Lightened Up Nachos

Nachos are infamous for their indulgent nature. Try these Lightened Up Nachos that combine that bit of indulgence with whole food goodness!

Lightened Up Nachos

I feel like this recipe truly encompasses the “balance” in The Blissful Balance

What I mean is, although I consider these to be lightened up (considering the fat content of traditional nachos that contain sour cream, fatty ground beef, etc), nachos aren’t typically known as a ‘health food’. But that’s the whole point here.

The Blissful Balance means enjoying foods without labeling them. We are all well aware of what foods society (and health professionals) have deemed unhealthy. My philosophy on health is simply choosing not to focus on food ‘labels’, but focusing on eating 80% whole foods, and 20% junk food. There, I said it. My lifestyle contains junk food. Can I scream that from the mountain tops (that don’t exist in Florida)?


There, I feel better.

Lightened Up Nachos

I feel like food/healthy living bloggers are viewed under one umbrella of a particular lifestyle. I am often portrayed as a ‘healthy living blogger’, which is fine because of what my perspective on health is, but I feel like that automatically makes people think that I’m some sort of health expert. Or a ‘wellness guru’, as I’ve been labeled in the past. Or that I live my life with zero indulgence, and that everything I eat is 150% good for me.


Sometimes I drink Diet Coke. Sometimes I eat cookies for a snack. Sometimes I drink too much alcohol. Sometimes I eat a fat ass bowl of spaghetti.

The point is – we all have different definitions of a healthy lifestyle. Mine happens to include foods that I know aren’t good for me, and I’m okay with that. I don’t eat them everyday, all the time, 24/7. But when I do, I don’t feel guilty about it.

Like these nachos.

Here’s why I refer to them as ‘lightened up’ – traditional (Americanized) nachos contain fatty ground beef (which would make me sick, anyway), sour cream (again, would make me sick), heaps of queso, sometimes cheese sauce.

My version contains:

  • Corn tortilla chips
  • Refried beans (optional)
  • Black beans
  • Low-fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Fresh cilantro

Lightened Up Nachos
I wouldn’t put these nachos under health food in a flow chart, but they certainly are lightened up. Oh, and my mom literally ate about half of the batch. I think she liked them. I wonder where I get my appetite from? Hmm… hi mom!

[Tweet “Lightened Up Nachos and my philosophy on junk food”]

Lightened Up Nachos
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: Serves 5
  • 4 handfuls of restaurant-style tortilla chips
  • 15 oz can of refried beans
  • 15 oz can of black beans
  • 1 cup low-fat cheddar cheese
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  1. Place one handful of chips on the bottom of a shallow bowl or an 8×13 baking dish.
  2. Using a spoon, add about three tbsp of each type of beans over the chips.
  3. Sprinkle beans with about 1/4 cup cheese.
  4. Repeat process three more times. You’ll want to layer this as if you were layering lasagna. Chips, beans, cheese.
  5. Once you finish the final layer, place the bowl or dish in the microwave and melt cheese at 45 second increments until completely melted.
  6. Sprinkle tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro over the top layer of melted cheese.
When distributing the ingredients across each layer, you can simply do so evenly, to taste. For instance, the recipe calls for one cup of cheese – instead of measuring out cheese for each layer (if you need to, that’s fine), simply sprinkle some on each layer until the cup is finished. No need for exact measurements when making nachos! :)

Lightened Up Nachos Lightened Up Nachos Lightened Up Nachos


Join the conversation:
What does your philosophy on health look like?
What is the ratio of your diet (like how mine is 80/20)?

Did you like this recipe? Pin it for later!

