IMG_8575Welcome to What’s In It Wednesday – Part 3. This week we take a closer look at taco Tuesdays! Just what is inside that little package that we’ve grown to love? Ready? Let’s go! 

Tacos have become a well loved favourite around our house. The kids are happy because they get to put together their own meal on their plates and I’m happy because they are excitedly eating a pile of fresh veggies.

Being a nutritionist though, I needed to take a closer look at that package of taco seasoning that began making a regular appearance in my cart. I was also looking for ways to cut our growing grocery budget. It seemed to me that making taco seasoning really shouldn’t be that difficult or expensive.

Let’s take a few moments and take a closer look at just what is in a popular package of taco seasoning before I share with you my quick, easy and super tasty taco seasoning mix.

Old El Paso Taco Seasoning Mix Ingredient List:

IMG_8574Maltodextrin, Chili pepper, salt, spices, onion powder, corn starch, corn flour, hydrogenated soybean oil, silicon dioxide, cottonseed and
sunflower oil, garlic extract.

Maltodextrin: Used as a stabilizer and thickener for foods. Commonly from potato or corn starch. Possible issue – made from genetically modified corn.

Chili Pepper: Sounds pretty good.

Salt: Likely refined salt. Sea salt would be a better choice here as it is minimally processed and provides some trace minerals such as phosphorus, zinc and iron. Just be aware of amounts. 1/6th of the package provides 350 mg or 15% of the daily value. Add in salsa, guacamole, cheese and olives like my children like to do and you are looking at a little sodium torpedo!

Spices: Due to protecting proprietary recipes, food manufacturer’s don’t need to share what ‘spices,’ they are actually using. Unfortunately for those with food allergies, this can begin to become a bit of a guessing game.

Onion Powder: Pretty straight forward. Onion powder is simply made from drying onions & then grinding into powder.

Corn Starch: Used as a thickener.

Corn Flour: Used as an additional thickener.

Hydrogenated Soybean Oil: First off, we want to avoid any hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. These types of oils are not healthy for us and are considered trans fats. Due to labelling loop holes, if a serving size contains less than 0.2 g of trans fat per serving, it doesn’t have to been shown on the nutrition facts. Second, soybeans in Canada and the U.S. are genetically modified organisms or GMOs. The reality with GMO crops is that we simply just don’t know the long term effects of consuming these crops.

Silicon Dioxide: Used as an anti-caking agent in processed foods. Is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA and occurs naturally in many plants that we eat such as oats, leafy greens, beets and brown rice. It is also used in many supplements.

Cottonseed and Sunflower Oil: Cheap oils used in processed foods. There are much better oils to use that are healthy for your body.

Garlic Extract: No issue here!

While there are worse processed food items out there, why not take a little time and make your own taco seasoning? With three different ingredients used as thickeners and cheap oils, it is time to make your own. Get the kids involved in the kitchen and save a little money too! Click here to get my easy, tasty and quick taco seasoning recipe!