Are Mexican Tacos Healthy?

Authentic Mexican tacos have evolved into somehow an unhealthy version with lots of grease and unwanted carbs. Since Tex-Mex restaurants have become mainstream in the fast-food industry, there have been tweaks made to the traditional version of this popular and well-loved Mexican dish.

With all the various ways tacos can be prepared nowadays, how can you make sure that your tacos are healthy?

Let’s learn more about this favorite Mexican dish and how you can prepare it to be more nutritious.

All About Tacos

If you pass by a Mexican street, it will nearly be impossible to not find a restaurant that serves authentic Mexican tacos. And if you ask any American household, you will learn that once in their life, they ate a taco.

Traditional tacos date back to hundreds of years ago when they were originally served to miners. It became a handy meal for miners who would stay in the silver mines in the 18th century. The first real name of this miner’s meal was “taco de minero” or “miner’s taco”.

Corn is the main ingredient of a taco shell. It is said that, in around 3,000 BC, Mexicans excavated the “Valle de Tehuac” to create the corn plant from hybrid grasses. This is how corn started to be revered and has played a vital role in authentic Mexican cuisine.

Are Mexican Tacos Healthy?

The first tacos ever made that were sold in Mexico had sausage, chorizo, green sauce and pork rinds, and mole Verde. They were born in the city of Cuautla, Morelos, and made their way to the capital, Cuernavaca.

Today, these are healthy ways of how the most authentic Mexican tacos are prepared:

1. Al Pastor Tacos

When you think about tacos, Al Pastor Tacos were the first tacos that were sold in Mexican markets. They are pork-filled tacos sold in street food carts and gourmet restaurants. You will find this name for tacos on the menu of Mexican restaurants today.

Mexican al pastor street tacos- El Rincon

What makes this taco healthy is the slow-cooked pork that’s been cooked on a kebab rotisserie after being marinated with chilies.

Slow-cooking preserves all the natural flavors of the meat that blend with the spices in the marinade.

The meat is then served, instead of wrapped in a soft tortilla and garnished with fresh pineapple.

If you go to other places in Mexico, like Puebla, these tacos are known as tacos de Arabes (Arab tacos). In the north of Mexico, they are called tacos de trompo and are flavored with smoky paprika.

2. Tacos de Canasta

Tacos de canasta - El RinconKnown as the original street taco, you will find these staple tacos sold at a cheap price for any meal of the day on the street or in taco canteens.

They became popular when they were sold in baskets. In fact, the name refers to basket tacos.

If you are looking for healthy tacos, this could be the one. It is prepared by steaming, filled with healthy and simple ingredients like potatoes and beans.

Sometimes, they can be incredibly greasy. Hence, their other name is sweaty tacos.

3. Tacos de Cazo

These are the bucket tacos, named after the way the meat filling is cooked. In Mexico, a ‘cazo’ is a large, metal basket. Meat used for this taco is cooked inside a ‘cazo’ over a fire. The meat, often beef, is left to cook slowly in its own lard or fat for a decadent, tender finish.

You may encounter other names of this type of authentic Mexican taco. Their names typically refer to the names of the parts of meat as such:

  • Tacos de suadero: consists of tender cuts of beef, slow-cooked in a cazo
  • Suadero taco: consists of the leftover parts, slow-cooked in a cazo
  • Tripas tacos: consists of the tripe, and other innards, slow-cooked in a cazo
  • Buche tacos: consists of a pig’s stomach, slow-cooked in a cazo

4. Tacos de Lengua

Tacos de Lengua- El Rincon

If you want to try exotic tacos, you can try tacos de Lengua. It is one of the tacos made with unusual parts of an animal.

For this particular taco, the main ingredient is the tongue of a butchered animal. It is said that the best type of tacos de Lengua is beef tongue braised in garlic.

5. Tacos de Cabeza

Here’s to the more unusual parts placed in a taco for an adventurous ride. The main part used to create tacos de Cabeza is the meat from the head of an animal.

The head is normally steamed slowly until it’s tender. Some Cabeza tacos can have pork cheeks, eyes, brains, and other parts.

6. Tacos de Pescado

One more healthy Mexican taco is the tacos Pescado made with fish meat. The original tacos de Pescado was prepared using cheap, leftover shark meat. Now you can get this kind of tacos with crispy fried cod to salmon, garnished with avocado.

7. Tacos de Asada

Tacos de Asada- El Rincon

You can’t get enough of a healthy Mexican taco made with grilled meat. Tacos de Asada are typically prepared using beef cuts, cheap beef skirts, and prime ribs.

Similar to how shawarma meat is prepared, the meat used for tacos de Asada is grilled, seasoned, and chopped up into small, taco-sized portions.

8. Tacos de carnitas

One of the healthiest versions of an authentic Mexican taco is the tacos de carnitas. The meat for this taco is prepared by seasoning it with a little spice and then slowly cooking it in its own fat until it literally falls apart, making this the ultimately pulled pork taco.

Can Homemade Tacos Be Healthy?

Yes! When you want to prepare tacos at home, you can choose healthy filling options. The list can be endless. If you want a lean option, you can prepare lean chicken (skinned and white meat) or seafood to fill your taco.

Otherwise, if meat is not an option, and you want to go vegetarian, you can simply put in beans, eggs, mushrooms, and many other savory alternatives to meat.

Can Tacos Be Healthy?

Of course! Apart from selecting a healthier alternative for a filling, you can request a healthier sauce instead of cream. When you order tacos in a restaurant, you can ask them to simply put chopped onions and cilantro.

These are wonderful herbs that cut the flavor of savory meat while adding a delicious, aromatic flavor. Guacamole and salsa can also add great flavor, spice, and nutrition to your taco.

Related: 8 Taco Fillings to Try to Make Your Tacos Delicious


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El Rincon Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar or known as El Rincon among the locals around the restaurant serves Mexican food and drink made from the freshest ingredients. El Rincon is an authentic Mexican restaurant in Texas, visit us now!

Besides serving food for our customers in Carrollton and Addison we’re also active in communities across Texas. Contact us today to know more details!

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