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Taco Tuesday might be one of the best days of the week, but it doesn’t always scream healthy-at least not if your regular taco is 90 percent grated cheese and sour cream (put your hand up). Here’s the catch though: You can still enjoy plenty of tasty taco toppings while still keeping your meal nutritious.
“Whether you’re a traditional ground beef lover, prefer fish and seafood, or love authentic carnitas, almost everyone loves tacos,” says the nutritionist. Tamika Forkner, RD, LD. In addition to your favorite proteins, the right toppings can also seriously raise your taco game.
Keeping him healthy just means getting a little creative. “Experiment with fresh ingredients rather than pre-made mixes and toppings,” suggests Forkner. In the summer, opt for selections fresh from the garden or shopping at the farmers market, she says. Or, DIY your own salsas and other sauces. (The store bought things are usually more caloric, sodium, and preservatives than anything you would prepare yourself.)
To really increase the fun, create your own taco bar with all your favorite toppings; the more fresh fruits and vegetables you include, the better. “There are so many easy substitutions or additions you can make to your tacos that will improve their nutritional profile, without making you feel like you’re missing out on something,” Forkney explains.
Whether you like a bite to eat in a taco or prefer your own in soft shells, these nutritionist-approved taco filling options will ensure your next Taco Tuesday adventure is as good for you as it is delicious.
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No surprise here! “Tomatoes are packed with antioxidants, which have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer,” says Forkner. “They are also a great source of vitamin C, potassium and vitamin K.”
Combine chopped tomatoes, diced red onions and chopped cilantro for a simple, no-fuss salsa that will brighten up your tacos.
Per serving: 4.7 calories, 0.05 g fat, 1 g carbohydrate, 0.6 g sugar, 1.3 mg sodium, 0.3 g fiber, 0.2 g protein
For a pop of color, texture, and a sweet-smoky flavor, “freshly grilled sliced roast corn from the cob is the perfect garnish for outdoor barbecue tacos,” says Forkner. “Corn is rich in iron and vitamin B12 (which helps promote the production of red blood cells).”
Per serving: 70 calories, 0 g fat, 16 g carbohydrates, 8 g sugar, 300 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 1 g protein
You don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy chickpeas, and they’re an easy way to boost your taco’s nutrition. “Filled with fiber, chickpeas give tacos a nutty crunch,” Forkner explains.
Try roasting them with your favorite seasonings until they are slightly crunchy before sprinkling them.
Per serving: 114 calories, 1.8 g of fat, 19 g of carbohydrates, 3 g of sugar, 169 mg of sodium, 5.3 g of fiber, 6 g of protein
Fancy a little vegetable creaminess in your taco bar? “Lawyers are low in saturated fat and high in potassium, ”says Forkner. “They’re also high in fiber, which promotes gut health.
Enjoy sliced plain avocado or toss mashed avocado with diced red onion, garlic, lime juice, salt and pepper for a quick guac.
Per serving: 33.6 calories, 3.1 g of fat, 1.8 g of carbohydrates, 0 g of sugar, 1.5 mg of sodium, 1.4 g of fiber, 0.4 g of protein
“Fresh fruit toppings are perfect for fish or seafood tacos,” says Forkner. “They bring sweetness to the salty taste of seafood.” Pineapple helps gut health by breaking down protein and is high in magnesium, she adds.
Per serving: 45 calories, 0 g fat, 12 g carbohydrates, 9 g sugar, 242 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein
Sliced or diced peppers
If the pineapple is a little too much for you, “Red peppers bring a good crunch and a touch of sweetness to tacos”, explains the nutritionist Maxine Yeung, RD. “It also adds added fiber and lots of vitamins, such as vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin B6.”
Slice or dice your peppers before tossing them on your tacos.
Per serving: 18 calories, 0 g fat, 4.7 g carbohydrate, 2 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 1.2 g fiber, 1.2 g protein
Plain Greek Yogurt
Need a real creaminess on your tacos? “For a sour cream-like substitute, I like to mix minced chipotle peppers with Greek yogurtYeung suggests. “This sauce adds a spicy and sour flavor profile to your tacos and contains much less saturated fat than sour cream.”
Per serving: 198 calories, 19 g of fat, 4 g of carbohydrates, 3 g of sugar, 31 mg of sodium, 0 g of fiber, 2.4 g of protein
Since no taco is complete without cheese … “Use feta instead of cotija cheese if you want to reduce all of the saturated fat in your taco, while still craving a nice, distinct flavor for your taco.” cheese filling, ”Yeung explains. “Feta crumbles easily, as does cotija, so a small amount goes a long way, in terms of flavor. “
Per 1 ounce serving: 60 calories, 4 g fat, 1 g carbohydrate, 0 g sugar, 430 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 5 g protein
If you’ve never put kimchi on tacos before, now is the time. “In addition to (or even instead of) cabbage, you can add Kimchi to your tacos for a little spice and crunch, ”says Yeung. “Since it’s a fermented food, it also provides probiotics that support gut health. ” Goal.
Per serving: 15 calories, 0.5 g of fat, 2.4 g of carbohydrates, 1 g of sugar, 498 mg of sodium, 1.6 g of fiber, 1 g of protein
Whether you use diced sautéed mushrooms as a ground meat substitute or as a taco filling filled with umami, they are a must have. “They add extra fiber and are a great source of several minerals and vitamins, including copper, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and a number of B vitamins,” Yeung explains.
Per serving: 22 calories, 0.3 g of fat, 3.3 g of carbohydrates, 2 g of sugar, 5 mg of sodium, 1 g of fiber, 3 g of protein
“I love having plain black beans on my tacos,” Yeung says. “They add a ton of fiber and folate, which is important for the growth of red blood cells.” Sprinkle on a few or add some for the meat.
Per serving: 110 calories, 0 g of fat, 18 g of carbohydrates, 1 g of sugar, 300 mg of sodium, 4 g of fiber, 6 g of protein
Keep the vegetal power of your tacos by adding lentils. “Lentils are loaded with fiber and iron, which are important for delivering oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body,” Yeung explains.
Since they’re smaller than black beans, they’re easy to sprinkle on their own or add to salsas and other side dishes.
Per serving: 140 calories, 0.9 g of fat, 30 g of carbohydrates, 0 g of sugar, 4.8 mg of sodium, 10 g of fiber, 11 g of protein
For a little extra heat, add grated marinated carrots to your selection of taco bars. “Pickled carrots are a great source of beta-carotene, which turns into vitamin A,” Yeung explains. (Vitamin A is good for skin, bones, and other tissues and acts as an antioxidant.)
Per serving: 41 calories, 0.2 g of fat, 9.6 g of carbohydrates, 4.7 g of sugar, 69 mg of sodium, 2.8 g of fiber, 0.9 g of protein
If you put a fresh herb on a taco, it better be cilantro. “Besides adding a touch of flavor, cilantro adds a ton of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits,” says nutritionist Yasi Ansari, RDN, CSSD.
Chop the greens and go sprinkle with a * chef’s kiss *.
Per serving: 23 calories, 0.9 g of fat, 3.6 g of carbohydrates, 0.9 g of sugar, 46 mg of sodium, 2.8 g of fiber, 2 g of protein
To literally spice up your taco game, you can’t go wrong with jalapeños. The compound responsible for their fiery flavor, called capsaicin, is known to provide major antioxidant benefits.
Try adding them to your salsa or guacamole for controlled heat.
Per 1-cup serving: 26 calories, 0.3 g fat, 6 g carbohydrate, 3.7 g sugar, 2.7 mg sodium, 2.5 g fiber, 0.8 g protein
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