Are Tamales Healthy? Healthy Tips

are tamales healthy

Have you seen tamales at Mexican restaurants and wondered are tamales healthy? Are they a healthy substitute for a burger? Are they worth the money? Well, before we get into the answers, let’s quickly review what a tamale is.

It is an unleavened bread sandwich filled with cheese, vegetables, salsa, and other toppings. Traditional fillings include cheese, sour cream, and a lard or rendered beef fat.

The wrapping is either eaten as a whole or used as a taco plate. Usually, tamales with a mild sour sauce, but more adventurous types may use the hot sauce, though most restaurants do not stock such a wide variety.

If we are to count calories, though, we should note that authentic Mexican recipes usually contain lard or rendered fat, as well as cheese and sour cream. So, while it may be true that it is healthier than your average fast food or frozen meal, we cannot say that they are better than your traditional tamales.

However, if you insist on eating them, add a little bit of olive oil or canola oil to help spread the fat around a bit. Other healthy substitutes for these traditional Mexican foods include wheat tortillas and quinoa, which are very low in calories and contain healthy ingredients.

What is a Tamale? Are tamales healthy?

Tamale is a Mexican dish held in high esteem for being, well, fresh. When you don’t know anything about a Mexican culinary kitchen, a tamale is hard to imagine.

Tamales are a long-standing Mexican tradition usually served as a main meal for dinner or breakfast. Although more recently introduced to the United States, tamale has become a hot new dessert.

The ingredients of tamales are corn husks, meat, salt, water, and oil. Tamale is spiced either with salt or chili powder depending on what kind of taste you want, and other ingredients such as cheese, onions, cornflour, eggs, chicken broth, tomatoes, cilantro, corn tortillas, and fillings.

You can basically throw all the ingredients into a pot, stir, and off you go making tamales. There are two kinds of tamales, black and white.

Tamales are a healthy food because, unlike most frozen foods, made from whole foods. You will get lots of vitamins and minerals, and you aren’t eating tons of calories and fat.

What are tamales without the corn or beef drippings? 

Of course, the fillings themselves! There are many fillings to choose from, including pork, chicken, fish, shrimp, mango salsa, and spicy chili Verde.

Be creative and use what you love. Tamales are filling, tasty, healthy, and easy to make, so it is a good choice, especially for those who like meat but not dairy products.

Nutritional facts of tamales

While some have taken to reviewing nutrition facts of all kinds of Mexican dishes, the tamale stands uniquely alone as an example that should not be misunderstood just because of its shape.

The first fact is, are tamales healthy? 

Yes! A tamale, created from corn dough or mass, is typically a warm, colorful, and filling treat that provides a welcome reprieve from the more traditional foods of the United States.

The fact that tamales are filling means that they are best for you; hot tamale is satisfying without being too oily or greasy, which can be a problem with Mexican food generally and even more so with a hot tamale.

Excellent source of fiber

Another fact to consider is that tamales are naturally high in fiber – many can contain up to 50 grams of fiber in a single serving, making them one of the highest-fiber foods available in the North American diet.

Many consumers are confused as to whether or not tamales are healthy. While some may view them as comfort food, others will look at the nutritional facts and see no reason why a warm, filling treat should consume that has no other nutritional value.

While the tamale may not be the healthiest food on the planet, it does provide a nice reprieve from the many unhealthy foods currently available.

How to make tamales at home?

It is one of the questions asked by many people who are starting to become more health-conscious.

With the high-fat, high-calorie foods that Americans are eating these days, it is not surprising that people are looking for new ways to lose weight and eat better. And, one of the many new methods they are using is making tamales at home.

While this is not an unusual request by many people who want to lose weight, you should consider a few things before you jump into making your homemade tamales.

First of all, when you are trying to lose weight, you should consider how much of the calories are in the foods. Most people are just eating enough to get by, but some people are also looking for healthy ways to replace those fast-food meals that are just too expensive to buy.

If you’re among this crowd, then making tamales at home may be just what you need. By replacing some of your fast food meals with homemade tamales, you can lose weight while still enjoying some of the foods that you like the most.

So, when you are asking the question, “how to make tamales at home?” you should consider all of the different ways to use fresh, healthy ingredients that you can easily find in your kitchen.

Tamales are easy to make, and they are healthy. All you have to do is get fresh, raw ingredients and start munching away! If you’re trying to lose weight, then this is an easy way to add some extra nutrition without spending a lot of money.

Are tamales bad for high cholesterol? 

The problem with this, of course, is that a high-fat diet is bad for just about everything else, and this includes your heart.

Some people argue that if you eat as much tamale as you would, it will have the same effect on your cholesterol because there is so much fat in a normal tamale, it will make no difference.

Of course, eating too much of any food can raise your cholesterol, but the way that tamales are prepared is particularly bad for your health.

While a low-calorie diet may help a person lose weight, the problem comes when eating foods that contain saturated fat (the reason for your cholesterol).

While you may think that you are healthy by eating those “healthy” tamales, they are packing a lot of fat into a small package, and this fat can get stuck in your arteries and cause a buildup of plaque that clogs them up.

How many calories are in a normal tamale?

Tamales can have about 400 calories or a little more than a medium pizza. Now, this may not sound like many calories, but these are the same as small potatoes being deep-fried in oil, which contains nearly twice as many calories as a medium pizza.

So really, if you are trying to lose weight or want to keep your arteries clean, then you should consider going with a healthier alternative like a wheat-based tamale. While they still have plenty of calories, you are eating something nutritious instead of plain old potatoes.

Not only are they good for you, but they are also tasty and filling too, making them a great meal replacement or meal altogether.

Are tamales bad for a diabetics? 

The debate goes back and forth every single time a person who is diabetic tries to eat a meal containing any corn or grain product, no matter how healthy the rest of the meal is.

These people usually have some problem in their mouth, whether it is a lack of saliva or proper exercise and dental care.

The answer depends on who you ask. If you’re asking this question of a friend or loved one, then there’s no clear-cut answer. For one, corn itself isn’t bad for diabetics; in fact, it’s one of the best things they can eat.

Some people find that eating tamales with peppers, vegetables, cheese, or fruits makes for a much better alternative to the traditional fast-food meal that’s filled with empty calories and little to no nutritional content. On the other hand, those looking to lose weight should realize that tamales can make the best addition to any weight loss program.

By cutting down on calories and fat, diabetic patients can ensure their weight will come down while their eating habits stay the same or even increase. And since tamales are packed with lots of different nutrients, such as protein, iron, calcium, and potassium, losing even a small amount of weight can improve a diabetic’s health.

On top of all that, tamales are also the best way to get kids to start eating healthier meals. By preparing a meal with them, they can get started on the path toward a healthy lifestyle and nutrition.

My Final Thoughts

Tamales are packed with vitamins and minerals and are a nice change from the fast food that we have grown accustomed to in this day and age.

Tamales, made from genuine cornmeal that has been steamed and seasoned with salt and other ingredients to make them soft, spongy, and tasty. The wrappers can either be reused for a second use or disposed of before eating.

Tamales contain the following nutrients: vitamins A, B, C, and E, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, and iron. For the best results, use oils free from cholesterol because high cholesterol oils will clog up your arteries and make your heart work harder, thus increasing the chance of a heart attack.

By Sonam Tobgay

I'm the creator of Healthy Lifestyle blog. I've been fascinated with health related articles and information since 2005 and have spent most of my waking hours consuming health contents from the top professionals in this field. My goal is to share the best tips and news about health, benefits of fruits and vegetables, and other health related issues so you can follow and lead a healthy life.

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