Attention taco lovers: National Taco Day is on October 4th. Last year, Americans ate over 4.5 billion tacos. That equals 775 million pounds, which is the weight of two Empire State Buildings. You can celebrate this year while making a few simple changes to make your tacos nutritious, yet still tasty.
- Skip the chips. Tortilla chips are high in calories and are filled with saturated fats and sodium. In fact, one cup of tortilla chips contains 300 calories.
- Pile on the veggies. Add sautéed peppers, onions, zucchini, celery and tomatoes to add flavor without adding extra calories.
- Make your own salsa. Bottled salsa from the grocery store can be filled with sodium. In fact, one cup of salsa from the store can contain over 1500 mg of sodium! It is easy to make healthy salsa at home with some fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, green chiles, cilantro, and lime juice.
- Season with fresh herbs and spices. Prepackaged dry taco seasoning contains 205 mg of sodium per teaspoon. Lemon, lime, garlic, paprika and cilantro are good options to spice up your tacos without adding sodium.
- Focus on fiber. Use whole-grain or corn tortillas rather than flour tortillas to increase fiber intake. Add in ½ cup of black beans to add a whopping 10 grams of fiber, which will keep you full throughout the day.
- Choose lean meats. Skip fatty cuts of meat and choose 90% lean ground beef, chicken or fish. Tilapia, red snapper, Mahi Mahi and even salmon pair well with tacos. Remember that a portion size of meat is 3 ounces, which is the size of a deck of cards.
- Be smart about toppings and sides. Shredded cheddar cheese or sour cream add 110 calories per ¼ cup, so top your tacos with low-calorie vegetables instead. Alternatively, guacamole contains a similar amount of calories per cup as cheese and sour cream, but is full of healthy monounsaturated fats, which can help to lower cholesterol and your risk of heart disease.
Celebrate National Taco Day with these tips to enjoy a healthy meal. Check out the recipe below from Cooking Light: