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Are Nachos and Cheese Really Healthy for You? Are They Linked to Health Issues

Nachos and Cheese

Nachos and Cheese are Delicious, but  how healthy are they?

Nachos and Cheese are Delicious, but how healthy are they?

Nachos and Cheese - Yummy

Nachos and cheese are yummy, and they always hit the spot. Not only are they quick, easy, and filling, but delicious as well. That being said, how healthy are they really?

You May Be Surprised to Find Out!

You May be Shocked to Find out...


Nutrition Facts For 1 portion Serving Size (6-8 nachos) (113.0 g)

Amount Per Serving: 346 Calories

Calories from Fat: 171 Calories

Total Fat: 19.0g - 29%

Saturated Fat: 7.8g - 39%

Total Carbohydrates: 36.3g - 12%

Vitamins: Vitamin A: 11% • Vitamin C: 2% • Calcium: 27% • Iron 7%

Cholesterol: 18mg - 6%

Sodium: 816mg - 34%

Protein: 9.1g

Extra Food Items: Cals Fat Carbs Protein

Cals Fat Carb Protein

Tortilla Chips: 137 (cal) 7 g (fat) 18 g (carbs) 2 g (protein)

Sour Cream: 478 g (cal) 45 g (fat) 15 g (carbs) 6 g (protein)

Lettuce: 1 (cal) 0 g(fat) 0 g (carbs) 0 g (protein)

Cheese: 532 (cal) 44g (fat) 2 g(carbs) 33 g (protein)

Salsa: 70 (cal) 0 g(fat) 16 g (carbs) 4 g (protein)

Tomatoes: 27 (cal) 0 g (fat) 6 g (carbs) 1 g (protein)

Re-fried Beans: 217 (cal) 3 g (fat) 36 g (carbs) 13 g (protein)

Unfortunately nachos are not healthy unless they're prepared healthy on purpose.

Unfortunately nachos are not healthy unless they're prepared healthy on purpose.

So To Answer The Question: Are Nachos And Cheese Healthy For You?

NO!!! Nachos are a heart attack waiting to happen!

In fact in her book Menu Confidential, Megan Ogilvie, a health reporter for the Toronto Star, says that a platter of Nachos has as much fat as 40 strips of bacon!


Is There A Way To Make Nachos Healthy?

Yes, there are ways to turn Nachos and cheese into a healthy meal. Below are some ways to make healthier choices when you prepare nachos.

One Tip: Buy baked tortilla chips, or prepare your own. Making them is a lot easier than you may think. Below is a quick and easy recipe to make your own tortilla chips. Below this recipe is a recipe for a healthy cheese sauce to go with it.

How To Make Your Own Tortilla Chips

Make your own tortillas chips

Make your own tortillas chips

Homemade Tortilla Chips

  • 3/4 cup Corn, Canola, or Grapeseed oil, You can also use your favorite non-stick spray.
  • 12 Standard Corn Tortillas, Makes 72 chips (each tortilla makes 6 chips)
  • Seasoning Kocher salt, regular salt, seasoning salt, garlic salt, paprika, chili powder, or cayenne pepper, You can add whatever seasoning you like, but salt is generally the main seasoning
  • Large Knife
  • Brush for the Oil
  • Two Cookie Sheets
  • Cutting Board


  1. Preheat oven and oil the cookie sheets: Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Pour some oil into a bowl (a few tablespoons) and brush or spray a thin layer onto the trays and set them aside.
  2. Oil and stack the tortillas: Place one tortilla on the cutting board and brush or spray the top with a thin layer of oil, paying close attention to the outer edges of the tortillas. Place another tortilla on top of it and brush or spray the top with oil. Continue doing this with each one until they’re all oiled and stacked in a pile.
  3. Cut Tortillas into Wedges: Use a large knife to cut your stack of tortillas in half with one firm slice. Cut them in half again, and then one more time to get your wedges.
  4. Arrange Tortillas on Trays and Season: Arrange the wedges in a single layer on your oiled cookie sheets. Placing the un-oiled wedges down onto the oiled tray. You can overlap them, but not too much, or they won’t be crisp. Sprinkle your seasoning onto the wedges, but make sure you get them all.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

