Tacos are a popular Mexican food typically made with a corn or flour tortilla filled with meat, cheese, lettuce, salsa, and other toppings. Street tacos are a variation that uses smaller 6-inch tortillas and is often served from food trucks or street vendors. But how many calories are actually in one of the flour tortillas used for street tacos?
The Basics of Flour Tortillas
Flour tortillas used for street tacos are typically thin, around 6 inches in diameter. They are made from wheat flour, water, oil or shortening, and salt. Some variations may also include baking powder or other ingredients to influence the texture.
Flour tortillas have a soft, pliable texture and light taste that allows other taco fillings to shine. They are often quickly grilled or griddled on both sides before being filled, which creates light charring or spots and imparts a toasted flavor.
Store-bought flour tortillas for street tacos are widely available refrigerated or frozen. Many street vendors also make their own tortillas from scratch daily.
Calories in Flour Tortillas
The number of calories in a flour tortilla can vary depending on the exact ingredients, brand, and size. But most 6-inch flour tortillas used for street tacos contain around 90 to 110 calories each.
Here are some nutrition facts for common 6-inch flour street taco tortillas:
- Mission Street Taco Flour Tortillas: 100 calories
- Guerrero Small Flour Tortillas: 110 calories
- Food For Life Sprouted Corn Tortillas: 90 calories
The main nutrients that contribute to calories in flour tortillas are:
- Carbohydrates – Flour tortillas are high in carbs, which provide 4 calories per gram. A 6-inch tortilla contains about 15-20 grams of total carbs.
- Protein – Wheat flour contains some protein, about 2-3 grams per tortilla, accounting for 8-12 calories.
- Fat – Most flour tortillas are made with 1-2 grams of fat from oil or shortening, adding 9-18 calories.
Factors Affecting Calorie Content
Several factors account for the range in calories for different street taco flour tortillas:
- Flour type – Whole wheat or sprouted grain flours are higher in protein and fiber than refined white flour, increasing calories slightly.
- Oil/shortening – More or different types of added fats increase calories. Lard or butter add more fat than vegetable oils.
- Ingredients – Additions like sugar, baking powder, milk, or eggs add minimal calories.
- Size – Larger 8-inch tortillas are higher in calories than 6-inch; smaller 4-inch tortillas are lower in calories.
- Thickness – Thicker tortillas contain more dough and calories than thin ones.
Calories in a Whole Street Taco
While the tortilla itself contains around 100 calories, the other components of a street taco also contribute significant calories:
|Flour tortilla (6-inch)||100|
|Chicken (3 oz)||140|
|Cheese (1 oz)||110|
|Lettuce (1/4 cup)||2|
|Salsa (1/4 cup)||10-15|
*Calorie counts are estimated averages per ingredient.
So a single flour street taco made with chicken, cheese, lettuce, and salsa totals around 360-375 calories on average. The tortilla itself makes up about 25-30% of the calories in a full street taco.
Ways to Reduce Calories in Flour Tortillas
If you’re looking to lighten the calorie count of your flour tortillas, here are some tips:
- Choose smaller size tortillas like 4-inch or soft taco size.
- Look for tortillas made without fat/oil or with vegetable oils instead of shortening or lard.
- Select thinner tortillas which use less dough.
- Find varieties made with sprouted wheat or reduced-carb flours.
- Consider corn tortillas which are naturally lower in calories than flour.
- Reduce toppings like cheese and sour cream which add extra calories.
Healthier Flour Tortilla Alternatives
Besides modifying traditional flour tortillas, you can also try these lower-calorie alternatives:
- Lettuce wraps – Use large lettuce leaves like romaine instead of tortillas.
- Portobello mushroom caps – Grilled or roasted portobellos can stand in for tortillas.
- Cauliflower tortillas – Tortillas made of riced cauliflower have under 50 calories.
- Zucchini or jicama tortillas – Thinly sliced and grilled zucchini or jicama make veggie “tortillas”.
Making Your Own Low-Calorie Flour Tortillas
To save calories, making your own flour tortillas isn’t difficult with some simple substitutions:
- Use half whole wheat and half all-purpose flour.
- Replace oil or shortening with equal parts Greek yogurt, mashed banana, or applesauce.
- Add a dash of olive oil spray instead of liquid oil.
- Mix in rolled oats or flaxseed meal for extra fiber.
- Cut back slightly on flour until the dough feels stretchy.
- Roll out tortillas thinner than store-bought versions.
Homemade flour tortillas only need 3 basic ingredients – flour, oil, and water – so it’s easy to adjust as needed to make them lighter.
Healthy Flour Tortilla Recipe
This recipe makes 8 lighter flour tortillas with just over 50 calories each. They have added whole grains and use yogurt instead of oil or shortening.
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup wheat bran or oat bran
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
- 3/4 cup warm water
- In a bowl, whisk together the flours, wheat bran, and salt.
- In a small bowl, stir together the Greek yogurt and warm water. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the yogurt mixture. Mix until a shaggy dough forms.
- Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2 minutes until smooth. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Divide dough into 8 equal balls. Working with one at a time on a floured surface, roll into a thin 6-inch round tortilla.
- Heat a skillet or griddle to medium. Cook tortilla 1 minute per side until lightly browned. Keep cooked tortillas wrapped in a kitchen towel until ready to serve.
Nutrition per Tortilla
- 56 calories
- 2g fat
- 10g carbs
- 2g protein
Street Taco Tortilla Calories Compared to Other Tortillas
Flour tortillas used for street tacos are on the lower end of the calorie scale compared to some other common tortilla varieties:
|Tortilla Type||Calories (6-inch)*|
|Flour (street taco)||100|
*Calories are approximate averages based on leading brands.
As shown, flour tortillas made for burritos and other uses are higher in calories than street taco size. Corn tortillas are the lowest in calories, while whole wheat and flavored tortillas land in between.
How Flour Tortilla Calories Fit Into a Healthy Diet
Flour tortillas can absolutely fit into a healthy diet when consumed in moderation. A few tips:
- Watch portion sizes – Stick to just 1 or 2 street taco flour tortillas at a time, and avoid overstuffing them with high-calorie fillings.
- Balance with vegetables – Fill tacos with plenty of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and other lower-calorie toppings.
- Use lean proteins – Chicken, shrimp, or steak are healthier than fatty cuts of beef or pork.
- Limit tortilla snacks – Resist chips, taco shells, and other processed snack foods made with flour tortillas.
- Pick whole grains – When possible, choose whole wheat or corn tortillas over refined white flour.
An occasional flour tortilla street taco can be worked into a diet of mostly wholesome, nutrient-dense foods. Just be mindful of portions and what you put inside the tortillas.
The Bottom Line
A 6-inch flour tortilla like those used for street tacos contains around 90-110 calories, with carbohydrates accounting for most of those calories. Whole street tacos average 360-375 calories – the tortilla itself makes up about one-fourth of that. There are ways to adjust your flour tortillas at home by using healthier fats and flours to reduce calories. Overall, flour tortillas can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.