How to Build a Healthy Order from the Chipotle Menu

Craving quick meals however making an attempt not to skimp out on dietary advantages? Gaby Vaca-Flores, RDN, CLE, breaks down how to construct a wholesome order straight from the Chipotle menu.

Chipotle delivers on comfort and taste alike, and its reputation is essentially due to its customization issue. Chipotle solely makes use of 53 elements to put together their menu, but there are numerous meal mixtures to be made.

Moreover, Chipotle has earned a popularity for being a more healthy various to different quick meals eating places. While they actually do supply loads of nutritious choices, a couple of menu gadgets aren’t essentially the finest on your weight loss program.

If you frequently eat at Chipotle, it might be price re-evaluating your go-to order to just remember to are ordering together with your well being and wellness in thoughts. This dietitian-approved information to navigating the Chipotle menu will break down the healthiest selections, then give you three pattern order choices to strive the subsequent time you get takeout.

Whether you’re ordering a bowl or burrito, the first step in the Chipotle expertise is selecting a base. You get to select from three choices:

  • white rice
  • brown rice
  • no rice (maybe subbing with greens for a salad)

This could also be stunning—largely as a result of white rice typically will get a unhealthy rep—however white and brown rice are each wholesome choices. Both ship the similar quantity of energy (210 energy per serving) and solely differ barely of their fats and carbohydrate quantities. 

The predominant benefit that brown rice holds over its white counterpart is that it packs roughly a gram extra of fiber per half-cup of rice. With this in thoughts, each choices can contribute comparable dietary worth to your bowl or burrito. 

Recommended Base Options

Personally, I discover the completely happy medium by asking for a mild quantity of brown rice (or white, if that’s what I’m in the temper for that day).

Skipping rice altogether may be one thing to think about in case you are wanting to construct a bowl that’s much less carb-heavy and also you need to make room for different starchy toppings (i.e., beans). If I plan on having fun with chips with my bowl, I ask for no rice to assist create a extra balanced meal.

Next in line are the protein choices. There’s loads to select from, together with staples from the commonplace Chipotle menu:

  • hen
  • steak
  • barbacoa (shredded beef)
  • carnitas (shredded pork)
  • sofritas (plant-based protein)

It’s price noting that Chipotle presents a number of several types of hen and steak selections that differ in taste and dietary worth.

The leanest protein choices at Chipotle are the common hen, common steak, and barbacoa. These choices present between 21 to 32 grams of protein and solely 6 to 7 grams of fats per serving.

The much less wholesome protein sources embody garlic guajillo steak, carnitas, pollo asado, and hen al pastor. Mainly, these are thought-about much less wholesome as a result of they’re greater in fats, ranging in 11 to 15 grams per serving.

Sofritas are the plant-based protein possibility which are made from sauteeing a mixture of chipotle peppers, tomatoes, spices, and tofu. This is a scrumptious possibility for vegans and vegetarians. Though sofritas are a good supply of protein, in addition they present 10 grams of fats per serving.

It’s additionally price mentioning that Chipotle presents a ‘Veggie’ protein possibility that consists of guacamole and selection of beans. While this selection offers much less protein than the meat-based choices, it may possibly assist give your bowl or burrito a increase of wholesome fat and fiber.

For a balanced meal at Chipotle filled with lean protein, I like to recommend selecting the following:

  • hen (common)
  • steak (common)
  • barbacoa

Chipotle Menu: Veggies and Salsas

This step is the excellent alternative to add some colour and extra vitamins to your meal. You can select from beans, lettuce, and fajita veggies. There are additionally a number of tiers of salsa obtainable that change in spiciness. 

When it comes to beans, you’ll be able to choose black or pinto beans. Both choices supply close to similar dietary worth, offering 130 energy and eight grams of protein per serving. Plus, beans are a wonderful supply of fiber.

Similarly, there are not any noteworthy dietary variations between the chopped romaine lettuce and fajita veggies. However, lettuce will add a satisfying crunch to your meal. Fajita veggies, or sliced bell peppers, will add savoriness. 

Additionally, the completely different salsa choices—equivalent to the recent tomato salsa and the tomatillo inexperienced salsa—present one other alternative to increase the quantity of taste and veggies into your meal.

You can’t go improper selecting any of the vegetable choices at Chipotle. Don’t overthink it and easily choose the mixture of veggies that you simply choose. (When it comes to veggies, the extra the merrier!)