15 min

12 min

27 min

72 Tortilla Chips Serves 2 - 3 people

Cheese Sauce Recipe - Ingredients and What You'll Need

  • 1 cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard


  • A medium-sized saucepan
  • Whisk

Cheese Sauce Recipe – Instructions

  1. Mix flour, salt and pepper in a separate bowl, and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan melt margarine or butter and blend in the flour mixture stirring constantly with a whisk until it simmers.
  3. Slowly add milk and keep whisking mixture until it is thickened over a medium heat
  4. Add the mustard and cheese.
  5. Keep stirring until the cheese has melted and the mixture is smooth.
  6. Serve hot

Nutrition Facts of Cheese Sauce

The nutrition facts of the cheese sauce can vary depending on which recipe you use. Below is the nutrition value of a basic e cheese sauce listed above:

Serving Size 2 tbsp (30 g)
Calories 59

  • Calories from Fat 40
  • Total Fat 4.5g 7%
  • Saturated Fat 2.4g 12%
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 1.4g
  • Cholesterol 11mg 4%
  • Sodium 148mg 6%
  • Potassium 42.6mg 1%
  • Carbohydrates 1.6g 1%
  • Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
  • Sugars 0g
  • Protein 3.1g

Vitamin A 4% · Vitamin C 0% Calcium 9% · Iron 1%
The Benefits of a home made cheese sauce are

  • No sugar
  • High in calcium
  • High in phosphorus

However, the saturated fat is high as well as the sodium. If you are concerned about fat and sodium try to find a homemade cheese sauce with a lower percentage.

For nutrition information on a variety of other dishes you can go here.

Choose A Lean Meat

If your favorite is ground beef, you can use that for your nachos, but make sure it is 93% lean. Although you can add any lean meat that you choose, for example try your nachos with:

  • Turkey
  • Fish
  • Chicken breast

The next step is to season the meat. You can use any season or combination of seasonings that your heart desires. You can even experiment with different seasonings together to come up with your own signature nachos.

  • Onion
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Garlic
  • Cayenne pepper, etc.

*Making your own meat, rather than buying it from the grocery store is best for your health, because it gives you control on the flavors and sodium amounts.

Healthy Cheese Sauce – You Can't Have Nachos Without It

The majority of cheese sauces sold at the store are incredibly unhealthy. Luckily, you can make a healthy one, at home. Cheese sauces are very quick and easy to make. All you need is milk, flour, cheese and butter.

These ingredients still have calories but won't have the excess sodium or preservatives.

You can eat all the peppers you want.

You can eat all the peppers you want.

Healthy Toppings

Although refried beans have a bad rap for being fattening, you can buy re-fried beans that are fat-free and taste delicious. Guacamole is also a great nacho topping. It is made with avocados, and even though they are high in fat, it is a healthy fat.

You can go crazy with as many jalapeno and peppers that you want.

See, healthy nachos are an easy way to go. It is a meal you can quickly prepare and feel good sharing with your family. All you need is healthy toppings, baked tortillas chips, lean meat, homemade cheese sauce and seasonings.


Chocolate Desert Nachos?

All-inclusive Nacho recipes from finger food nachos, main course nachos,  to desert nachos and cocktail recipes to go with.

All-inclusive Nacho recipes from finger food nachos, main course nachos, to desert nachos and cocktail recipes to go with.

Ultimate Nachos

Ultimate Nachos is the recipe book to end all recipe books when it comes to making nachos.

This book is filled with 84 nacho recipes ranging from simple to complex dishes. Including desert nachos, breakfast nachos, guacamole, Salas, and cocktails.

Don't forget to use your healthy substitutes when following these nacho recipes!

Further Reading

What Now?


Koralee Phillips (author) from Vancouver British Columbia Canada on March 18, 2018:

Thanks Butch45. Vegan nachos sounds delicious didn't realize cheese is linked to cancer. Does that include all cheeses? For example, what about Feta cheese?

Butch45 on March 18, 2018:

I am eating plant based whole foods only. YOu can make all that stuff vegan if you want as well. But mostly cheese is toxic and not healthy. Also strongly linked to cancer in humans.

Koralee Phillips (author) from Vancouver British Columbia Canada on February 15, 2017:

I was shocked too. It's better to eat the homemade kind or eat them sparingly. You have a great night too and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

DREAM ON on February 15, 2017:

I never thought they were that bad. Now still have a homemade version once and awhile that still tastes good and better health. So good to learn.. My body thanks you.Have a relaxing night.

