In recognition of National Taco Day - yes, apparently there really is such a thing, and Taco Tuesday, here are some tips to help you order/build great tacos that won't put you in a food coma, have you up all night popping antacids, or leave you late for work in the morning because you no longer had a belt that fit.
The Great Shell Debate - Soft vs. Hard
In most cases, hard taco shells are cooked/fried in oil, which means they are going to be higher in calories and fat than a straight uncooked soft shell. If you are purchasing tortillas from the store, be sure to look at the ingredients list on the back of the package. Some tortillas are loaded with salt, preservatives, sugar, etc. A clean healthy tortilla should have just a handful of ingredients.
Cut the Cheese
You can reduce calories, fat and sodium by cutting the amount of cheese you would normally use in half. If you build the rest of your taco right, you won't notice the missing cheese.
Traditional refried beans out of a can are loaded with sodium and may contain lard and a host of other not so healthy ingredients. Instead, make your own refried beans, choose a healthier low sodium low fat version, or make the switch over to whole beans. If you opt to purchase whole beans in a can instead of the dry bag, you will also need to look out for the sodium content.
Do/Don't Forget the Guac?
For many, guacamole is a taco staple, but some pre-made brands of guacamole contain preservatives and food dyes and often a host of other unnecessary fillers and additives. Your best bet is to make your own guac, or keep it simple and use thin avocado slices instead.
Greek It Up
Ditch the fatty sour cream and make your own with low/non-fat Greek yogurt. Take some Greek yogurt and squeeze some lemon juice to taste. If you are feeling wild, you can even add in some dill.
While there are lower fat ground red meats available, you'd be wise to switch to lower fat options such as chicken, ground turkey, or even fish as long as it's not battered and fried.