscle, stay strong, and be healthy. Quinoa is also super easy to cook. Just boil a little water, add your quinoa, and in 30 minutes you should have delicious whole grain and satisfying side for your tacos.
7. Make Your Tacos into a Taco Salad
There’s nothing wrong with turning your taco into a taco salad! Tortillas and taco shells are often loaded with refined oils, preservatives, and other synthetic ingredients we don’t want in our bodies. Ditch the fake and processed tortillas and enjoy your taco meat or beans on a bed of leafy greens. If you must have some crunch, break a few organic corn chips over your salad for a Tex Mex-inspired crouton!
Tacos are such a fun and crowd-pleasing food for your whole family. Making a few small changes is all you need to make this dish healthy and delicious. What are some of your best tips for making tacos healthier?