3 Healthy Meal Choices at Chipotle Mexican Grill – Mind Over MunchRandall Smitham July 21, 2019 100 Comments
The most common order at Chipotle, according to the internet (and, coincidentally, my favorite meal, too):
a burrito bowl with rice, beans, meat of choice,
fajita veggies, tomato salsa, cheese
sour cream, lettuce, guac, and a side of chips.
That’s more calories than ELEVEN cinnamon rolls!
Hey munchers! A lot of you have requested another educational breakdown video, since it has been awhile,
so today I’m sharing 3 healthy meal options at Chipotle, as well as the 3
menu items that are possibly doing the most damage! Before I get started, I wanted to
just put a quick disclaimer up on the screen…
…this way the people who want to comment negatively and attack me for the objective
information I’m about to provide can come
back, read that, and recognize that I’m
not here to tell them what to do, I’m just
offering guidance to help people make informed
decisions. This is a no-judgment zone, and
you need to do what’s right for you!
I will be using Chipotle’s online nutrition
calculator to help guide us through these
3 meals, and I will link that in the description box below for you to access.
First up: BURRITO BOWL
So steak is lower in calories and fat than chicken – it is not specified if the chicken is breast
or not, so the fat could be coming from it
being white AND dark meat, or it could be
prepared with extra oil and fat. For the most
part, the chicken, steak and barbacoa are
very close macro-wise, so choose what you
like, but don’t choose chicken thinking
it’s “healthier,” lower in fat, or lower
Brown rice is generally a “healthier”
choice if it’s long grain – it should be
a tad higher in fiber and protein, slightly
lower in carbs, and, one interesting thing
about Chipotle specifically, is it’s also
lower in sodium, which is very important, and
we will touch on more thoroughly in a minute.
Black and pinto beans are not too different,
and are both healthy choices. They do contain
sodium, but choose whichever you prefer, or neither.
If you want both, consider half and half, rather than doubling up.
Fajita vegetables we would think should add fiber, but they don’t really add as much as I’d like.
They are very low in fat and calories and
will add volume and nutrition to my meal,
so I’m adding them.
For toppings, I’m going with the tomatillo
green-chili salsa. It’s the lowest in sodium,
which is really starting to add up for my
meal, it’s low in calories, and has zero fat.
I love the fresh tomato salsa, but the sodium is over DOUBLE of the tomatillo green,
and the corn salsa is very tasty, but it adds an additional 16 grams of carbs to my meal.
Of course, carbs are wonderful fuel, but many people may not need or prefer
80 grams plus of carbs in one meal,
so it’s worth considering, of course –
depending on the person and YOUR lifestyle.
When it comes to our fattier elements like
sour cream, cheese, and guacamole,
we’ve got to decide when those calories and fat are worth it. The guac is definitely the
most nutritious choice – and Chipotle’s guac is quite clean, containing only avocados,
lime juice and spices – but still, it’s a lot
of fat in one serving, and the servings are
quite large. For this meal, I’m skipping
it and depending on that salsa for flavor instead
I’ll also add romaine lettuce, because,
Extras – I told you I was going to share
3 items to NOT order at Chipotle,
so here is number 1:
CHIPS & GUAC!
Trust me, I know, the chips and guac are the best thing that they have –
thumbs up if you agree – BUT look
at the stats! 800 calories, 49 grams of fat
7 of which are saturated, and 81 grams of carbs! JUST in chips and guac, which are your SIDE dish!?
Yes, we discussed the cleanliness of the nutritious guacamole, but, you guys, we have to be real
with ourselves here about our overall consumption.
Truth be told, we’d be better off adding
some of that guac to our meal, and skipping
Total calories for this first meal: 515
Macros: 13 grams of fat, 67 grams of carbs, 32 grams of protein.
We’ve got a fairly balanced meal that isn’t
too high in saturated fat and provides what
we should be primarily concerned with: FUEL!
Just notice how the stats change if I were
to add that 4 ounce serving of guac, even if
it is healthy unsaturated fats, OR if we had
those chips and guac!
The real thing we need to discuss with this
This meal contains 1250 milligrams of sodium,
if you DON’T get the chips and guac.
