Taco Bell, like so many other fast food establishments, has become wonderful about letting people know how their nutrition works in terms of menu items. The nutrition information for all Taco Bell menu items is available on the Taco Bell website so that fans of the fast food joint can see for themselves precisely what their favorite items mean in terms of health. While it’s true that most items on any fast food menu are not too good in terms of health, not everything is 1000 calories and seconds away from giving you a heart attack.
At the end of the day, you’re far better off in terms of good nutrition going home and making tacos out of fresh ingredients than you are buying them at Taco Bell, but that’s just not fast and convenient. So for that reason, we’ve decided to take the time to read through the Taco Bell nutrition information and figure out what it all means. What’s healthy? What’s not? What’s good for you? What should you avoid at all costs? What does it mean when a menu item says it’s vegetarian? We have those answers for you.
Some people have a different definition of vegetarian than others (honestly, we just it meant not eating meat), and Taco Bell has its own version of vegetarian. If you look at their nutrition information, they claim to have vegetarian items on the menu. However, what exactly is the Taco Bell definition of vegetarian? Is it something that contains no meat or is it something that contains no animal products at all? There is a difference, and Taco Bell defines their vegetarian menu items for diners so that there is no misunderstanding of the real meaning.
Taco Bell uses the lacto-ovo definition of vegetarian. This means that products are created using dairy products and eggs, but they do not have any animal byproducts found within. Additionally, their nutritional information page online also states that some of their restaurant locations – not all – also use the same oil to prepare vegetarian dishes that they use to prepare their meat products, which some might consider against their eating parameters. Additionally, the restaurant wants diners to know that employees who handle meat products also handle vegetarian products as this is something that is against the laws of some religions and beliefs that are vegetarian-specific.
There are many articles and ‘expert’ opinions that the beef used at Taco Bell is so bad that its grade is lower than that of the meat used to make dog food. It seems that while this may have been true at one time in the past, it’s no longer true. According to Taco Bell, the beef used to create tacos and burritos and other dishes here is 100% USDA premium ground beef – the kind you’d find in the supermarket when you’re making your own burgers or spaghetti sauce at home. The company boasts that their meat passes a 20-point inspection so that they can stand behind the quality of their meat, helping buyers understand that it’s healthy and not at all low-quality product.
One of the biggest complaints in terms of nutrition in many fast food restaurants is the use of trans fat and oils to fry fast food items. There was a time in which many restaurants were under fire for the use of this kind of oil and fat, and now many fast food locations are changing the way they cook your food to make it less heart-unhealthy. As of 2007, Taco Bell states that their locations no longer use trans fats. They now use trans fat-free high-oleic canola oil in which to fry their foods. They do, however, state that some locations use ingredients that have a gram or less of trans fat, but that this is completely normal and not at all unhealthy. The company is working to remove all trans fats from its menu by the year 2017.
Taco Bell understands that many people suffer from allergies. They want their customers to know that their menu items are made in ways so that there is always something available to diners who do have allergies. None of the food made at Taco Bell is prepared with the following items: fish, shellfish, tree nuts or peanuts, which eliminates the risk of eating anything that might contain one of these harmful allergens. Additionally, the menu states which items might contain common allergens such as specific dairy products and wheat product. There is even a section on the menu that offers diners their choice of items that are made without Gluten and MSG. Additionally, the restaurant has an online nutrition information sheet that makes it easy for diners to see which items contain which allergens, which items are high in calories as well as the full nutritional spectrum of each item on the menu.
Of course, it usually all comes down to how much weight you’re going to gain if you make it a habit to consume fast food. The truth is that you just don’t know until you take the time to read the nutrition information. There are, however, a few things you can do to make sure each item you order at Taco Bell is as healthy as possible in terms of calories. By skipping out on some of the higher-calorie items, you can save your waistline a little bit of stress.
One of the most common items that people don’t consider unhealthy is sour cream. However, adding this to your order can add several hundred calories depending on how much you consume. Eating soft tacos is also a high-calorie option. Soft tacos are made of tortillas, and tortillas have hundreds of unhealthy calories. Go with the hard taco shell or skip the taco wrap all together and ask for your taco insides in a bowl. It’s far healthier than adding unhealthy additives. Additionally, skip the dressing when you order a salad. Most dressings makes salads so unhealthy you might as well just order a few soft tacos and call it a day.
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