Are Nachos Healthy?

Thinking about Nachos? The best way to enjoy them is by sitting in the bustling towns of Mexico and having authentic nachos with some guac and salsa dip. But are they healthy? 

Let’s find out. 

nachos

Ingredient Analysis:

Traditional recipes consist of the following:

  • Maize Flour 
  • Refined Wheat Flour 
  • Whole Wheat Flour
  • Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Vegetables (optional)

Traditional ones are made using the above ingredients. They are then fried and decorated with different types of toppings: salsa toppings, beef or meat toppings, beans, cheese, and guacamole toppings.   

The base used for making them is basically tortilla chips. One must know that tortilla chips are standalone food, whereas nachos are built around tortilla chips. They are always served on a bed of tortilla chips, topped with cheese sauce, meat, beans, or other veggies and sauces. To summarise, tortilla chips are just chips, but nachos are tortilla chips with other sauces and more. 

The toppings used in nachos are made from freshly cut tomatoes, onions, olives, and other green veggies. This makes the topping healthy for consumption. Even the non-vegetarian ones with different kinds of meat and beef can also be good as they have proteins. The cheesy ones, however, are rich in fat. 

S. No.CriteriaNachos
1.Whole ingredientsYes
2.Artificial ingredientsNo
3.Level of ProcessingLow
4.Harmful ingredientsNo
5.Carbs to Fibre Ratio(8.4/1)
6.Glycemic indexHigh (85)

They are produced using maize chips made from tortillas. While corn contains thiamin, riboflavin, folate, vitamin C, zinc, calcium, iron, and magnesium, tortilla chips are deep-fried. They are topped with fatty delicacies such as cheese, sour cream, and meat. One must know that they have a high salt content as well as a high saturated fat content.

Nutritional Info Analysis:

S. No.HeadNutritional Facts per Serving (6-8 nachos is 113g)Nutritional Facts per Plate (~1,017g)
1.Calories346900
2.Fat19 g18 g
3.Sodium815.9 mg7.34 g
4.Carbohydrate36 g324 g
5.Dietary Fibre1 g9 g

As we can see, nachos are high in calories.

So, if we can make them on our own, how can we make them healthy? Here is how:

They can be made healthy if they are air-fried or if we use baked tortilla chips, with no additional cheese or sour cream, and more beans and healthy veggies and meat in normal, healthy amounts (excessive meat will make it fatty). Also, add just a smidge fewer nacho chips and more veggies.

Product Suitability:

Based on the above-detailed analysis, we can easily conclude for whom this product is suitable.

S. No.Suitable forTraditional Nachos
1.VegansNo, but it can be made vegan.
2.DiabeticsYes
3.VegetarianYes, the vegetarian option is available.
4.KetoNo, but it can be made suitable for the keto diet.
5.Gluten-FreeNo, but it can be made gluten-free.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • This can be made for vegans, vegetarians, people on gluten-free diets, and more. 
  • If made at home with the right ingredients, it can be: 
  • Rich in fiber from beans and vegetables
  • Rich in animal and plant-based proteins
  • Can have good fats
  • Provides antioxidants
  • Gluten-free

This can help evade constipation and be good for your bones. 

Cons:

  • Made with refined wheat flour.
  • Very high in calories and rich in fatty acids
  • With cheesy or sour cream toppings, there will be no nutritional value. 
  • They are fried in oil. 

Verdict: Are Nachos Healthy?

Overall, no, they are not healthy at all. But, it can be made healthy with different ingredients, vegetables, or the right amount of meat. You can change fat-laden nachos into a tasty, healthier alternative by eliminating or decreasing harmful components and boosting or adding things that are good for you and your body. 

However, we recommend consuming it in a limited quantity.

FAQs

1. What are some alternatives for the ingredients?

  • Instead of using chips as the base for the nachos, try bell peppers for a delicious alternative.
  • You can try sweet potato nachos instead of tortilla ones.
  • Add quinoa. 
  • Use gluten-free flour. 
  • Try kale nachos. 

2. Are nachos just tortilla chips?

Yes, nachos without the toppings and sauces are just tortilla chips.

3. Can nachos be air-fried?

Yes, if you want a healthier version, they can be air-fried. 

Also, see Are Peanut M&M’s Healthy?

About the author

Dana describes herself as a culinary enthusiast who loves to taste and experiment with new food items. Along with being a foodie, she is also extremely health conscious.

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