This may shock you, but tacos are nearly a perfect food when it comes to taste, convenience and super nutrition! (Of course not the fried versions from fast food eateries.) You can make your own with an almost endless variety of healthful fillings and extras, and it’s easy to scale up from making a few for you to many for your family and friends. Follow these taco basics to build a your signature handheld wonder.
Taco shell: Reach for a warmed soft corn tortilla (extra fat of the worst kind creeps in when fried corn tortillas are used.) If you like a hard shell, fold tortilla over an ovenproof spatula and bake in the oven to crisp. Wholegrain flour tortilla (small diameter) makes for a great fiber-rich shell.
Protein filling: Use two to three ounces of grilled lean meat (chicken, beef, pork), fish, shrimp, tofu (or tempeh) as filling for about 10-20 grams of protein – perfect amount for a meal. Cooked beans such as black or pinto also work as a tasty high-fiber filling. Or try scrambled eggs or leftover protein from the day before.
Toppings: Go crazy here as you can really power up the nutrition with more than just plain lettuce. Try shredded green or red cabbage, micro greens (kale, spring greens), shredded radishes and carrots (orange or red), cilantro, chopped red onions, and of course diced tomatoes! Don’t feel cheese is a must on a taco as you are getting a good dose of protein with the filling; add sparingly if you do to keep calories in check.
Condiments: Did someone say salsa??! Whether spicy or mild or green or red, salsa makes a great addition to any taco. By the way, salsa counts as a vegetable and most are loaded with antioxidants good for staving off age-related diseases. Watch for creamy additions such as aioli sauce, which adds extra calories. Guacamole, supplies heart-healthy fats, but still comes with a bigger dose of calories than salsa. Simply use common sense when adding the extras.