Koralee Phillips (author) from Vancouver British Columbia Canada on November 07, 2015:

I added in the nutrition facts into the hub for the cheese sauce.

Val on November 06, 2015:

What's the Nutrition Facts of the cheese sauce?...

Koralee Phillips (author) from Vancouver British Columbia Canada on June 07, 2013:

Thanks so much CriSp. At least you're thinking about your health (sometimes). Now is a great time to start, bad health seems to creep up on people. From my experience lately with people I know in their late forties and early fifties getting sick and having heart attacks & strokes, diabetes, and thyroid problems all seem to stem from ongoing bad health habits such as foods high in fat/salt/cholesterol, smoking, drinking coffee/alcohol, lack of exercise and working shift work for extended periods of time.

CrisSp from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on June 06, 2013:

Good stuff! I love nachos and cheese (without the beef) and I don't really count on my calories intake. I know, I'm stubborn! *smile* However, as I get older I get conscious about my health (sometimes) and I think it's about time I watch it. Well, thank you for sharing this. Happy to have stumbled upon it and I'm pining and sharing it in return.

Koralee Phillips (author) from Vancouver British Columbia Canada on May 01, 2013:

Thank you LoisRyan and I know what you mean , about the best tasting foods being unhealthy.

Lois Ryan from Upstate NY originally from Long Island on May 01, 2013:

Why is it that the foods that taste good are so unhealthy? Even though I already knew before reading this article. I never, however, really cared for the cheese sauce. I usually like salsa the mld type. Great hub.

Ben from UK on April 02, 2013:

Great article, well researched and thoughtfully written. Thanks

Koralee Phillips (author) from Vancouver British Columbia Canada on March 14, 2013:

Hi The Remnder. I thought nachos would be a lot more healthier than they are too; or, at least I was hoping they were :). I like that... unsalted popcorn lol. I'm not sure if you have to go quite to that extreme.

Koralee Phillips (author) from Vancouver British Columbia Canada on March 14, 2013:

Careermommy: I hope you enjoy them. I really enjoyed the healthier version, but did feel that it wasn't totally the same. I too, am a huge nachos and cheese fan.

The Reminder from Canada on March 13, 2013:

And I always thought they were in a way healthy. After all it's only nachos and cheese! Guess now I'll switch to unsalted popcorn!

Tirralan Watkins from Los Angeles, CA on March 01, 2013:

KoraleeP, thank you for coming up with a healthier version of nachos and cheese. I definitely have to try this because I am a nachos and cheese fan. (-:

Koralee Phillips (author) from Vancouver British Columbia Canada on February 27, 2013:

Your welcome, cynetbrown :) I hope you enjoy the healthier nacho version. It's not quite the same, but pretty tasty.

Cygnet Brown from Springfield, Missouri on February 27, 2013:

We love Nachos and Cheese at our house, but when I eat it I can almost feel the arteries congealing! thanks for showing us how to make them less unhealthy!

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on February 25, 2013:

Hi KoraleeP,

Interesting facts when you them in black and white! Nachos I adore and while I would have thought they were pretty unhealthy overall, seeing just how loaded they are is scary! Great suggestions for reducing the fat in particular which I will be keeping in mind next time I make the dish. i do like to use low fat versions of most things when possible.

Cheers for a concise article that says it how it is!

Vu, Interesting, Useful Shared!

Koralee Phillips (author) from Vancouver British Columbia Canada on February 25, 2013:

Thank you teaches 12345. Great idea to limit your cheese intake... all things in moderation.

Koralee Phillips (author) from Vancouver British Columbia Canada on February 25, 2013:

Thanks for stopping by Kathryn. I wish regular nachos were healthy lol, but that is not the case.

Dianna Mendez on February 22, 2013:

Great article on this food source. I limit my cheese and fast food intake due to the poor nutrition benefit. Good share!

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on February 22, 2013:

I really thought you were going to say they were healthy! Nice twist.

I like that you provided a healthier way to eat Nachos. Great hub!

cfin from The World we live in on November 18, 2012:

In WI everyone eats cheese on everything. People argue with me about its benefits. It makes me laugh a little. Is not bad in moderation. MODERATION :)

Koralee Phillips (author) from Vancouver British Columbia Canada on October 25, 2011:

Me too :)

Reynold Jay from Saginaw, Michigan on October 25, 2011:

No Nachos and Cheese for me! I wanna grow to an old age!