Are Corn Tortillas Healthy?

Are corn tortillas healthy? The days of thinking that Latin American food is not healthy are over. Although it is slowly changing, there was never much representation of our food in the health industry.

Are corn tortillas healthy?

When visiting the doctor’s office or watching advertisements for healthy food, we mainly see salads, steamed vegetables, y comida sin sazón. I remember being a teenager thinking that I had to eat boring salads and foods outside of my culture for them to be considered “healthy”. Now, as a Mexican-American dietitian, I can say with confidence that Latin American cuisine includes some of the most nourishing foods in the world.

Are Corn Tortillas Healthy?

Are Corn Tortillas Healthy?

Could it be that our food is just so delicious that it’s hard to believe it can be part of a healthy diet? There are lots of theories about why our food started getting demonized but today I want to bust these myths by showing you how to enjoy tu comida favorita every day in a balanced way. 

Let’s start with the infamous tortilla! Tortillas have been getting a bad wrap for as long as I can remember. During an initial appointment with me, some of my patients will proudly tell me “I stopped eating tortillas” or “I swapped out tortillas for whole grain bread”. As if our bodies could tell the difference between 30 grams of whole-grain bread and 30 grams of corn tortillas. The truth is that our bodies need carbohydrates, especially complex carbohydrates that come from whole grains like corn tortillas and whole-grain bread. 

Tortillas can be part of a balanced diet and can be eaten daily. The key to making a nourishing meal is learning how to make it balanced. A balanced meal contains protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, and lots of vegetables. Here are a few examples of nourishing and balanced meals that include tortillas:

portobello mushroom tacos

Corn Tortillas in a Balanced Meal:

Frijoles de la olla:

  • Carbohydrate: 2-3 corn tortillas
  • Protein: 1 cup frijoles de la olla
  • Veggies: 1 cup of pico de gallo with shredded cabbage
  • Healthy fats: avocado, queso fresco o cotija

Caldo de pollo:

  • Carbohydrate: 2-3 corn tortillas 
  • Protein: 1-2 pieces of chicken 
  • Veggies: lots of chayote, carrots, calabacita
  • Healthy fats: Avocado

How to Eat Healthy and Delicious

The goal is to balance our meals with each food group and try to add as many vegetables as we can. Many of our cultural dishes are already packed with nutrients and contain vegetables. Some of these dishes include calabacitas a la Mexicana, rajas con crema, ceviche, aguachile, caldo de pollo, picadillo, chiles rellenos, ensalada de nopal, verdolagas, pepino y jicama con chile y limon, and many more!

Some dishes aren’t originally balanced such as sopa de fideo. However, we can add vegetables and protein to make it a balanced meal. I love adding garbanzos for protein, carrots for extra vegetables, and avocado for healthy fat. Avocados are a unique and healthy fruit because they contain unsaturated fat — and can act as a nutrient booster by helping increase the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients like vitamins A, D, K, and E. So remember that adding avocado and healthy fats to a bowl of nourishing vegetables is so important!

are corn tortillas healthy?

Are Corn Tortillas Healthy???

Corn tortillas can definitely be part of a balanced and nutritious diet, no matter your health conditions. Latin American food is delicious, nourishing, and can always be made in a balanced way. Enjoying the meals we eat is important and so is keeping our culture alive so always feel proud to bring your cultura to the table.

Homemade Corn Tortillas Recipe

Homemade corn tortillas are like gold in a Mexican household! They truly take your meal experience to the next level. My grandma used to make them from scratch all the time. My grandpa grew corn and brought it home for my grandma to grind down and make into corn flour to make tortillas. Now that is homemade!

tortilla press

Ingredients

Luckily, you don’t have to grind your own maize to make your corn flour nowadays! You only need 3 ingredients to make these tortillas.

Corn Flour

Harina de maíz (corn flour) – also known as masa harina and not to be confused with cornstarch. You can get this at any Mexican grocery store or large grocery such as Foodmaxx, Lucky’s, Albertson’s, Safeway, and Whole Foods. Brands that are Mexican-mom-approved include Maseca, Minsa, and Goya.

How to make corn tortillas

Recipes with Corn Tortillas

Making tortillas de maiz is easier than you think and also very rewarding!

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mushroom tacos lions mane and king oyster tacos.

Are Corn Tortillas Healthy?


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  • Author: Anna Rios

Description

Corn tortillas can be part of a healthy diet!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 cups harina de maíz (see above for blue corn tortillas)
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (optional but highly recommended)

Instructions

  1. Add harina de maíz (masa harina) and baking powder to a large mixing bowl. Mix well using your hands.
  2. Slowly add warm water while mixing with your hand until you get a dough that is slightly sticky but hold together well.
  3. Lightly wet your hands with a small amount of warm water to prevent dough from sticking to your hands.
  4. Using your hands, grab about a 1/4 cup size of dough and roll it into a ball. Smoosh it a little so it’s a flat ball of dough.
  5. Cut a piece of plastic to fit your tortilla press. If you don’t have a tortilla press, see above for alternative methods.
  6. Place dough ball on top of the plastic (on tortilla press), fold the other side of the plastic over to fully cover the dough, and smooth it into a tortilla!
  7. Place on a flat griddle (comal), and cook for about 1 minute on the first side, and 1 minute on the other. Finally flip the tortilla again for another 30 seconds. Once the tortilla begins to puff up in the middle, it’s done!
  8. Place ready-to-eat tortillas in a tortilla warmer to keep them from getting stiff or dry.
  9. Enjoy as tacos, quesadillas, or as is!

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