Tacos, especially ‘street tacos’, have long been touted as a cheap way to fill up your belly, or have a quick lunch for less money. But what are those tacos doing to your body? How healthy can they be for you, especially those from fast-food chains?
Tacos can be healthy if healthy ingredients are used. Tacos can be lower in sodium (if they are homemade), and they can provide a good dose of vitamins and minerals essential for healthy minds and bodies. Tacos can be gluten-free, depending on the shell used.
Are you ready for more ways of eating tacos that benefit you? Dig in!
1. Tacos Use Fresh Ingredients.
Most tacos, except frozen pre-processed tacos, use fresh, healthy ingredients. When tacos are made as close to the Mexican version as possible, with plenty of fresh ingredients and properly prepared protein, tacos are healthy and provide a balanced meal. Even fast-food tacos can be healthier than other choices on the menu, because of the tomatoes, lettuce, and salsa.
When making tacos at home, you have more control over the ingredients and how fresh they are, including your favorite vegetables.
2. Tacos Provide a Balanced Meal.
Tacos contain protein, fats, and carbs in one food, giving you a balanced meal for not a lot of money. If you didn’t know, a balanced meal is one that gives you proteins, fats, and carbohydrates in one meal. Tacos have carbs from the vegetables and the tortilla, while the protein comes from beef, chicken, or fish, and the fats come from guacamole, sour cream, and cheese.
Tacos can also go well with refried beans, Mexican rice, and a side salad. Pairing these side dishes with your tacos creates a balanced meal that feeds a lot of people.
3. Healthy Ingredients Provide High Amounts of Vitamins and Minerals.
Homemade and sit-down restaurant-made tacos have better quality ingredients that provide a higher amount of vitamins and minerals. You get 3.1 grams of fiber from the tortilla, 28% of your recommended daily value of vitamin B12, and 24% vitamin C. You also get plenty of iron, calcium, and magnesium that your bones and muscles need to stay healthy.
If your tacos are served with leafy greens instead of lettuce, you get even more nutrients packed into a small package.
4. Tacos Can Be Gluten-Free.
Traditionally, tacos are made with naturally gluten-free corn tortillas. Anyone that has Celiac disease, or are sensitive to wheat or gluten, can indulge in tacos. If you are making homemade tacos, be sure to read the ingredient list for any gluten-containing products or if they’ve been processed in the same area where gluten products are processed.
If you are dining out, ask your server about cross-contamination procedures before ordering. Chances are, they can make your tacos safe if they know you need your food completely gluten-free.
5. Homemade Tacos Can Be Lower in Sodium.
When you make tacos at home from scratch, you can lower the meat’s sodium content by adding individual seasonings. You can also add sea salt, which is lower in sodium, and higher in trace minerals than table salt.
If you have time, you can also make corn tortillas from corn flour, or maize, and other select ingredients. There are several recipes online to show you how to make them.
6. Breakfast Tacos Are Healthier Than Cereal or Bagels.
Most breakfast cereals contain a lot of sugar and not very much else. There is no protein, with very little vitamins and minerals. If you love having cereal for breakfast, yet fall flat an hour later, you may want to switch up your routine.
Protein and healthy carbs for breakfast will keep you going longer without that dreaded sugar crash an hour later. Breakfast tacos can be just as fast as cereal in the morning but will fill you up and keep you from reaching for another snack an hour later.
If you have your fillings ready to go the night before, all you need to do in the morning is microwave the fillings and assemble the tacos before eating. And you get a more balanced breakfast than if you ate cold cereal.
7. Tacos (Especially ‘Street Tacos’) Are Inexpensive, yet Filling.
For not a lot of money, you can get a balanced meal that keeps you full for a few hours. And if you make tacos at home, they are a budget-friendly meal that gives you leftovers for other lunches the next day. Plus, you can feed your whole family with homemade tacos for less than going out.
8. Tacos Can Fit Into Any Diet, Including Low Carb.
Whether you’re following the Paleo diet, the Keto diet, the low carb diet, or a vegetarian diet, tacos can fit your diet. All that needs to change for the Paleo or Keto diets is the shell, in which you can substitute large lettuce leaves or egg white tortillas for the corn tortillas. Corn tortillas are lower in carbohydrates than flour tortillas, so tacos with these shells can fit into a low-carb diet.
If you are a vegetarian, you can substitute beans, tofu, or eggs for meat, which still fits your diet. Because tacos are customizable to any diet or preference, they fit well with however you like to eat them and with your dietary needs.
9. Fish Tacos Can Be Heart Healthy.
If your fish is not breaded, fish tacos can be heart healthy. Fish is a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids, which is proven to promote heart health and reduce inflammation. Make sure to request non-breaded fish, if you can, to keep the calories and carbs lowered.
The American Heart Association recommends at least two servings of fish rich in Omega 3 fatty acids per week to reap the heart benefits. While there are some contaminants in fish, the benefits outweigh the risks.
10. Chili Peppers Are a Great Source of Minerals and Vitamins.
Chili peppers are used in quite a bit of Mexican food, including tacos, and are a good source of vitamins and minerals. They contain a mix of B vitamins, E, A, K, as well as magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, and potassium. When the protein is cooked with chili peppers, it gives it that nice heat that Mexican food is known for, but it also adds extra nutrients to your meal.
Chili peppers are also thought to boost your metabolism and help you burn more fat. When combined with healthy fats and proteins, they make the perfect diet food.
11. Tacos Are Healthy for the Soul.
In many ways, tacos can make you feel good emotionally, especially if they are well-made and flavorful. The combination of seasoned meat, crisp, cool lettuce, juicy tomatoes, and creamy guacamole sandwiched in a rustic tortilla creates the ultimate comfort food for many people. Healthy comfort food is good for the soul because it reconnects people with memories of fun times with friends and family.
Eating tacos can make you feel good on the inside and outside.
Tacos are a delicious part of a balanced diet and can provide the nutrients you and your family needs on a tight budget. They can be heart-healthy and can help repair your body at the cellular level.
Another point about fish is that the Omega 3 fatty acids boost your metabolism, helping you lose weight when eaten with a balanced diet. Fish tacos can regulate your appetite, so you’re not craving food and eating more often than you need. Remember, though, that every food needs to be eaten in moderation, so you don’t gain weight if you don’t need to.