Tortillas are the culinary lovechild of the new world and the old world. Before the Spaniards arrived, flat-breads in central America were made with maize. Then the conquistadors introduced wheat to the natives, and the rest is history.
Today, most burritos, tacos and wraps are made from wheat flour. Tortillas, perhaps because they are so thin, give the impression of being a healthy alternative to bread. is that claim justified?
Let’s take a look at Tortilla Land’s fresh uncooked tortillas. Unlike the ready to eat varieties, these tortillas require a quick 60 seconds in a hot pan (no oil is needed). Here is the ingredient list:
Wheat flour, water, canola oil, salt, sugar.
That list is so simple you can almost imagine making your own tortilla. It’s that easy.
Many prepared tortillas use additives to extend shelf life. For example, this is the ingredient list for Mission Whole Grain Tortillas:
Whole Wheat Flour, Water, Vegetable Shortening (Interesterified Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil and/or Palm Oil), Contains 2% or Less of: Leavening (Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Aluminum Sulfate, Corn Starch, Monocalcium Phosphate and/or Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Calcium Sulfate), Sugar, Salt, Preservatives (Calcium Propionate, Sorbic Acid and/or Citric Acid), Dough Conditioners (Fumaric Acid, Sodium Metabisulfite and/or Mono- and Diglycerides).
That’s an awful lot of unhealthy ingredients.
Now for a look at nutritional values: A single Tortilla Land tortilla is 140 calories. Compare that to 2 slices of Wonder Bread at 110. The tortilla is so low in fiber it has none! That’s because the flour used is refined, not whole grain flour. Even Wonder has 3 grams of fiber. The Mission Tortilla is made with whole wheat, and has 3 grams of fiber as well.
It’s probably becoming clear to you what you should look for in a tortilla:
- short ingredient list with no problematic ingredients
- at least 3 grams of fiber
- tastes good!
A few brands that we can recommend: