There’s no denying it. Americans love both hamburgers and tacos. Like, alot. So much so that one could almost rephrase the old saying “American as apple pie,” to “American as hamburgers and tacos” without ever missing a beat.
In fact, HuffingtonPost.com reported in July 2013 (from information gathered from PBS.org in 2012) that Americans eat almost 50 billion (yes, BILLION) hamburgers a year. That shakes out to about three hamburgers for every person in the U.S. every. single. week.
Meanwhile, according to the website NationalTacoDay.com (which happens to fall on October 4 this year), Americans ate 4.5 billion tacos in 2013. While that’s a bit less than 10 percent of the number of burgers consumed, that’s still an amazing number of tacos and nothing to sneeze at. In fact, NationalTacoDay.com says 4.5 billion tacos comes to about 775 million pounds, as much as the weight of two Empire State Buildings!
So here’s what we know so far: Americans typically eat more hamburgers than tacos each year. But this begs the question: which is better for you, a hamburger or a taco?
The taco! Final answer.
But it doesn’t take a nutritionist to see why tacos are definitely healthier than hamburgers. Let’s start with the fact that hamburgers very often come dressed with mayonnaise or ‘secret’ sauce smeared on their high carb bun. Not only does this add a significant number of fat and calories, remember that these are only the first two ingredients. Let’s also not gloss over the fact that even if you were to prepare a hamburger with lean beef patty, you’re still going to have a higher fat and calorie content than a taco.
While it may look healthy, if it comes smothered in mayonnaise or some other sauce, the hamburger isn’t as good for you as a taco.
However, prepare a taco with the same lean meat and you’re going to come out with less fat and fewer calories. That is until you douse the whole thing in melted cheese and call it a day.
Of course, you can always skip the meat altogether and load up your corn tortillas with treasures from the garden or sea. Fish tacos, for example, are packed with heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids and pair perfectly with a plucky pico or mouth-watering mango salsa.
And speaking of pico, while you’re probably used to toppings like chopped lettuce and tomato, you may also choose to keep it fresh with a heavy helping of pico de gallo (also known as salsa fresca). The combination of chopped tomato, white onion, lime juice, chopped cucumbers, radish and even mango, boosts your veggie intake and helps make your taco a truly healthy meal. Wrap it all in a soft tortilla (which has a lot less trans fat than a hard taco deep fried in hot oil) and you have yourself a very veggie forward lunch or dinner!
Throw in a side of black beans and you’ve covered all your essential food groups on one plate!