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The Dinner Bar: The Walking Taco

Remember the walking taco from those long days of summer ? A clever convenience, designed to eat on the go and a mimic of the taco with a fun twist. The “old” walking taco consists of an individual size bag of Fritos corn chips topped with taco fixings.  This Dinner Bar takes the old concept and gives it a healthy facelift– transforming it into a lean, nutritious Mexican-style favorite you can feel good about feeding your family.  Adding a banana mango smoothie for dessert builds a balanced, simple supper that can be enjoyed anywhere!

Walking Taco Toppings

You will need:

Protein:

  • 1 pound ground chicken or turkey breast
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed

Grains:

  • 6 individual bags of Sun Chips (original or garden salsa flavor)

Vegetables:

  • Shredded lettuce
  • Diced tomato
  • Sliced jalapenos or chopped green pepper
  • Corn

    Yum! Walking Taco To Go!
  • Salsa
  • 1 small onion, chopped

Fruits:

  • 2 small sliced bananas (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 cups frozen mango chunks

Dairy:

  • Reduced fat (2%) shredded Mexican cheese
  • 2 cups 1% or 2% milk

Fats:

  • 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
  • Diced avocado
  • Reduced fat sour cream (optional)

Others:

  • 1 taco seasoning packet
  • ¼ cup water

How to make the walking tacos (serves 6):

Heat oil over medium heat in a large non-stick pan.    Add onions and sautee until clear, about 5 minutes.  Add ground chicken breast to the pan and brown.  Once the meat is cooked, add taco seasoning packet, ¼ cup water, and black beans.  Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

While the meat/bean mixture is cooking, gently crush each bag of chips.  Once the chips are crushed, cut the bags lengthwise with scissors.  Prepare bowls of the meat/bean mixture, lettuce, chopped tomatoes, jalapenos, corn, shredded cheese, diced avocado, salsa and any other desired toppings.

How to make the banana mango smoothies (serves 6):

Use fresh bananas or sliced bananas that have been frozen (my personal favorite).   Put banana, 2 cups frozen mango and 2 cups milk in a blender and blend until smooth.

Place serving bowls and the bags of chips on your “dinner bar” and let your family choose their toppings.  Once all of the walking tacos have been assembled, pour the smoothies and enjoy this meal wherever you like!

Tip:  Use disposable bowls, spoons, and cups for effortless clean up.

Let us know if your kiddos like these–you may even use this idea for picnics, a day at the pool or a quick lunch!

Contributing Author: Katherine Fowler, MS, RD

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  1. If we tried this as a dinner bar option, our picky 4y/o would just serve himself the bag of chips & nothing else. And then for seconds, he would want another bag of chips. And then another & another, until they’re gone. And similar results for other serve-yourself meals. What would your suggestions be for this? I know that you don’t advocate pressure for the kids to try new foods, but simply putting things in front of him has not helped. We’re at a loss. At this point, we put a tiny portion of the ‘new/healthy’ foods on his plate & if he eats them then great, but we tell him that it’s his choice to eat it or not. So far–nothing.

    1. Your no pressure approach to expose him is fine. The key is exposure without pressure. It’s also fine for him to make his own choices once in awhile; you may want to strategize your offerings so that you can feel comfortable with his choices…

  2. Fun idea for kids! I know my kids would also love the banana mango smoothie. Have you ever made a mango lassi before? My kids love that-blend fresh mango, yogurt, and ice. Delicious!

    1. Thanks Bryan! Yes, this approach lets picky eaters navigate dinner with less stress, and at the same time, exposes them to a variety of foods.

  3. Hi Jill!

    It was great to meet you at ADA!

    I love this walking taco idea! My daughter, a vegetarian teenager, LOVES to make her tacos made with faux ground “meat” but we never thought of this idea! Can’t wait to try it.

    Michelle

    1. Let me know how it goes! We also do taco salad…I am going to post that idea in the future, and chronicle the different “end-products”. It’s amazing to see how different each child’s meal turns out!