Creating a low-salt, low-fat taco dinner

I’ve been on a quest recently to create low-salt, low-fat tacos, finding a variety of ingredients to do it ranging from Mrs Dash’s salt-free taco seasoning to low-salt tortillas at Whole Foods.

Now it’s time to make my taco dinner. I begin by browning a pound of extra-lean (96% lean) ground beef in the Mrs. Dash seasoning and water. I also cut up lettuce, low-salt olives, and tomatoes to add in.

Once the beef is done, it’s simply a matter of building your tacos. Use low-salt, low-fat tortillas from Whole Foods as the bae, add beef, lettuce, olives, tomatoes and top off with a low-sodium salsa such as Desert Peppers brand.

Use extra-lean ground beef and low-salt salsa, low-salt olives and low-salt tortillas.

Use extra-lean ground beef and low-salt salsa, low-salt olives and low-salt tortillas.

Here’s a quick ingredient review with nutritional information for each:

Mrs. Dash Salt-free Taco Seasoning

Mrs. Dash Salt-free Taco Seasoning

Mrs. Dash Salt-free Taco Seasoning Nutrition information

Mrs. Dash Salt-free Taco Seasoning Nutrition information


96% lean ground beef

96% lean ground beef

96% lean ground beef nutritional information

96% lean ground beef nutritional information


Desert Pepper low-sodium salsa

Desert Pepper low-sodium salsa

Desert Pepper salsa nutrition information

Desert Pepper salsa nutrition information


365 organic tortillas

365 organic tortillas

365 organic tortillas nutrition information

365 organic tortillas nutrition information

Low sodium olives will save you 25 mgs per serving. It can add up

Low sodium olives will save you 25 mgs per serving. It can add up

Posted in no-salt, recipes | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Finding low-salt tortillas to create low-salt tacos

Taco shells, especially the crispy kind, can be loaded with fat and salt. Old El Paso shells, as an example, have 7 grams of fat per three shells and 135 mgs of sodium. Double that for a typical full-sized serving and you see the fat and salt add up.

365 organic tortillas

365 organic tortillas


365 organic tortillas nutrition information

365 organic tortillas nutrition information

After finding Mrs. Dash made a salt-free taco seasoning, I’ve been on a quest to create a low-salt, low-fat taco. I’ve found low-salt salsa and hit upon using 96% lean ground beef to cut the fat. But I needed something low-salt and low-fat to wrap them in. I could have used Romaine lettuce leaves but I wanted something a bit more substantial, so I searched the aisles at several food stores before finding organic corn Tortillas at Whole Foods.

This handy offering (in the refrigerated case) has only 15 mgs of sodium in three tortillas and only 2 grams of fat. So six of these have only 30 mgs of sodium and 4 grams of fat.

If you’re avoiding corn in your diet, these are not for you. Total carb count is 28 grams of carbs in three shells here, or 56 grams if you eat six as I did. If corn isn’t an issue though, give them a try.
John

Posted in food labels, ingredients, no-salt | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Finding a low-salt salsa — Hola, they are out there

Salt, and too much salt, has found its way into almost everything we eat today, even places you wouldn’t expect it. Salsa, that catchall term for generally peppery Mexican sauce, can have tons of salt, for example.

One brand you can buy at Costco, for example, has 100 mgs of salt in every two tablespoons. Think about how much salsa you can down with chips, which are also high in salt, and you see the salt building up in your system.

Places like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods do have lower-salt salsa, though. I’ve found one brand, Green Mountain Gringo, which has 75 mgs of sodium in every two tablespoons. Another, Trader Joe’s Fire Roasted Tomato Salsa, has only 30 mgs in two tablespoons, however. It also says no salt added on its label.

Desert Pepper low-sodium salsa

Desert Pepper low-sodium salsa

Desert Pepper salsa nutrition information

Desert Pepper salsa nutrition information

My latest find is the Desert Pepper brand’s peach mango salsa with only 25 mgs of salt per two tablespoons. The peach and mango combination give it a nice flavor as well, slightly different from your run-of-the-mill salsa. At $4.99 a jar at Whole Foods, it is more expensive than salty salsa, but if you’re watching your salt, that’s the price you need to pay.
John

Posted in ingredients, no-salt | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Salt-free taco seasoning from Mrs Dash, a start to your low-salt, low-fat tacos

Tacos were not on my food radar when I was an Italian-American kid growing up in Brooklyn. But I did start eating them after moving to the Midwest and became a fan before my angioplasty took Mexican dishes largely off my post-surgery eating menu.

I missed tacos, they remind me of fun meals I used to make with my kids, and so I was very excited to see that Mrs. Dash makes a salt-free taco seasoning mix.

Mrs. Dash Salt-free Taco Seasoning

Mrs. Dash Salt-free Taco Seasoning

Mrs. Dash Salt-free Taco Seasoning Nutrition information

Mrs. Dash Salt-free Taco Seasoning Nutrition information

You can see the nutrition information here, no salt, some sugar according to the ingredients list but not enough to put on the nutrition panel, and potassium chloride used instead of salt, or sodium chloride. If you have any potassium issues, you might want more information about how much is in this. But if not, this can be a first ingredient for some relatively low-salt, low-fat tacos. Continue reading

Posted in ingredients, lean meat, no-salt | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Ingredient alert: Mrs Dash salt-free marinades now at Food 4 Less

I’ve written about my quest to find local food stores that sell Mrs. Dash salt-free marinades, the ingredient I now use probably more than any other in my no-salt, no-fat, no-sugar quest. My wife and I have been making special treks to Sunset Foods in the northern suburbs of Chicago to buy them.

