Everyone loves tacos! In fact, we love our tacos so much that they have their own day of the week and year (October 4). We can often get stuck in a ‘taco rut’ and make the same taco recipe every time. Follow these tips to step up your Taco Tuesday game and enhance the flavor and nutrition of your dish.
- Create a flavorful base. Before adding meat and beans to your taco shell, spread on this delicious Creamy Avocado Hummus. This smooth and creamy spread is half the calories of traditional hummus and provides calcium and protein by using Greek yogurt. Many taco toppings end up falling off the top of the taco, but spreading this on the tortilla will help to ensure a flavorful bite each time.
- Mix the cheese in. Don’t just top your taco with cheese. Mix your favorite cheese in with the meat or bean filling while it’s warm on the stove. The warm, melty cheese adds a comforting flavor throughout the filling. Good news for the lactose intolerant taco fan, you can enjoy aged hard cheeses, such as cheddar, which are low in lactose.
- Make the swap. Amp up nutrition and decrease calories and fat by topping your taco with a dollop of nonfat plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. Two tablespoons of sour cream provide 51 calories, 5 grams of fat and 1 gram of protein, while 2 tablespoons of nonfat Greek yogurt provides 16 calories and 3 grams of protein with no fat. It’s a simple way to trim calories and fat and still tastes great.
Mix and Match Your Taco Recipe:
- Hard shell or soft-shell taco
- Lettuce leaf
- Lean ground beef (mix finely chopped, cooked mushrooms with lean ground beef for a twist)
- Lean ground chicken
- Lean ground turkey
- Shredded low-fat cheese
- Low-fat sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
- Sliced avocado
- Black beans
- Pinto beans
- Chopped green pepper
- Chopped green onion
- Chopped tomatoes
- Chopped yellow onion
- Chopped mushrooms
- Sliced olives
- Chopped cilantro
- Sliced jalapeños
- Shredded lettuce
- Broccoli slaw
Serve your tacos with a side of rice or beans, fruit, and a glass of low-fat milk. Taco Tuesday is fun for the whole family. Try serving it buffet-style so everyone can create their own taco masterpiece.
Janine is a registered dietitian and president of Janine Faber Nutrition, LLC. She enjoys inspiring others through nutritious meals and tips via regular television segments, presentations, cooking demonstrations and written articles. Janine was awarded the Ohio Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year award from the Ohio Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2008 and the Supermarket Dietitian of the Year Award from the Produce for Better Health Foundation in 2014.