New spin on favorite foods to help with obesity crisis - Tucson News Now

New spin on favorite foods to help with obesity crisis

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Childhood obesity is at an all-time high.

Health experts said this will be the first generation to not outlive their parents.

But, one Tucson mom said her kids won't be going before her, and, she's gaining national attention for her healthy spin on the favorite Mexican foods she grew up on.

Andrea's you're typical mom, she does everything, always busy doing something, but you'll most likely find her in the kitchen whipping up something Mexican.

But its those traditional foods a lot of us grew up on that are having a huge impact on our kids.

That's why Andrea's changed the way she makes... let's say tacos de pollo or chicken tacos.

"We're just taking out the fried component like the lard and we're replacing them with some broiling and grilling and some slow cooking," said Andrea Toledo-Leyva.

Her new cooking trends have even landed her a spot in the book, "A Year of Being Well," Messages from Families Living Healthier Lives.

The book is used by national health organizations and even president Bill Clinton's foundation, as a tool to combat childhood obesity.

But the secret to getting your kids eating right, Andrea said, is to get them involved.

"Its made us actually bond together as a family on a journey to find different interesting ways to cook things in an alternative manner and still have them taste good," said Toledo-Leyva.

And, the kids have been cooking with mom since they were first featured in the book three years ago.

"This is where you start your habits for later on, so if I start eating healthy now and exercising, then later on in life I'm going to feel a lot better," said Desiree Leyva-Toledo, Andrea's daughter.

If you eat to taste, the thought of eating healthy means it's probably not going to taste good. So, are Andrea's chicken tacos going to pass the test?

What do the kids think?

"I think it tastes the same. I feel better that we're not eating so much junk food and we're eating healthier stuff for dinner," said Alex Leyva-Toledo, Andrea's daughter.

Looks like mom's proved there is a way to eat your favorite Mexican foods and have it still taste like grandma's cooking.

Just have to go about prepping it a little differently.

"I want them to be able to challenge things and to create things that will continue the traditions of our family but will also continue to improve the future for themselves and their kids and all that's done by living a healthy life," said Toledo-Leyva.

Try Andrea's chicken tacos with your family. Here's the recipe:


· 1 lb chicken (boneless/skinless breast)

· 4 green chiles

· ¼ yellow onion

· 2 cloves garlic

· 1 bay leaf

· Salt/pepper

· Dry ground oregano


· Roast fresh green chiles by placing in oven under (high) broil setting. Blacken each side. Immediately place blackened chiles in large zip lock bag for 10 minutes. Under running cold water, remove blackened skin, stem, and (optional) seeds. Roughly chop chiles into large chunks or strips

· Preheat oven to 350 degrees

· Place chicken in large roasting pan adding water (just enough water to cover chicken)

· Roughly cut ¼ yellow onion into slices. Add to chicken

· Finely chop 2 garlic cloves. Add to chicken

· Add salt/pepper to taste

· Add about 1 tsp oregano

· Add 1 bay leaf

· Cover and roast chicken for about 1-1/2 hours

· Shred chicken and return to oven for an additional 30 minutes

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