Personally, I decide in for pinto beans for a fiber increase and fajita veggies topped with salsa for an additional kick.

Guacamole and salsa

Choosing the proper mixture of toppings may be the distinction between a balanced meal and a not-so-healthy one. Additional toppings at Chipotle embody guacamole, bitter cream, shredded cheese, and queso blanco.

Each of those toppings are comparatively excessive in energy as a result of they’ve a excessive fats content material. (For reference, fat present about twice as many energy as carbs or protein.)

Here’s the calorie and fats breakdown of the extra toppings, based mostly on their typical serving measurement at Chipotle:

  • guacamole: 230 energy, 23 grams of fats
  • bitter cream: 110 energy, 9 grams of fats
  • shredded cheese: 110 energy, 8 grams of fats
  • queso blanco: 120 energy, 9 grams of fats

While dietary fats has its place in a commonplace weight loss program, the fat present in most of those toppings are unhealthy saturated fat. The exception right here is guacamole, which is made from avocado, a fruit that gives a substantial quantity of wholesome unsaturated fat.

If you’re wanting to take pleasure in Chipotle’s topping choices, I might advocate asking for a mild quantity from the choices shared above. Usually, which means they’ll serve you about half of a typical serving. This is a great way to nonetheless incorporate extra taste into your meal with out including too many additional energy.

3 Healthy Sample Orders from Chipotle

With so many mixture choices, Chipotle presents one thing for everybody. As a dietitian, I vet for the following meals as a few of the healthiest fare straight off of the Chipotle menu.

Healthy Chipotle Meal #1: Chicken and Rice Bowl

How to order:

  • Rice (mild quantity of white or brown rice)
  • Chicken or steak
  • Pinto or black beans
  • Lettuce
  • Salsa of selection
  • Shredded cheese (mild quantity)

Here’s the vitamin breakdown for the hen and rice bowl: 

  • Calories: 470
  • Protein: 45 g 
  • Carbs: 43 g
  • Fat: 15 g

Think of this bowl as your go-to possibility for once you want a handy—however nonetheless wholesome and balanced—meal from Chipotle. In this bowl, you might be getting all three of your macronutrients plus veggies, fiber, and a ton of taste.

Moreover, this meal is extremely simple to customise based mostly in your taste preferences. You can simply swap out the lettuce for fajita veggies or the beans for the corn salsa. 

I like to recommend asking for a mild quantity of rice to assist make room for the beans, that are a starchy and really filling vegetable. 

Healthy burrito

Healthy Chipotle Meal #2: Steak and Veggie Burrito

How to order:

  • Tortilla
  • No rice
  • Beans (mild quantity of black or pinto beans)
  • Steak 
  • Salsa of selection
  • Roasted chili corn
  • Fajita veggies 

Here’s the vitamin breakdown for the energy burrito:

  • Calories: 660
  • Protein: 37 g
  • Carbs: 87 g
  • Fat: 17 g

The energy burrito is the excellent selection in case you are on-the-go or wanting to increase your protein consumption. What’s nice about this burrito is that it’s loaded with flavorful greens from the fajita bell peppers, corn, beans, and salsa. 

Since this burrito packs considerably extra energy than the first possibility (one tortilla at Chipotle has a whopping 320 energy), I like to recommend reducing this burrito in half and saving the leftovers for dinner or sharing it with a pal.

Healthy Chipotle Meal #3: Veggie Bowl

How to order:

  • Rice (mild quantity of brown or white rice)
  • Sofritas 
  • Beans (mild quantity of black or pinto beans) 
  • Salsa of selection
  • Fajita veggies 

Here’s the vitamin breakdown for the veggie bowl:

  • Calories: 405
  • Protein: 17 g
  • Carbs: 55 g
  • Fat: 15 g

The veggie bowl is the ideally suited selection for somebody who’s on the lookout for a plant-based meal that also delivers on protein and complicated carbohydrates. 

The Takeaway

It may be tough selecting out the healthiest choices once you eat out, particularly if the restaurant does a good job of promoting their whole menu as wholesome. However, it’s very effectively doable to construct a wholesome meal from the Chipotle menu by choosing balanced bases, lean proteins, and nutrient-rich toppings. At the similar time, it’s price being conscious of portion sizes—in addition to being conscious of a few less-than-nutritious choices that could be price having fun with once in a while, however maybe not for every Chipotle order.

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