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A Brief History of Tamales & Nutrition Facts

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At Texas Lone Star Tamales, we think that tamales make the perfect dish for virtually any occasion. Whether you’re hosting a birthday party, graduation celebration, family reunion, or Christmas dinner, tamales are a wonderful food to add to your menu. The tamale is a traditional Mexican dish made of masa or dough. The masa or dough is steamed in a corn husk (or banana leaf) and stuffed with favorites like chicken, pork, beef, steak, and cheese.

Tamales date all the way back to 7000 B.C. during the Aztec and Mayan civilizations. The word “tamale” was derived from the Aztec word “tamalii” which translates to mean “wrapped food”. Tamales were originally cooked by being buried in hot ashes, making them extra crispy and brown. Over time, people started steaming tamales in underground pits and uncovered pots.

At festivals tamales were passed around in baskets for everyone to enjoy. One interesting thing that these early civilizations believed was that bad luck would come to the person that ate a tamale that was stuck to the cooking pot. In fact, Aztec women were forbidden to eat these tamales, and if a pregnant woman ate one, she was deemed to have pregnancy complications.

Since tamales are individually wrapped, early civilizations found them to be the perfect food for warriors and hunters on the go. According to an article, the Aztec people even had their favorite tamale fillings which consisted of turkey, frog, rabbit, fish, turkey eggs, honey, beans, and squash. The Mayans liked to stuff their tamales with toasted squash seeds, beans, turkey, deer, and fish.

Nutrition Facts About Tamales

Now that you have an understanding of where tamales originated, let’s discuss the nutrition facts of these delicious items. You may think that tamales only contain fat and sodium, but we’re here to tell you they offer a wealth of vitamins and minerals that support an active and healthy lifestyle.


If you’re counting calories, you’ll be happy to know that one tamale only contains about 285 calories. Traditional tamales that can be found today are often made with lard, which can increase the amount of saturated fat.

Protein and Fiber

Since most tamales are filled with high-protein meats, you can get a good amount of your daily protein from eating tamales. On average, one tamale contains 12 grams of protein, which is ideal for transporting nutrients throughout your body and building and repairing cells. Looking to add more fiber to your diet? Tamales can help there, too. One tamale supplies approximately 6 grams of fiber, promoting healthy digestion within the body.

Extra Vitamins & Minerals

Did you know that tamales have a plethora of vitamins and minerals in them? One tamale contains approximately eight to 18 milligrams of iron, which plays a huge role in your body’s immunity. One tamale can also have anywhere between eight to 11 milligrams of zinc which comes in handy for wound healing.

If you’re looking for authentic tasting tamales online, be sure to browse Texas Lone Star Tamale’s online store. We carry a wonderful selection of tamales including pork tamales, beef tamales, chicken tamales, and vegetarian tamales.

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