Seanna Thomas: ABC Kitchen


Make Your Nachos Guilt Free

Have Your Nachos and Eat Them, Too

Everybody loves nachos, but they're a high-calorie, low-nutrition treat. These tips will make your nachos a better-for-you treat, so you can indulge without guilt! | Nutrition | YMCFood |

I wasted a lot of time thinking about nachos these past few weeks. I spent a lot of time talking to friends, and considering how to make nachos “healthier”…and then I really sat down and thought about it. No one is going to make my sweet potato nachos. No one is going to make tortillas from scratch. No one is going to put spirulina or dried kale on their nachos. What’s the point?

Nachos are nachos. There’s no way around it. You can change them up and dress them differently, but then they’re just sad nachos and everyone eating them is sad too. Don’t be sad. BE BALANCED.

Nachos are for parties! Unless you’re having a party every single day (which, if you are, please contact me-I want to be friends), don’t stress. Have a few real, cheesy, awesome nachos. Awe-chos. It’s all about balance.

I didn’t want to spread the sadness. But, as a Nutritionist, I figured I look at the better nacho options. It’s my job. Let’s break it down and happily figure this out:

Nachos are made up of three main components. Chips. Cheese. Toppings. In each of those categories, I can find you better options that won’t put a damper on your social shindig. I promise.


Tortilla chips. Authentic nachos are corn tortillas deep fried and salted.

How to switch it up:

Get multigrain and baked tortillas (lower in salt if possible). They have the same crunch, same pockets to hold cheese. And ta-da, you’ve got yourself a healthier base. Step one, check.


Nachos are usually topped with some sort of cheese-like sauce that ends up being slightly plastic-y and stuck on the roof of your mouth. Probably doesn’t contain much actual cheese.

How to switch it up:

I would stay away from any cheese SAUCE. Go for the real stuff here. Sauces tend to be loaded with extra oils, maltodextrin, starches, sugars and artificial flavours. The type of cheese you choose counts.

This is your time to be a purest. Use real cheese. And use two kinds. One for meltiness and one for bite. I like gruyere or Monterey jack for ooze and super old cheddar for the zip! By using two kinds, you look fancy AND you can use less of both!  The sharper the cheese, the less you have to use.


This one is easy right? The original nachos (I mean, ever) had one topping. Jalapenos. Nowadays, anything goes. But typically if you order nachos at a restaurant they’re going to come with meat, sour cream, salsa, refried beans, guacamole, etc.

How to switch it up:

Keep it simple. Hot peppers, onions, olives, tomatoes, salsa…these are all excellent options. Tag in Greek yogurt for the sour cream, and make your own guac by just mushing up some fresh avocados. Refried beans are a sodium nightmare but feel free to toss some black beans on top for some authentic Mexican flair. Serve it all on the side if you have friends with many different tastes. OMG guys-a Nacho BAR. No one can be unpopular if they have a nacho bar, am I right? Put it all out there and let everyone make their own choices!

One more thing… forget piling on the layers and making more work for yourself. Make these babies on a big baking sheet and do one massive layer (or two baking sheets). That way every chip gets some lovin’ and no one gets the dreaded chips in the middle that are lonely and sad.

Enjoy your nachos! Just try not to eat them every day. Balance. If you can fit nachos into your balanced life, than you have no reason to feel guilty. Therefore, these should be guilt-free (not sad) nachos.

Speaking of sad, you’re not sad, are you? I’m certainly not. But I am hungry! NACHOOOOOOO!

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