I think tacos are awesome. Nutrition coaching rockstar Josh Hillis even let me write all about my love of tacos for meal planning here. And while Winnie the Pooh may be eating all sorts of the wrong tacos, I personally think they can be a brilliant way to set yourself up for a tasty and healthy weight loss/weight management plan.
The Taco Breakdown: What gives tacos the healthy meal potential
1. Pick a lean protein (shrimp, tilapia, ground turkey, even tofu!)
2. Pick your protein seasoning (like spice blends you can find at Penzey's, sauces you fan find at the grocery store by the one and only Rick Bayless, or make your own! Regardless of what you choose, it's the seasoning that turns the boring into the exciting).
3. Pick the veggies that will compliment your taco (pico de gallo/salsa, diced avocado, jicama or cabbage slaw, sliced or diced peppers... there are lots of options!)
4. Choose a small amount of a complex carb (like beans)
5. Choose your taco's container: Typically a corn or flour tortilla but you can also do a lettuce cup (which I'm seeing more and more out in restaurants!). OR you can get even more veggies into your meal and make your taco a SALAD! Which is what I'm showing off today.
(The cool thing about the Taco Breakdown is that, even if you don't like Mexican food, you can use these exact same steps to create a great plate of any cuisine you like!)
I've been playing around with different taco bowls that don't need to be reheated that I can take to TruFit with me for lunch. I finally found one that fits a few criteria that I need if I'm going to eat in a public place (like my Evanston gym!):
1. Easy to eat/isnt' messy
2. Isn't stinky
3. Is really easy to make ahead
4. Is really easy to put together
HERE IS THE MEGA YUMMY OUTCOME!:
And here's how to make this specific taco salad for the week!
1 tsp coconut oil or light tasting olive oil
1/2 of a red onion, chopped
1.5 lbs ground turkey (figure about 3-5oz protein per meal, depending on how active you are; can be a mix of dark and light meat, your choice. I'm eating this fabulous taco salad M-F this week to make life easier)
1 packet of Frontera Chicken Taco Seasoning Sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
2 heads of Romain lettuce, washed and chopped
1/4 cup pinto or black beans (or, if you were like me this week, refried beans)
A few Tbsp of salsa
1-2 Tbsp Greek yogurt
1/8-1/4 of an avocado
= Heat your oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.
= Once hot, add your chopped onions. Sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.
= Turn heat up to high and add the turkey and brown, breaking the ground turkey into small pieces.
= Add in the seasoning sauce and cook on medium heat until the turkey is cooked through.
= Let it cool.
= Place a good 1-2 handfuls of Romain in a large Tupperware container.
= Top it with your portion of protein.
= Garnish with your beans, salsa, Greek yogurt and avocado.
= Keep the salad fresh by either placing it in the fridge or in a handy-dandy lunch bag cooler.
Now, if you're going to do this every day and want the salad to stay fresh, here's what I would do:
= Separate the protein into individual containers like these. Then, when you place the lettuce into your salad container you can just plop the protein on top.
= Place the washed and chopped lettuce in a Ziplock bag with 1-2 paper towels to absorb the moisture (keep some air in the bag when you close it)
= Keep the condiments separate in the fridge and scoop in whenever you assemble.
= You can either put your lunch together the night before or morning of.
And then all you have to do is thoroughly enjoy this salad, like I have every day this week! BON APPETIT! (Have a question/comment/idea? Leave it in the comments section!)
In honor of Brenda's love of bulletpoints, here's why I think she's awesome and you should read her interview below:
What were your initial goals when you started training?
I wanted functional fitness: I was feeling creaky, ”old”, clumsy and disconnected from my body. I was also looking for an early gym time to get up, go, and get on with my day so that no matter what else happened (or didn’t), I’d have my gym time.
How has strength training has made life better?
OMGosh, let me count the ways:
What do you enjoy the most about training?
What is your favorite exercise?
Love squats and the sled. Those make my legs and my back feel strong. I also like the landmine…don’t ask me why.
Now that Patagonia is over, what are your fitness goals for this year?
To maintain the leg and arm strength I’ve gained and working on better breathing techniques. I would like to be able to hike more challenging trails without gasping for breath. Switzerland anyone?
What would you say your philosophy on working out and nutrition is?
I know they work together, and on days I work out, I am more aware of what I am eating. On gym days, I know that if I ate less healthily the evening before, the workout will be disadvantaged.
Do you have any advice for anyone starting out?