You know how kids countdown to Christmas? My husband is counting down to pre-season football games. You see, as a Redskins fan, as soon as the NFL draft is over until the first game of pre-season, the only thing this guy hears about are 'quarterback controversy', the latest player who is having legal issues, oh and the fact that the name of the team itself is in big trouble. Redskins fans don't have a lot of positivity in their lives. Needless to say, TODAY is the first pre-season game and to celebrate the ritual that is football watching, I went out to grab a few of his favorite football foods: Chicago style popcorn (this is an all the time glorious snack...self included), Italian sausage and usually some sort of tortilla chip.
Living with a dietitian however has turned tortilla chips into healthy taco salad and bless his heart, he never complains. (But we will do a U-turn if we smell our favorite hamburger place, so... ) That being said, I figured there are many of you out there who are looking for ways to balance specific football foods with eating healthier, and this healthy taco salad is just one way to do it.
What this really comes down to is BALANCE and PORTIONS. Eating a tortilla chip will not make you gain immediate weight so calm the hell down. It gets dicey when you are ONLY eating tortilla chips, lots of them, and you cannot stop yourself. Alternatively, you want one so bad, and to avoid eating it you eat 20 things in place of said chip and way overdo your calories anyway. By moving tortilla chips into the topping zone of a salad, you get the crunch and salt as 'confetti' not as the whole base of your meal.
And like any good salad, you need variety. Crisp romaine lettuce and summer tomatoes balance out the heavier avocado and black bean mix. I love cheese so including it over warm bean mix is a must for me. Lastly, fresh lime or cilantro if you have it to brighten it up one step more.
A word on dressing:
I know most salads have dressing, but honestly with the avocado and the bean mix, there is no need to add extra fat on this salad. You've already got healthier fat options and spicy seasoning, so just take a pass! No need to go traditional salad here.
Healthy Taco Salad
/// Ingredients ///
- Chopped greens of choice ( I like romaine because that's what I would put in a taco)
- Seasoned beans or protein of choice (Buy taco seasoning, sauté onions, add protein: easy!)
- Pepper jack or sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- Tortilla chips
/// Directions /// Build your salad with the greens as a base. Add the other veggies and then as sides and toppings add avocado, protein, and the chips. By starting with the veggies, your plate will look more full and you will be less tempted to over-serve on the foods that can be easier to overindulge in.
Dietitian Nutritionist. My husband Chris and I create food and beverage photos, videos, stopmotions and recipes. And they're really cool.