Kid-Friendly Recipe: Healthy Yucatan-Style Chicken Tacos


This story is part of a series of stories and educational resources featuring East LA and its surrounding neighborhoods and communities.

It’s normal for children to be picky eaters, says Dr. Ilan Shapiro, medical director of health education and wellness at AltaMed Health Services in Boyle Heights. Shapiro says one of the best ways to get kids interested in healthy eating is to get them involved in grocery shopping and meal planning.

When shopping for ingredients with your child, take the opportunity to introduce the names of new ingredients in English and Spanish. Try saying out loud that you are looking for “a repollo, or a cabbage”, or ask for their help in finding “aguacate, or avocado”.

Farmers markets and specialty stores are not essential for families to eat healthier. Fresh fruits and vegetables can be found at any East LA grocery store – or anywhere! When you can’t find what you need in the fresh produce section, frozen fruits and vegetables are great substitutes.

This simple recipe is inspired by all the amazing restaurants and street vendors in the community and aims to show that traditional foods (like tacos!) can be part of a balanced diet consisting mostly of whole foods and whole foods. which are not very treated.

Places to Buy Healthy Foods in East LA

  • East Los Angeles Farmers Market (Saturday mornings only), 4801 E. Third St., Los Angeles, CA 90022
  • Numero Uno Market, 4831 Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90022
  • El Super, 3405 East Cesar E Chavez Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90063
  • Superior Grocers, 3600 East Cesar E Chavez Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90063

Makes 8 servings


  • 1 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, finely chopped (any other canned chiles can be substituted; use less or more depending on children’s tolerance for spicy foods)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic salt
  • 2 cups cooked chicken breast, shredded or shredded and reheated (leftover roast chicken is perfect)*
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage or prepared coleslaw mix
  • ¾ cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • ¼ cup panela cheese, crumbled (chopped part-skim mozzarella cheese can be substituted)
  • 1 avocado peeled, pitted, chopped
  • chopped cilantro, to serve
  • lime wedges, for serving


1. In a medium bowl, combine balsamic vinegar, chipotle peppers and garlic salt. Add cabbage, onion and hot chicken and mix well.

Learning moment: To develop their nutritional knowledge, encourage your child to explore new ingredients by appealing to their five senses. Set aside a few samples so they can taste, touch, see, smell and hear the sounds of each ingredient as they go. Ask them to describe it: “How does it feel?” To incorporate math, ask your child to help you measure the amount of each ingredient to add to the bowl. Encourage them to add a little more or a little less of the ingredients they like or don’t like. As you mix the ingredients, ask your child to notice what happens to the ingredients. Are any of them becoming less visible? Why or why not?

2. To reheat the tortillas, heat them in a hot skillet for 1 minute on each side. Or, place the tortillas on a large plate and cover with a damp paper towel and microwave on high power for 2 minutes or until the tortillas are warmed through.

Learning moment: To incorporate some math learning, discuss the shape of the tortilla with your child. If your child is starting to get familiar with the shapes and their characteristics, have them trace the edge of the tortilla and other ingredients. You can ask, “Is it the same shape as the plate?” “What is this shape called?” and “Can you find other similar shaped ingredients? It can? Yes!”

3. Spoon filling into warm tortillas and top with cheese, avocado, cilantro and lime.

4. Serve immediately.


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