Guest Post by Grace Walker, Dietetic Intern and Masters Student at UT Southwestern.
In Texas, Mexican food reigns in popularity and at the top of that list comes tacos. Who doesn’t love a classic beef taco topped with salsa and sour cream, or the more avant-garde fish tacos that people go crazy for as well? In the DFW area, it seems there is a taco joint on every block! Unfortunately they aren’t always as healthy as they could be. Many places fry their ingredients or use a variety of unhealthy oils and fats that can increase the calorie amount and make what could be a nutritious meal less-so. However, there is an alternative—make your own at home!
While it may seem daunting because of all the components, homemade tacos are both easy to make and fun! Since tacos are very versatile, you can change them to meet whatever dietary requirements or food preferences you or your family may need. The specific recipe I’ve shared is vegetarian, but you can add anything you want to your tacos to maximize your nutrient intake.
Making a healthier taco is easy.
1) Start with your “shell”; here I’ve used flour tortillas, but a healthier option would be traditional corn tortillas, which have the same calorie content, but less fillers.
2) Next, choose your protein. Again, since I’m a vegetarian I chose a meatless ground beef, but you can use traditional ground beef (lean), pulled chicken, fish, or even just beans.
3) Then, choose your vegetables—it’s here when you can have fun and put whatever you want in!
This is also the step where you can encourage your children to try new veggies, especially since you can add cheese or other toppings to make them more appealing.
Since you can prepare many of the components separately, tacos are a great meal for the entire family, allowing everyone to build them just how they want. Coincidentally, the makings of tacos are also great leftovers. Grab a new “shell” and reheat the ingredients, or go the modern route and mix everything into a burrito bowl. Enjoy!
Grace Walker is a Dietetic Intern and Masters student at UT Southwestern in Dallas.