Mrs. Dash salt-free marinades, two varieties, is now available at Food 4 Less. I grabbed them

Mrs. Dash salt-free marinades, two varieties, is now available at Food 4 Less. I grabbed them

But I was recently pleasantly surprised to see them on the shelf at a Food 4 Less store where I live in Evanston, just north of Chicago. Food 4 Less is a discount chain owned by supermarket giant Kroger. It carries many Kroger store brands including some of its new organic line. But it’s also set up like a warehouse store, which means smaller selections in each product category but lower prices for what it does stock. Continue reading

Posted in ingredients, no-salt, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sugar is demonized in latest dietary guidelines

Friends who follow this blog likely were wondering how I would react to the latest dietary guidelines that came out last week. My basic reaction: are you kidding me????

Sugar came out as the big demon now, specifically added sugar, as if our body can tell the difference between added sugar and the sugar that is naturally in fruits and other things we eat. Sugar is sugar, I saw my mother’s diabetes worsen because she was eating too many mashed potatoes which essentially produce sugar in our systems after we eat them (the science is more involved, but I’m not a scientist). The main reason a nutritionist told me not to eat simple carbs was because of the sugar implications. So there’s a lot more to worry about than added sugar.

Congress wants to keep American School children addicted to salt. Shame, shame shame on them.

Americans eat too much salt, period. These new guidelines just give restaurants and others cover to say that’s ok. Shame on these guidelines for that.

Salt got a pardon from the food police in these new guidelines, which also stunned and angered me. I know from personal experience that wringing the salt out of my diet has helped my blood pressure and my weight, so I’m not going to go back to more salt in my diet as the new guidelines suggest, I think that’s absurd for anyone over 55 and especially anyone over 55 with heart troubles like I’ve had. Continue reading

Posted in ingredients, no-fat, no-salt, no-sugar | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Oscar party menu that is low in sugar, fat and salt

Oscar night is a big event in my movie-oriented world and household. So I’m starting to plan my Oscar party menu with a wide array of low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar specialties from my recipe page.

Preparing salmon with Mrs. Dash no-salt marinades.

Preparing salmon with Mrs. Dash no-salt marinades.

Appetizers will be low-fat puff pastry mini-shells filled with low-salt salsa. We’ll also have out cherry tomatoes, celery and home-made, salt free, fat-free potato chips. Continue reading

Posted in no-fat, no-salt, no-sugar, protein, recipes | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Healthy movie snacks? Bring your own, here are some options

If you’re a regular movie goer like I am, chances are you have bought snacks at the theater to munch while you watch. My wife and I were big popcorn eaters before my angioplasty. I joke now that popcorn oil is likely what clogged one of my arteries 80% closed.

So obviously, popcorn, candy and other movie staples are out for me now. I splurge with a diet Coke when we go now, but have taken to bringing my own snacks instead. Most movies forbid bringing in outside food, I should warn you.

My take-along healthier movie snacks include sugar-free pudding, high fiber cereal and lite while wheat English muffins.

My take-along healthier movie snacks include sugar-free pudding, high fiber cereal and lite while wheat English muffins. Also pictured, low-fat cookies from Whole Foods.

I haven’t been caught yet but if and when I am, I plan to say there are no healthy choices for me at their food counter just to get an on-the-record reaction. Continue reading

Posted in eating out, ingredients, smart shopping, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Sugar-free syrups are not all the same, check the salt

Regular pancakes and waffles are out for me since my angioplasty because the nutrition nazi I saw told me nothing with white flour. Salt content also is high in such offerings. But I can have the occasional whole wheat offering, especially if I buy low-fat, low-salt pre-made ones like Van’s whole wheat lite variety.

Check sodium content for any sugar-free syrup you use.

Check sodium content for any sugar-free syrup you use.

Maple Maid syrup has 150 mgs of sodium per quarter cup, more than some, less than others.

Maple Maid syrup has 150 mgs of sodium per quarter cup, more than some, less than others.

Butter is out too, but I can go with sugar-free syrup for some flavor. If you go the sugar-free route too, do read the labels. Salt content can vary tremendously in such offerings. I have found Cary’s sugar-free the best choice at home. It has 115 mgs of sodium per quarter cup, which is two ounces. A Jewel store brand lite version, in comparison, has 180 mgs of salt. Continue reading

Posted in ingredients, no-sugar | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Clarke’s in Evanston offers a great egg white, veggie omelet

Clarke’s is a long-time Evanston stand-by right next to the Northwestern main campus. I went there for many years and enjoyed burgers and other diner food, but since my angioplasty I’ve taken a new look at its menu searching for something that’s relatively low-fat, low-salt and low-sugar.

Clarke's Big and Tasty veggie, egg white omelet. I don't know how many egg whites this took, but it actually fills me up, a good trick these days.,

Clarke’s Big and Tasty veggie, egg white omelet. I don’t know how many egg whites this took, but it actually fills me up, a good trick these days.,


I’ve enjoyed a giant fresh fruit bowl there as well as the only whole wheat waffle I know of being served on the North Shore these days. True the waffle likely has more salt than I’m supposed to eat, but I miss waffles tremendously, so I splurge on it now and again.

More recently, thought, I’ve tried an egg white, veggie omelet called the big and healthy and fallen hard for it. It contains carrots and broccoli, no cheese which would muck it up, salt and fat-wise. Also no cauliflower, which I dislike but which seems to pop up in omelets at restaurants for some unknown reason. The thing also is massive, served with a side of fresh fruit, it actually fills me up, something most dishes don’t do these days. Continue reading

Posted in eating out, no-fat, no-salt, protein | Tagged , , | Leave a comment