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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 usual taco is 90 percent shredded cheese and sour cream (raises hand). Here’s the thing, though: You can totally still enjoy loads of tasty taco toppings while keeping your meal nutritious.
“Whether you’re a traditional ground beef lover, prefer fish and seafood, or adore authentic carnitas, almost everyone loves tacos,” says nutritionist Tamika Forkner, RD, LD. In addition to your go-to protein, the right toppings can also seriously elevate your taco game.
Keeping it healthy just means getting a little creative. “Experiment with fresh ingredients versus pre-made mixes and toppings,” suggests Forkner. In the summertime, go for fresh garden picks or farmers’ market buys, she says. Or, DIY your own salsas and other sauces. (The store-bought stuff is typically higher in calories, sodium, and preservatives than anything you’d whip up yourself.)
To really level up the fun, create your own taco bar with all of 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 boost their nutritional profile, without making you feel like you’re missing out,” Forkney says.
Whether you love the crunch of biting into a taco or prefer yours in soft shells, these nutritionist-approved taco topping options will ensure your next Taco Tuesday adventure is just as good for you as it is delish.
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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’ll brighten up your tacos.
Per serving: 4.7 calories, 0.05 g fat, 1 g carbohydrates, 0.6 g sugar, 1.3 mg sodium, 0.3 g fiber, 0.2 g protein
For a pop of color, texture, and sweet-smoky flavor, “roasted corn sliced off the freshly-grilled cob is the perfect topping for outdoor BBQ 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 vegetarian to appreciate chickpeas, and they’re an easy way to up your taco’s nutrition. “Packed with fiber, chickpeas provide a nutty crunch to tacos,” says Forkner.
Try roasting them with your favorite seasonings until slightly crunchy before sprinkling…