Who doesn’t love a taco? It doesn’t have to be Cinco De Mayo or Taco Tuesday for a simple taco to bring a smile to your face.
The taco love is not a one-way street. Those tacos love you back. Tacos are a healthy food just as they are – no special ingredients required. Here are three things that make tacos healthy and delicious.
Corn tortillas are a win over flour tortillas.
Let’s start with the fact that corn tortillas are made with a special flour called masa harina, which makes them naturally gluten free. If that’s a concern for you, you will also want to make sure they are manufactured in a facility free from cross-contamination.
Here’s the bonus for the rest of us. Corn is a grain and that makes corn tortillas a great source of fiber. Since the average American only gets half of the daily fiber they need, the three grams of fiber you would get in a couple of tacos with corn tortillas would be a welcome addition.
Tacos are an excellent vegetable delivery vehicle.
I won’t argue with you about the “meat” of your taco. You do you. What I advocate for is loading up your taco with vegetables. Even the basics of lettuce and tomatoes are a needed boost for an average American diet that can easily avoid vegetables and fruits for the entire day. The onions you love to add are great source of prebiotics and help improve your gut health.
You can upgrade your veggies with some colorful flair. In our house, we love using the salad mix I’ve been able to pick up from Blue Heron Farm at Farmers Market of the Ozarks. The darker greens give your taco a nutrient boost. I’ve also been known to add red cabbage and shredded carrots to a taco. And don’t forget the salsa. Tomatoes have lycopene, a power anti-oxidant that has shown to improve heart heath and lower the risk of certain types of cancer.
The secret is in the seasoning.
Did you know that little packet of spices packs a powerful health punch? Chili powder (made from chili peppers) is a good source of anti-oxidants and offers anti-inflammatory benefits. Your taco seasoning will probably also contain oregano, which is a great source of Vitamin K and Vitamin E, and garlic powder, which is good for heart health.
If your local store has been out of seasoning or if you unexpectedly run out, taco seasoning is super easy to make. My friend Brandy at Living Light with Brandy Lane has a simple taco seasoning recipe. CLICK HERE to check it out.
How to make tacos healthier than they already are
If you want to go beyond your basic taco, here are three ways you can make a nutritional upgrade.
Add some avocado. Fat is essential for healthy hormones and to use essential nutrients like Vitamin D.
Make a taco salad. Get extra veggies by making a salad with all the normal taco toppings, including a few corn tortilla chips for the fiber boost.
Go planted based. If you’re trying to transition to more meatless meals, try my jackfruit taco recipe. It’s a tasty and quick recipe that might even fool the meat eaters at your table.
For the recipe in the video, first drain the canned jack fruit and shred it in a bowl with your hands. You’ll notice it starts to look a little like shredded beef or chicken. Then add the jackfruit to a skillet or saucepan with one cup of vegetable broth and 1 packet of your favorite taco seasoning. Bring the mixture to a rapid simmer for one minute then reduce the heat to a low simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the liquid is mostly gone.
Making tacos healthy isn’t hard and it do doesn’t really require change. Enjoy tacos for the nourishing and fun dinner that they are.