Food For Thought

Flat tortillas and various vegetables for burrito making on a table

5 Tips for How to Eat Healthy at Chipotle

Kate Glover, 09/13/2016

It’s safe to say that Chipotle is a very popular venue for those seeking a quick meal made from unprocessed, tasty ingredients. I rarely find a Chipotle that doesn’t have a line stretching out of the door. And it makes sense. Why go to a McDonald’s drive through when you can have a savory lunch that’s bursting with the flavors of spices and garden-fresh cilantro?

While it’s always healthier to avoid processed food and go for meals made with fresh ingredients, you still need to be aware of what you’re eating. Just because your meal might seem healthy, it doesn’t mean it actually is.

It’s easy to pat yourself on the back for skipping the drive through burger and fries, but the next time you’re at Chipotle go a step further and try to pick the healthiest options on the menu.

Not sure where to start? Here are some tips:

Get a Bowl or Salad Instead of a Burrito or Tacos

The taco shell options alone range from 210-250 calories, and a burrito is 300 calories. Why unnecessarily up your caloric intake if these choices are high in fat and sodium and offer you little to no nutritional value? Instead, go for a bowl or a salad -- you can still put together a wonderful creation of your favorite flavors! Plus, you won’t have to worry about your meal falling all over the place from a dreaded burrito break.

Note: If you get a salad, pass on the vinaigrette dressing. It’s loaded with 850mg of sodium! Talk about unknowingly derailing your healthy diet! Instead, try squeezing some lemon over your salad or using salsa as your dressing.

Fill Your Bowl with the Healthiest Ingredient Options

The best option for a satiating and healthy meal is to pass on the meat products and fill your bowl with lettuce (you can never have too many greens in your diet!), fajita veggies, and beans. If you’re super hungry you can ask for double veggies and double beans. And if you’re worried about getting enough protein, have no fear! The black and pinto beans are a great source of protein, fiber, vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron. And they are filling. Trust me, if you have lots of beans in your bowl, you won’t miss the meat.

However, if you do decide to put some meat in your bowl make sure you pick the healthiest choice. The biggest thing you have to be cognizant of is the amount of sodium and fat in all of your options. Here they are, based on 4oz serving sizes (keep in mind that you may get more than what the stated amount is):

Chicken -- 180 calories, 7g fat, 310mg sodium.

Steak -- 150 calories, 6g fat, 330mg sodium.

Carnitas -- 210 calories, 12g fat, 450mg sodium.

Barbacoa -- 165 calories, 7g fat, 530mg sodium.

Sofritas -- 145 calories, 10g fat, 555mg sodium.

Skip the Cheese & Sour Cream

These dairy products are high in calories, fat, and cholesterol and won’t do you any favors when you’re trying to eat healthier.

Consider Passing on the Guac

While guacamole is made with fresh ingredients, the guac at Chipotle is filled with excess sodium (375mg). If you just have to have it, pass on the tortilla chips and have them put a small dollop of guac right in your bowl.

Don’t Let Sugary Drinks be Your Downfall

Fountain sodas, margaritas, and sugary bottled drinks will quickly tack on empty calories and can undo all of your hard work. Instead, go with water or unsweetened iced tea!

To sum up, we recommend ordering something along the lines of:

  • A salad

  • Pinto and black beans

  • Double fajita veggies

  • Tomatillo green-chili salsa

And if you want meat, go for chicken!

It’s understandable that you might need to go out for a quick meal to keep up with your hectic schedule. Just try to make the healthiest decisions possible when you do!

If you’re interested in getting expert advice from a nutrition coach about how to eat healthy when you go out, be sure to schedule an appointment today.


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