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How to Make a Healthier Taco Salad

One of the popular dishes among my family and friends during the spring and summer months is taco salad. As we all know, a taco salad you enjoy in a restaurant is always laden with both visible and hidden fat, sodium, and additional calories. When making it at home, it is easier to control what goes into it but added fat and calories can easily sneak up on you. Consider these ideas to cut fat, sodium and calories but still maintain the taste you enjoy.

A fair amount of fat from taco salad comes from the protein being used, in most cases ground beef. To cut the fat in preparation consider using a leaner cut of beef such as ground sirloin or ground round. It is also advisable to rinse the meat after it is cooked in a way similar to how you rinse produce. This method will remove more grease and excess fat than traditional draining of the pan. Lower fat proteins such as ground poultry can also reduce the fat content but there is also a difference in taste and texture.

The dairy products contained in the traditional taco salad such as cheese and sour cream can also be high in fat and calories. Consider using a low-fat or fat free cheese. In most cases the taste difference is not as obvious when mixed. Be sure the cheese is milk based and not oil based like some lower fat cheese products claim to be.

Sour cream is a condiment most either love or hate. While I do find full fat sour cream absolutely blissful, my waistline does not. Low-fat or fat-free sour cream is an option but is still not the healthiest option to consider. In my opinion fat free yogurt tastes surprisingly similar to low fat sour cream. In addition, yogurt packs a protein punch.

When it comes to sodium content in taco salad the two biggest culprits are the tortilla chips, taco seasoning, and salsa. Cutting down the sodium is easy when it comes to the chips. Simply purchase a sodium free tortilla chip. Chances are you will not taste the difference. When it comes to the taco seasoning, many brands offer a reduced sodium option that is just as good if not better. Prepared salsas are filled with added sodium. Consider using fresh tomatoes, cilantro, and a small amount of lime juice for a fresh and crisp flavor. You may be pleasantly surprised.

When most people think of healthy they think they are giving up flavor, which is not always the case. It never hurts to experiment with flavors. That is how many a dish is created in the commercial kitchen.

There are many taco salad recipes available on the Internet. To be quite honest, it is a dish that really does not require a recipe at all. However, has a great basic taco salad recipe in which all of the suggestions I have made can be implemented.

Remember to experiment with your food and flavors. That is what cooking is all about. Eating healthy is not difficult; it is mainly about what you know and making simple changes without sacrificing flavor and the joy of eating.

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