Tips to Keep it Healthy at Chipotle
Can you go to Chipotle and still eat healthy? I'll break down what to order that will save you 900 calories.
Chipotle is one of the healthier fast-food joints: they only use fresh ingredients with no processed or artificial additives. But by using Chipotle's Nutrition Calculator, I found that a Chipotle burrito can easily weigh in at over a thousand calories. For example, if you ordered a burrito with carnitas, brown rice, pinto beans, fresh tomato salsa, cheese and guacamole, you'd be consuming 1,235 calories. Depending on your needs, that could be a day's worth of calories, in just one burrito.
Don't get me wrong I love chipotle. My whole family loves chipotle. But as with any restaurant, it's easy to go overboard if you're not careful about what ingredients you choose. Here's my guide to keeping it healthy and tasty at Chipotle:
1. Choose a bowl or salad
Go for the bowl or salad, as a large flour tortilla alone contains 320 calories and 600 mg of sodium. The corn and flour taco shells aren't much better, coming in at 200 and 250 calories, respectively, just for the shell. Don't waste your calories here; save 'em for the good stuff on the inside.
2. Pick your favorite protein
Can't really go wrong here. The lowest calories are steak and sofritas (both with 150 calories) and the highest is carnitas (210 calories). Order your favorite protein and it's okay to order double protein if you follow the rest of my guidelines; the only thing to watch for is the sodium, which is pretty high in the sofritas (560 mg per serving).
3. Eat your beans
Beans will provide 8 grams of plant-based protein to your order. Black and pinto beans are each 130 calories and are nutritional equals, so choose your preferred taste here. Both will give you a boost of fiber, which most Americans struggle obtaining.
4. Choose brown rice
The brown rice contains less sodium and more fiber than the white rice. If you did choose the burrito or tacos, skip the rice (210 calories) altogether since you're getting your grains in your shell.
Double up on the fajita vegetables, sautéed peppers and onions. They're low in calories—just 20 per serving— high in fiber, plus vitamins, minerals and doubling up is no extra cost.
Romaine lettuce adds only 5 calories while providing lots of freshness and crunch. Add the lettuce to your burrito bowl!
Who can say no to guac!? Avocados are nutrient-dense and filled with heart-healthy fats, but the guacamole does deliver 230 calories. If you love guac, it can be worth the extra $$$ and calories for the nutrition and flavor boost. It will also keep you full longer.
Dairy: Sour Cream, Queso, Cheese
The sour cream (110 calories), queso (120 calories), and shredded Monterey Jack cheese (110 calories) can make your calories jump quickly. If you really can't go without something creamy or cheesy, choose just one or half the quantity.
Chipotle offers four different salsas: fresh tomato, roasted chili-corn, tomatillo-green chili, and tomatillo-red chili. Fresh tomato is light in calories (25 per serving), just high in sodium (550 mg per serving). The corn salsa contributes 80 calories and 330 mg of sodium, so I recommend choosing either of the tomatillos. I love the green chili version (15 calories and 260 mg sodium), which packs enough spice to boost the flavor and maybe even your metabolism (capsaicin, a compound in hot chile peppers, can rev your metabolism).
The vinaigrette adds 220 calories and 850 mg of sodium. Honestly, with all the other toppings a dressing is really unnecessary, but if you really want some ask for it on the side and use sparingly.
A single serving contains 540 calories, which could end up doubling the calories of your entire meal.
My Go-To Order
Burrito Bowl: chicken, half rice serving, half black beans serving, bell pepper onion mix, fresh salsa, lettuce and maybe a side of guac!
What's your favorite order at a Chipotle?