Everything You Need to Know About Tamales

Everything You Need to Know About Tamales

Tamales are a Christmas food selection staple for lots of family members. This typical Mexican as well as Native American recipe is made by packing masa dough with a dental filling of meat, cheese, chili peppers, or beans, after that steaming it inside a corn husk or banana fallen leave as well as offering it with salsa or warm sauce.

Whether tamales are currently component of your family members’s vacation practice or you’re seeking brand-new Christmas morning meal suggestions, you might be questioning: Are tamales healthy and balanced?

“Tamales are generally considered healthy,” claims Bansari Acharya, R.D.N., a signed up dietitian as well as blog owner at FoodLove. “Especially because they’re steamed instead of fried.”

However, as a result of the fat as well as carbohydrate web content, it’s important to see your parts.

Here’s just how to make this vacation reward match your healthy and balanced consuming strategy — whether it’s Christmas early morning or an arbitrary Tuesday evening.

Tamales in a pan

How Healthy Are Tamales?

Good information: Tamales might taste decadent, however they can still match a healthier meal strategy (in small amounts) as well as provide some essential nutrients.

“The merits of a tamale or two may surprise you!” claims Libby Mills, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., signed up dietitian as well as nationwide agent for the Academy of Nutrition as well as Dietetics.

Here’s what you require to learn about the dietary web content in a tamale:


One huge hen tamale usually consists of 305 calories, though the specific calorie matter can differ relying on what active ingredients are made use of in the dental filling.

Adding cheese, sour lotion, or pork drippings to your tamales can acquire additional calories.


One huge hen tamale consists of 19.4 grams of fat, which suggests over half the calories originate from fat.

That’s since typical dishes ask for lard to make the masa dough, Mills discusses. Lard is high in hydrogenated fat, however it’s great to consume in small amounts — particularly if you restrict hydrogenated fat the remainder of the day, Mills includes.

Carbohydrates as well as fiber

Each huge hen tamale consists of 21 grams of carbs as well as 1.7 grams of fiber, many thanks to the corn flour made use of to make the masa dough.

Including beans as well as veggies in the dental filling can aid you amp up the fiber matter, Mills claims.


Tamales are usually made with hen, pork, beef, or beans — every one of which are resources of body-boosting healthy protein. One huge hen tamale consists of concerning 12.3 grams of healthy protein.

Vitamins as well as minerals

Tamales give healthy and balanced trace elements, consisting of folate, vitamin A, calcium, zinc, phosphorous, potassium, as well as iron.

Adding chili peppers can provide tamales an additional kick, as well as the capsaicin in spicy peppers might aid sustain vascular as well as metabolic health and wellness.

One drawback: One huge tamale can include as long as 656 mg of salt, many thanks to the salt, cooking powder, as well as hen brew made use of in lots of dishes.

That comprises a substantial part of the suggested optimum of 2,300 mg of salt daily, so you might wish to try to find a lower-sodium dish.

Delicious traditional Mexican tamales piled on a table

How to Make Tamales Healthier

There are a couple of basic methods to improve the health and wellness advantages by making some calculated swaps in your tamale dish:

  • Replace the lard with grease to minimize the saturated fat web content.
  • For the dental filling, pick a lean meat such as shredded hen bust or ground turkey.
  • Add fiber-rich beans as well as veggies to the dental filling.
  • Limit the quantity of cheese in the dental filling (or miss it completely).
  • Choose a reduced-sodium brew.
  • Add taste without including a lots of additional calories: “Build big flavor with aromatics like onion, garlic, and carrots; spices like chili and cumin; and flavorful herbs like cilantro,” Mills claims.
  • Opt for a much healthier tackle tamales rather, such as this turkey tamale pie dish.


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