Meeting your family’s different food needs


Try some Do-It-Yourself Tacos to suit everyone’s tastes

Elderly parent? Picky toddler? Newly declared vegetarian teen? Food allergy?

When shopping for family members with different health needs or preferences, it helps to plan ahead.

  • Plan menus and grocery lists together. Include food options that everyone can enjoy. Look at cookbooks, magazines or websites for meal ideas that meet your needs.
  • At the grocery store, read food labels carefully to look for ingredients you need to avoid.
  • When checking food labels, look at the % Daily Value on the Nutrition Facts table. Choose foods with more of the nutrients you want and less of the nutrients you don’t.
  • Check if your grocery store offers tours led by a Registered Dietitian.
  • Try a “do-it-yourself” meal, such as fajitas, tacos, sandwiches or salads. Just put all the healthy ingredients on the table and let everyone assemble their favourite combo.

DIY Tacos

The key to making tacos that everyone in your family will enjoy is picking ingredients that they already like and letting everyone assemble their taco themselves.

You can buy the corn tortilla shells at the grocery store or find a recipe to make your own at home.

I recommend making your own seasoning – the packages from the store are usually overloaded on sodium and MSG, and making a mix yourself is easy. Here is a mixture of spices and a little cornstarch for thickening, that closely resembles the packaged taco seasoning you might find in the store, without the salt or MSG:

Taco Seasoning


  • 6 teaspoons chili powder
  • 5 teaspoons paprika
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine chili powder, paprika, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and cornstarch.
  2. Close lid securely, and shake well to mix contents. 7 teaspoons is equivalent to 1 (1.25 ounce) package of taco seasoning.

Servings Per Recipe: 21.

Nutrition Information (per serving):

Calories: 8; Total Fat: 0.3g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 9mg; Total Carbs: 1.5g; Dietary Fibre: 0.6g; Protein: 0.3g

Filling suggestions:

  • Lean ground beef, ground turkey or pork
  • Fish – shrimp, cod, tuna (Fish tacos are all the rage right now!)
  • Scrambled eggs (Breakfast Tacos!)
  • Rice, Beans- black, kidney, garbonzo, etc.
  • Avacado guacamole, chick pea hummus, yogurt tzatziki, tomato salsa, hot sauce, shredded cheese etc.
  • Lettuce, peppers, onions, cucumber, tomatoes, shredded carrot, pickles, olives – really, any veggie that are your family’s favourites

Wishing you continued good luck during Nutrition Month in putting your Best Food Forward: Plan Shop Cook Enjoy!

Kristin Harris is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador.

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