Friday, March 12, 2010

Dear Taco Salad.... Are You Really Good For Me?

If you have ever had a taco salad then you know how yummy they can be as well as how over loaded with grease and extra calories they often are. This has always seemed strange to me because when you think of a salad you wouldn’t normally think “Mmm grease and extra calories.” However, I think salads can be sneaky ways to over eat because we often think, “well, it’s a salad how many calories can it have?”
That’s when we decide to add some cheese, then some dressing, oh and some sunflower seeds and croutons, ooh… and some chowmein noodles, and let’s not forget the veggies we've got to be healthy now. So before you know it you have a nice looking and filling salad, and it should be filling because now it is worth almost your entire days worth of calories.

In other words salads can be deceiving because yes the lettuce has almost no calories in it, but that doesn’t mean anything we add to it will instantly have no calories either. I don’t thinl people actually belive that, but I don’t think we normally, well, think about it which causes us to tend to just go overboard.

I do love a good salad and the reason I bring up a Taco salad is because they are not only DELICIOUS, but they are also the ideal calorie smuggling salad. First you have your deep fried tortilla laden in grease, next you have your lettuce, then cheese, beans, meat (maybe), sour cream, guacamole, etc… These other things wouldn’t be bad in moderation, but what sets this one over the edge is the shell. This inspired an idea.

Not too long ago when I was in one of my striving to eat healthier moments, I decided to try to make a lower calorie, but still super tasty taco salad including the tasty crunchy bowl. What I decided to do was take a flour tortilla (I always buy the low carb ones, or just the ones that have the least amount of calories and fat) and bake it in the oven inside an oven safe bowl. By pressing it into the bowl I was able to create the bowl shape I wanted. I just lightly coated the inside part with olive oil to help it crisp up. In about ten minutes I had a crunchy bowl for my salad. It turned out great and still gave me that crunch that I was craving. But, if I am really lazy, I just take a handful of corn chips and sprinkle those on my salad instead :)
If you are a fan of the taco salad, I recommend at least trying this out. Of course nothing compares to fried tortillas, but it comes in a close second. Whatever way you do it, have fun, experiment and enjoy!

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