What to Order to Get the Best Possible Nutrition at Chipotle


If you’re going to consider trends and hot spots in terms of dining, you have to consider Chipotle. The fast food chain is popping up all over the country in record numbers, and diners are excited that there is quick Mexican food available to them just about everywhere now. Of course, there are those who turn their noses up at the idea of eating at a fast food restaurant, and rightfully so when they take the level of nutrition in the menu items into consideration. It’s unhealthy to eat a lot of fast food, and people know this (it doesn’t seem to stop them, but they do claim they know this). Chipotle, like any other fast food chain, does have a long list of items that are going to clog your arteries and kill you if you eat them on a regular basis.

However, in terms of fast food, it’s not the worst possible menu. While most of the items are fairly healthy in comparison to McDonalds and Burger King and other burger joints, the calories add up – and they add up quickly. What we’ve done is some research, taken some notes and made it our mission to look up the things we think are most important in terms of good health and nutrition at Chipotle. We can help you minimize the calories you consume and maximize the amount of nutrition on your plate the next time you dine at Chipotle.

Go with the Bowl

It’s tempting for Mexican food lovers to want to consume burritos and tacos and everything in between, but what we recommend is actually just coming the in-between (our wit does entertain us). The outside is the unhealthy part. For example, did you know one flour tortilla has approximately 300 calories? That’s a lot of calories for a very little bit of food, don’t you agree? And the worst part is that it doesn’t even include anything that’s inside the shell. This means that one meal has a minimum of 300 calories, and that’s only if you eat the tortilla and nothing else that comes with it. Ouch. Doesn’t sound good in terms of nutrition, does it?

With the bowl, however, you get all the same thing as a burrito or a taco, but without the tortilla. It’s an automatic 300 calorie savings. This means you can essentially save yourself a bundle of calories and by doing nothing more than just eating the interior of your burrito or taco.

If you’re really in the mood for a good old fashioned taco, order the one that comes in the hard shell. It might not be the same thing to some people, but it’s a lot better for you and a lot less caloric than the soft shells. We think that you should go hard taco shell or bowl route if you want to get the best possible nutrition from this particular meal.

Skip the Extras

Cheese, cream and chips; skip them. They’re the worst things on the menu. Why? Because a helping of cheese is a whopping 100 calories. And by helping, we mean one ounce. Just one ounce. That’s nothing considering most people have heaps of it on their food. Sour cream is also pretty bad for you. Take a few minutes to let this sink in; one ounce of sour cream has 120 calories and the average taco or burrito has several ounces of this on it. How does your waistline feel now?

As for chips, you just need to move on. They’re so bad for you. In terms of nutrition at Chipotle, they have virtually no value. Four ounces has more than 270 calories, and most people will eat an entire serving and then ask for more. It’s enough to make you feel sick to your stomach just thinking about it. All it takes is asking for a little extra sour cream or a little extra cheese to make your meal as much as 500 calories less healthy than it was in its original form.

If you forgo these toppings and the extras, you can make a very healthy decision and save yourself some serious health concerns and weight issues. With so many other things in life that are oh-so delicious and cause you to gain weight, you don’t need to focus your time on Chipotle only. Save some for dessert.

Do Go for These Extras

If you just can’t help but add things to your meal, skip the unhealthy stuff and go for the stuff that is healthy. For example, you can go with something like salsa. It has basically no calories; only 15 per three ounces. That’s basically, well, nothing. Just note that not all salsa is made equally. There is some salsa that’s far less healthy than other forms, and mostly that’s stuff like the corn salsa, which as more than 80 calories per 3 ounces. It’s a lot, but it’s still a lot better than sour cream or even cheese, and it’s just as delicious.

A salad makes a great addition to any meal you order at Chipotle, but do consider that you should skip the dressing. According to the nutrition information on the Chipotle menu, you are adding as many as 300 calories or more to your meal if you have the salad dressing. Either ask for it on the side or don’t have it at all. At least on the side you have the option of controlling the amount poured onto your salad, which is far healthier than what they will pour on it on your behalf.

Of course, the best decision you can make at Chipotle is to go home and make your own Mexican meal out of fresh ingredients because it’s much healthier. However, that doesn’t seem to be an option for the people who love this trendy fast food establishment and its menu offerings. If you insist on eating fast food, go with the healthier options and skip the stuff that’s going to make you regret your decision later on.

Photo by John Parra/Getty Images for NYCWFF


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