Lightened Up Nachos


  1. says

    I ate a big a** bowl of spaghetti last night, so I feel you on that. đŸ˜‰ I absolutely love this nacho recipe, I had some KILLER ones in Boston too, and these remind me of those. I think a balanced approach to food is the only way to do it. I’m totally with you on the 80/20. That’s the only way I keep my mind AND body happy!! :)

  2. says

    Girl, I love nachos so damn much, and this made me sooooo happy. Could I sub plain Greek yogurt or something for sour cream? Because I feel like I still need that element in my life. But I want to make this lightened up version of my FAVORITE appetizer food ASAP.
    Danielle @ afloat on a full sea

  3. says

    I would say I am about 80/20 too…When I need to eat a LOT or I am craving something deliciously naughty I go for it! This past weekend I threw all those stupid rules out the window and just ate and drank and had no regrets. I definitely polished off a large bag of Tostitos and it was AWESOME and salty and sometimes you just have to EAT and EAT a lot. All those carbs definitely helped me on Monday morning when I was working out…LOL!

  4. says

    PREACH SISTA! I feel the exaaaaaact same way, aka I eat healthy most of the time, but I eat junk food and I LIKE IT. Specifically dessert. Just give me a full-fat chocolate chip cookie and I’m good. Aaaaand these nachos–they look pretty guilt free to me! But really. Pinning!

  5. says

    I LOVEEE this. Haha currently chuckling at you, you’re too funny. But yeah, on the weekends its sometimes pizza, beer, wings, ice cream, you name it, I eat it. I hate feeling confined! It drives me nuts when people say, “Omg you eat healthy and you’re going to eat that entire 12oz steak”. You bet your sweet botay I am.

    • says

      I couldn’t give a crap what other people say about my eating habits, and it’s so frustrating to me that they have anything to say in the first place you know?! I don’t care what you eat, so don’t look at what I eat! haha, girl I feel ya, bring on the pizza.

  6. says

    I wouldn’t mind lightened -up nachos, and I so love that you don’t label foods like that Christina. You are such a blessing, and I’m so thankful that God has given you a balanced view of eating and such freedom in eating to share with others.

  7. says

    Yum! These nachos looks awesome! I’m totally a Mexican food fanatic. And I eat junk food all the time. I also eat healthy most of the time. I appreciate your balance on healthful choices. Thanks for sharing!!

  8. says

    Yum! These look perfect–I love love love nachos! Since I recovered from my ED, I just try to eat intuitively, whether that means I want a big pile of nachos or a chicken salad for lunch. I think it probably works out to about 80/20. :)

  9. says

    I took what I consider a “big” step this summer when I started eating Paleo… but within 3 weeks I dialed it back to Paleo-ish. I truly do feel better eating mostly-whole foods and going Paleo helped me really understand that. However, much as I love super healthy foods, I also love bread, ice cream, pizza, fries, and nachos (among other things) and I need them for my sanity. It evens out to about 80-20, and I’m a-okay with it.

  10. says

    Yasss!!!! this looks amazing – your photos are on point! omg the struggle can be real sometimes findin the balance! I aim for an 80/20 approach too, although sometime it’s just whatever I damn well feel like! I love eating healthy food, but I love wine, pasta, chocolate and the occasional icecream! we’re only human right!?

  11. says

    yes yes yes a million times yes!!! Sometimes I get SOOOO annoyed when people think since I teach group fitness and have a healthy living blog that I must eat ‘clean’ 110% of the time. One time I remember I got a diet coke (my one true love once a week) and I saw a client and I felt like I had to hide it…uhhh that is NOT what health is about. I like you have come to OWN it…it’s about living, it’s about life, it’s about balance, NOT deprivation

  12. says

    Ooh, these nachos look delicious!

    I have a similar food philosophy, although I don’t know the exact ratio. I think my food philosophy is, essentially, about being intentional about what I eat. What this means is that I want my diet to contain plenty of nourishing foods like greens and whole grains, and for things like sugar and refined grains to be things I consciously choose to eat, rather than things I resort to out of poor planning or laziness. I’d guess my ratio shakes out to around 80/20, as in practice this means that 95% of what I eat at home is healthy and nourishing, but when I go out to eat I’m probably having fries and dessert.


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