Move over salad - Tacos are here as a delicious and healthy alternative for those looking to slim down before your wedding and still enjoy immense flavor.
You may be thinking, "Um, Ginny, tacos are fast food and isn't that unhealthy?" And I get it - if you're eating mass produced tacos from a chain fast food joint, you're probably not getting quality nutrition. But let's break down why tacos are healthier than you think.
1. Portion control
One of the things I love about little handheld tacos is that you can't overstuff them. If you're using a corn tortilla, especially, the size of your filling is probably between 1-2 ounces of meat, beans, cheese, etc. Smaller portions means you can enjoy 2-3 tacos without overdoing it on calories (note, this really mostly applies to corn tortillas because they tend to have about half the calories each as a flour tortilla. Sometimes corn tortilla tacos are served with two tortillas per taco for durability - save yourself the extra calories and only eat the one tortilla). Typically, tacos can range anywhere from 150-300 calories depending on the toppings you put in - BUT, 2 tacos (300-600 calories) is a lot better than a burrito (750+) and sides (300+).
2. Fresh ingredients
If you're eating an authentic cantina-style taco, most likely you're not getting loaded down with processed cheese and sour cream. Authentic hispanic flavors usually consist of cilantro, fresh onions, or pico de gallo! You can get creative and add different salsas, or try ordering tacos that are garnished with pickled vegetables instead of a bunch of cheese.
When you make tacos at home, you can get super creative on how you serve your tacos. I've mentioned the benefits of a corn tortilla, but you can also do a lettuce wrap, or turn your taco ingredients into a topping for salad or "pepper nachos" (that's where you use cut up squares of bell peppers instead of chips!). Not to mention, you can make tacos out of almost anything these days - it doesn't have to be ground beef, cheese, and sour cream! You can do pulled pork with pineapple salsa and cilantro; you can do eggs, tomatoes, and jalapenos; you can do barbecue chicken with pickled onions. The choices are endless!
When you're in a pinch for time and aren't sure what to serve for dinner, before you reach for the takeout menu (which is highly unlikely to help you towards your wellness goals), consider prepping some quick tacos. Typically the biggest time consumer is cooking the meat, but consider going vegetarian for a night and heating some black beans, cumin, and garlic powder in a pan, and throwing the beans, some shredded lettuce, some fresh tomatoes, and some cheese straight into a tortilla - simple, quick, easy, delicious!
When the food you eat tastes good, you're less likely to feel deprived or "like you're on a diet." By satisfying your taste for traditional Mexican food with a healthier alternative like a taco, you're less likely to cave and fully binge on a plate of nachos when you're out with your friends. Taste is a very strong factor when it comes to success of your wellness goals, and food shouldn't be bland or boring!
I'm a sucker for tacos, and love exploring new recipes to keep my family happy and healthy. I'd love to know - what are your favorite tacos?
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