It's National Taco Day, but for those doing their best to adhere to a strict diet, it can be less of a celebration and more of a day of dread— after all, no one wants to set back their hard earned progress by gorging themselves on a spread of 12 assorted tacos and salt-rimmed beverages, even if it sounds completely and utterly worth it.
However, is it possible for tacos to comprise the components of a healthy diet? Obviously, the answer is yes— we've taken the science of fitness too far and devised a list of "cheat tacos" below that are made up of fresh ingredients, protein-packed lean meats, and multi-grain fibers. It's what we do.
Read ahead for a list of excuses (i.e., solutions) for eating as many tacos as you want tonight. Just promise us you'll try and make some decent gains out of the intense bursts of energy and strength they provide.
(Disclaimer: Each of the following recipes utilize tortillas made from whole-grain wheat or cornmeal— this is arguably the most important element of a healthy taco. Avoid white flour tortillas!)
Careful taking this one lightly— its power levels are off the charts. Pick up some flank steak and cornmeal tortillas to get started with this one, then you'll want to season it with ingredients that focus on complimenting and bringing out the flavor of the beef.
Combine fresh diced onions and garlic with any peppers you have on hand (the spicier, the better), and top them off with lime juice and additional seasonings of your choice— a little chili powder, cayenne pepper, etc. will go a long way when combined with savory flank steak cuts and freshly chopped peppers.
Top it off with some cheese if you must, but be aware that most are rich in saturated fats that you should try and avoid.
If you're as serious about your diet as you are about your lifting (and you always should be— the two go hand in hand), then there's a good chance you'll find yourself with extra turkey breasts lying around from time to time. If not, go grab some— this makes for one of the tastiest and healthiest tacos that money can buy.
Combine whole wheat tortillas (cornmeal tortillas are fine) with pre-cooked turkey breast, cilantro, black beans, lettuce, and chili powder— the rest of the seasonings are up to you, but we recommend salsa and additional spices to bring out the best in the turkey and beans.
We didn't forget about you, vegetarians— even the meatiest of meat heads among us have accepted that you can derive just as much protein (and arguably more nutrition) from achieving the discipline of a calorie-dense, vegetarian diet. This taco is a shout-out to those of you who enjoy abstaining from animal products while still bringing it in the gym and on the pavement.
Combine a cornmeal tortilla with a range of peppers— first and foremost, we recommend jalapenos and red bell peppers. Next, level it out with your preferred choice of beans. We're partial to black beans, but pinto beans work exceptionally well for flavor —garlic, onions, oregano, and other universal taco constants apply equally here, along with your choice of cheese and optional extras. Add some oil (vegetable or olive), wrap it up, and you're good to go.