Fast Food Fix: Enjoy Taco Tuesday without the added calories

A few simple tweaks can help take that Taco Cabana meal to the next level

Homemade Cabana Bowl (Homemade Cabana Bowl)

HOUSTON – Just because you’re trying to eat healthy doesn’t mean you have to skip Taco Tuesday!

We challenged certified nutritionist Krystal Hammett to find the healthiest menu items at popular fast food places around town to help busy families on the go.

Today we’re continuing the series with Tex-Mex hot spot, Taco Cabana!


Cabana Salad: Chicken Breast Fajita, Chicken Cabana (360 calories, 25g fat, 10 carbs, 36g protein, 1110mg sodium)

  • Includes romaine lettuce, meat, shredded cheese & pico de gallo


  • Add guacamole and salsa
  • No fried bowl
  • No sour cream
  • No dressing
  • Keep cheese to a minimum

Krystal also recommends choosing corn tortillas over flour, black beans over all other bean options (ESPECIALLY refried), and keeping a close eye on sodium intake.

“Sodium can increase your blood pressure, because it makes you retain water and then the heart has to work harder to pump.”

“You can still enjoy some quick drive-thru options, just be smart.”

Now, if you’re fully invested into skipping drive-thru meals, no worries, we’ve got you covered.

The Cabana Bowl is a crowd favorite, so you don’t have to miss out on it. Instead, recreate the recipe from the comfort of your home, but with a healthier twist.

Registered dietitian Mary Ellen Phipps with Milk & Honey Nutrition shares the step-by-step process.

Find recipe directions here including Mary Ellen’s custom taco seasoning.


Homemade Cabana Bowl (Homemade Cabana Bowl)

“If you want to recreate it just like they got theirs…”

Mary Ellen recommends using low sodium black beans, whole grain rice, brown rice or wild rice, grilled chicken and fresh pico.

Ingredients (Ingredients)

“You don’t want to get that fried bowl at the restaurant, you can pick a grain-free or whole-grain tortilla chip.”


Toppings (Toppings)

“We want to start with a more nutrient dense green, we’ve got some kale, some brussel sprouts, we’re getting a lot more vitamins and minerals.”

Having the luxury of preparing food from home means you can add in a variety of healthier foods. Mary Ellen recommends tossing in broccoli, shredded cheese, guacamole for that plant-based fat and extra veggies for additional fiber.


“If you can, swap out that chicken for some seafood.”

We just came out of February which is National Heart Health Month. The American Heart Association recommends eating seafood twice a week. This is an easy type of meal to add seafood to and seafood you can cook quicker than chicken.


FishFixe (FishFixe)

“I also love a local company called ‘FishFixe’ that’s women owned, and doing great things in the area, that ship seafood straight to your door, already portioned, it’s fresh, you can stick it right in your freezer.”

FishFixe make eating seafood super easy! They send you enough food for 2 adults for a month to meet the recommendation of eating seafood twice a week. You can pick which kind of seafood you want and they are truly are a wonderful resource.

FishFixe has even made a promo code just for Houston Life viewers!


  • Receive $15 off your first box
  • Use promo code “MILKNHONEY15”
  • Valid now – March 31

H/T Krystal Hammett and Mary Ellen Phipps

About the Authors:

Catherine Sorto is a native Houstonian, a true crime junkie and loves flamin' chips.

Erin Montoya is an award-winning producer, middle child and mom of two boys.