The AHA recommends no MORE than 2300 milligrams of sodium a day,
and an ideal limit of 1500 milligrams for most adults.
So that ONE meal is almost as much the “ideal limit” for your ENTIRE day.
Granted, sodium is going to be high almost
no matter what when you go out to eat! Chipotle just lets us actually SEE that when we calculate
it out, unlike restaurants that don’t offer
While it is a high number, it’s important
to remember that, if we aren’t eating Chipotle
every day and are enjoying it “in moderation,”
then our bodies can handle the occasional
extra intake of sodium, IF we are healthy
otherwise when it comes to our diets, our
exercise, and drinking large amounts of water.
If we are eating Chipotle regularly and are not exercising and not watching what we eat and
not drinking water, then yes, we want to be more considerate of that sodium. And, of course,
if you have any other pre-existing health
conditions that require you to monitor your
Another factor to consider: if this burrito
bowl can last you two meals instead of one,
you’ve cut all of those numbers in half,
making it much more nutritionally manageable.
Next up: A SALAD!
This one will go more quickly now that we’ve gone through the menu once.
Obviously, we need lettuce for our salad.
Let’s really change things up here and OMIT
the meat completely!
I know to some some Chipotle fans this sounds like a sin,
but, honestly, a rice and bean salad is a delicious
and nutritious way to keep calories down while still feeling satisfied.
We’ll keep brown rice, as we did previously.
I’ll go with black beans this time to switch
And, of course, I’ll add those fajita veggies
for bulk. AND, since I didn’t get the meat
this round, I’m going to double up on those
veggies to make sure I’m not left hungry.
Now, you can’t do the doubling up calculation on the Chipotle website, BUT with some manual
calculating and editing magic…
there we go!
We haven’t used the red tomatillo salsa
yet, which is high in sodium, but low in calories
and has no fat – there is NO reason for
a salsa to have fat!
I could skip the fatty element again, but
this one is still a bit low in calories and
I might still get hungry, so I’m going to add
But, quick tip!
You can ask for a half portion of guac easy peasy!
Plus, 4 ounces of guac is quite a large serving anyway.
Cue editing magic now…
Now this is a salad, so we’ve got to talk
about salad dressing. And it is time for
our second of 3 items of what NOT to order at Chipotle: the VINAIGRETTE!
Check it out – the vinaigrette at Chipotle
has pretty horrendous stats, because it is
a vinaigrette, which means it’s an oil base.
We don’t know what type of oil that means,
but regardless, 25 grams of fat and 270 calories for
2 ounces of dressing is a LOT.
This is a classic example of where the dressing can nutritionally RUIN a healthy salad choice.
Also, not to be forgotten: the fact that the
sodium here is higher than almost any other
item on the menu! AND there’s a whopping
12 grams of added sugar!
18 grams of carbs in a dressing?
I’d rather eat a slice of bread or an apple!
That is pretty much a tub of oil mixed
with sugar and salt. I’d go with any of those salsa options in place of the dressing
for the salad.
Total calories: 525
Macros: 18.5 grams of fat, 76 grams of carbohydrates, 15 grams of protein.
Macros if you had gotten that salad dressing – WOWZA!
And remember, that’s WITHOUT the meat!
And your sodium: 1483 milligrams
We’ve still got a good amount of protein,
even without the meat. That sodium is a bit
high, and if you’re wanting a meal that
will fill you up at Chipotle, chances are,
the sodium is a sacrifice you have to make.
Just remember to drink lots of water throughout the day and the next day to help flush out
your system, and try to find a balance with
your other meals on surrounding days. It could
be a good idea to get the salsa on the side
and just add a bit as needed.
If you’re finding this information helpful,
remember to subscribe to the channel and
give this video a thumbs up!
Time for the final meal example.
If you’re more of a hand-held Mexican cuisine person, how about the TACOS.
Now, you could choose regular tacos, but, if you think the portions at Chipotle are large,
you may consider a KIDS meal, which
offers 2 tacos instead of 3 and a small side
instead. And, fun tip: you don’t have to
be a kid to order them!
