Taco Tuesday and Cinco de Mayo are two of the most beloved foods, but tacos can be enjoyed on any day. Why? Because tortillas can be folded to accommodate any dietary preference or food allergy. They’re also not necessarily unhealthy (we don’t mean the Taco Bell diet).
Start by making all or part of your protein plant-based. Beef, pork, and chicken are the traditional proteins. However, you can also use beans, lentils, or quinoa (a type of seed that is cooked as a grain). According to the U.S., a half-cup serving of canned black beans is an excellent source for protein and a great source of heart-healthy fibre. Department of Agriculture (USDA). According to the USDA, beef can be consumed in equal amounts. It is a good source of protein but has low levels of fiber.
This simple swap can reduce calories and saturated fat, while still providing ample nutrition. Research also shows that replacing animal protein with plant-based proteins helps to prolong life expectancy. In a study published July 2020 in JAMA Internal Medicine , participants who consumed more plant-based proteins had a lower chance of dying from any type of heart disease. A separate meta-analysis published by the Lancet in January 2019 found that people who eat a lot of high-fiber foods had a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Tacos are a great way of getting your recommended daily intake of vegetables. Sweet potato, and Kale are both delicious and nutritious ingredients for tacos. According to the National Institutes of Health, sweet potatoes are a great source of Vitamin A. This nutrient plays a crucial role in eye health and immune function . A cup of raw kale is a great source of vitamin K. This vitamin helps regulate calcium levels and blood clotting.
Turkey Taco Lettuce Wraps
Cooking Classy’s ground turkey tacos have romaine lettuce leaves instead of corn tortillas or standard flour. This is great news for people who are low in carbs or follow a high-protein diet such as keto. The USDA states that Romaine lettuce has 2 calories per leaf. However, it contains nutrients such as vitamins A and K. Sprinkle your favorite toppings like chopped tomatoes, onions, avocado and chopped cilantro.
Nutrition per Serving: 239 Calories, 13g Total Fat (3g Saturated Fat), 23g Protein, 7g Carbohydrates, 2g Fiber, 3g Sugar, 284mg Salt
Chickpea Avocado Tacos
This vegetarian recipe from Kim’s Cravings features chickpeas and avocado. No cooking necessary. Mix the ingredients together lightly with the seasonings and cilantro. The mixture can then be poured into your tortilla. According to the USDA, chickpeas provide high levels of fiber and protein (10.6g of fiber and 11.8g protein per cup canned chickpeas). According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, avocado is a good source of monounsaturated oil, which is a healthy fat that increases HDL (“”good””) cholesterol.
Nutrition per Serving (1/2 cup filling, 1 corn tortilla): 204 Calories, 6.5g Fat (1.2g saturated), 9g Protein, 31.6g Carbohydrates, 9.4g Fiber, 9.4g Sugar, 296.7mg Salt
Blackened Fish Tacos With Avocado Sauce
This blackened fish taco recipe by Evolving Table features homemade cilantro, lime, avocado sauce. Shredded cabbage and chopped green onion add a crunchiness to the dish. According to the American Heart Association, white fish is healthier than traditional taco fillings such as beef, pork, or skin-on poultry. Tilapia is high in protein (22.8% in one cooked filet), and low in saturated fat (less than 1 g per cook fillet, approximately 3 ounces [oz]), according to the USDA. AHA recommends that you limit your intake of saturated fat to 13 grams per day (or less if you eat 2,000 calories). This is because it can increase your risk for heart disease. Put everything in a corn tortilla. Drizzle with the homemade sauce (recipe included) and then sprinkle with queso fresco.
Nutrition per Serving (2 Tacos): 401 Calories, 19g Fat (3g Saturated Fat), 29g Protein, 30g Carbohydrates, 7g Fiber, 1g Sugar, 585mg Salt
Shrimp Tacos with Pineapple Salsa
These sautéed shrimp tacos by Kim’s Cravings are a quick and easy taco recipe. In just two tacos, you’ll get 41.7g of protein and 5 g fiber. For extra vitamins and minerals, place the shrimp in a warm corn tortilla. According to the USDA, a cup of pineapple pieces contains 79mg of Vitamin C. This makes it an excellent source. It’s worth including more seafood, such as shrimp, into your diet as it provides a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Past research shows that most Americans don’t eat enough seafood to meet the USDA and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommendations (at least 8 ounces per week). However, this recipe can help increase your intake.
Nutrition per Serving (2 Tacos): 320 Calories, 0.4g saturated fat, 41.7g Protein, 35.4g Carbohydrates, 5.1g Fiber, 9.9g Sugar, 452.1mg Salt
Although taco salad is not a taco, this taco salad recipe by Well Plated By Erin has all the usual ingredients. For a fun twist on traditional tacos, top everything with homemade tortilla strips (use corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas) and a dressing made from salsa and nonfat plain Greek Yogurt (recipe included). This recipe calls for lean ground turkey. However, black beans can be used to lower the fat content and make the salad vegetarian. The USDA states that a 4 oz serving 93 percent lean ground Turkey has 9.4 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), while a cup of black beans only contains 2 g fat (1g saturated fat).
Nutrition per Serving (not including dressing: 596 calories), 23g fat (5g saturated), 40g protein and 65g carbohydrates. 9g sugar