The differences in tortilla choices are amazing. You would think the crispy would be worse
because they’re fried, but
the fat in the crispy and flour tortillas are
the SAME, and the calories are actually
HIGHER in the flour.
The craziest part: that SODIUM!
And that is only for 2 taco shells, not 3.
When we add the soft corn tortillas to the mix, we hit gold.
Same calories as crispy, surprisingly, but
only 1 gram of fat instead of 5 for the 2 shells.
They are relatively low-sodium, but still
higher in fiber because it’s corn rather
than refined flour.
For meat, let’s switch it up this time and
go with barbacoa. We already to know the situation
with the protein from the first meal.
For tacos, I’m not sure I need both rice
AND beans, because one grain or starch is often
enough to satisfy since we already have
those taco shells. Plus, adding both can overfill
these tacos and make them tough to eat anyway. I’m going with the black beans, and I’ll keep
the veggies for bulk, too.
For salsa, it just wouldn’t be a classic
taco without the fresh tomato salsa for me.
It is high in sodium, but it’s the lowest in
calories and the rest of my ingredients are
lower in sodium than my previous meal to
try to offer SOME sort of balance.
You win some, you lose some.
For a fattier element, let’s go with guac,
because this meal is still not too high in
calories or fat, and the guac will help satisfy,
make the meal more filling, AND give me some
of those healthy unsaturated fats. Plus, the
kids portion of guac is a much more appropriate size,
even for adults!
And let’s keep the romaine lettuce again,
because it’s more like a fresh garnish anyway!
The kids meal also has a side option, so why not go with a mandarin orange or Valencia
orange, so you have a more fuel-filled choice than the chips? The answer is, of course,
the chips taste better, but I assume you’re
watching this because you want to make
a healthier choice.
Total calories: 490
Macros: 15.5 grams of fat, 61 grams of carbs, 21 grams of protein.
Sodium: 1075 milligrams
So this meal is the lowest in calories that
we’ve seen, but remember, calories don’t
define how “healthy” something is.
One reason this is perhaps a “better”
choice is it is lower in sodium, but those
corn tortillas possibly aren’t providing
as much “nutritious” fuel as the salad
or bowl. It’s a toss up, and when you’re
eating out, it’s always going to be finding
a balance and a bit of a give and take with
Something might have more calories, but it
might be lower in sodium or more fuel-filled.
You have to decide what’s worth it to you,
and the only way you can do that is by educating
yourself, so good job to you for making it through this video!
We still have one final “What NOT to eat”
item to discuss, and the winner is:
So, not surprising, the flour tortilla of the burrito is just absurd. 300 calories – wow.
10 grams of fat – why? 46 grams of carbs, which is a LOT for a single wrap. But REALLY what gets me,
you guessed it: it’s the sodium. Almost 700 milligrams of sodium in JUST the tortilla.
Even if we pick the chicken (which is the lowest in sodium), SKIP the rice, choose black beans
(which are lower in sodium), get veggies, tomato salsa, skip ALL fatty elements,
we STILL get 2000 milligrams of sodium in ONE burrito.
And who’s really getting a burrito that actually skips the rice, sour cream and cheese AND guac?
Add cheese and rice back, and you’re at 2500 milligrams – exceeding ANYONE’S daily recommendation,
not to mention 1000 calories. So just be careful and, more IMPORTANTLY, be aware.
Again, I’m not saying to never order the
burrito at Chipotle again, I’m saying when
you decide to treat yourself to it, KNOW what you’re getting into and ACKNOWLEDGE the
fact that it is a treat. And drink lots of
There is no “one healthy meal” at Chipotle,
it’s all about how YOU build it. I encourage
you all to get on the website and try out
their calculator to see where you can adjust
your order to make it more nutritionally favorable, and consider options we’ve discussed like
ordering toppings on the side or adding only portions of them.
Let me know what other restaurants you’d
like me to go through step-by-step like this with you!
Remember to subscribe for more content like this,
and give the video a thumbs up if you found the information useful
And, most importantly, remember that I am NEVER judging your choices. It’s your journey,
we all have our own battles, and we will all
get to wherever we’re going in our own time.
I love you, I will see you next week, and
remember, it’s all a matter of mind over munch!
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