We broke down the menu to show you healthier Chipotle options, from burritos to bowls. Here's how to save up to 900 calories on your next visit to Chipotle.
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Chipotle is one of the healthier fast-food joints: they use fresh ingredients with no processed or artificial additives. That's pretty impressive for a restaurant chain of their size. But even though Chipotle's ingredients are better than most, you can still rack up the calories on a typical order. We dove deeper into their menu to break down how to order—from start to finish (and save you up to 900 calories). Plus, get six dietitian-approved orders, including bowls, tacos and salads.

Using Chipotle's Nutrition Calculator, we found that a Chipotle burrito can easily weigh in at over a thousand calories. For example, if you ordered a burrito with carnitas, brown rice, pinto beans, fresh tomato salsa, cheese and guacamole, you'd be consuming about 1,235 calories. Depending on your needs, that could be almost a day's worth of calories in just one burrito. At EatingWell, we love Chipotle as much as the next person. But even the best-intentioned customer can go overboard unintentionally if they're not careful about their choice of ingredients.

That said, the nutrition calculator can actually be a helpful tool when trying to create a healthy meal. You'll have more information to make the best order for you. Plus, the option to personalize your meal (including options to add extra or go light) means no more surprises. Here's our guide to ordering healthier meals at Chipotle (that's still darn tasty). Plus, our six combinations of our favorite meals will take the guesswork out of what to order.

1. Choose a bowl or salad

Opt for the bowl or salad, as a large flour tortilla alone contains 320 calories and 600 mg of sodium. The corn and flour taco shells aren't much different, coming in at 70 and 80 calories, respectively, just for the shell. If you're trying to be mindful about your calorie intake, we'd suggest saving them for the good stuff on the inside rather than a wrap or shell.

2. Pick your favorite protein

There isn't a huge range of calories in this category—the lowest are steak and sofritas (both with 150 calories) and the highest is carnitas (210 calories). We say go ahead and order your favorite; however, keep an eye on the sodium content, which is pretty high in these ingredients. For example, the sofritas has 560 mg per serving, which is slightly over one-fifth of your daily recommended intake of sodium.

3. Eat your beans

Beans provide a substantial 8 grams of plant-based protein to your order. Black and pinto beans, both 130 calories, are virtually nutritional equals, so choose your preferred taste here.

4. Choose your rice

The brown rice contains less sodium and more fiber than the white rice. If you did choose the burrito or tacos, you might want to skip the rice (210 calories) altogether since you're getting your grains in your shell. That said, white rice can also be a healthy choice if that's what you prefer. It might not have as much fiber as brown rice, but you could add double fajita vegetables to get more fiber that way. You can also skip the rice entirely if you're choosing an entree that already has a grain like a taco or burrito. Just think of your meal as a whole and how it fits into your day.

Best and Worst Toppings

The Best Toppings for a Healthy Salad or Bowl

All nutrition information about Chipotle's ingredients was found on their Nutrition Calculator. Here are the toppings to go for and the ones to try to limit.

Say, "Yes please!", to these healthier topping options.

Fajita Vegetables:

Double up on the fajita vegetables, sautéed peppers and onions. They're low in calories—just 20 per serving—and high in fiber, plus vitamins and minerals (yay, veggies!).

Lettuce:

Romaine lettuce adds only 5 calories while providing lots of freshness and crunch.

Guacamole:

When it comes to the guacamole, we think it's worth the splurge (we know guac is extra!). Avocados are nutrient-dense and filled with heart-healthy fats and fiber (three times as much as the brown rice) that help make your bowl satisfying. While the guacamole does deliver 230 calories, if you love guac, we still think it's worth the extra $$$ and calories for the nutrition and flavor boost.

Tomatillo Green Chili Salsa:

Lowest in sodium of all the salsas (at 260 mg), it still packs in plenty of flavors, so you won't be missing out on any of that.

Pinto or Black Beans:

Clocking in at 130 calories per serving and with 7 to 8 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein, consider this your insurance policy against getting hungry later.

Toppings to Choose Sparingly

Say, "Just a little!", choose one or two, or skip these delicious but slightly less nutritious topping options.

Sour Cream, Queso, Cheese

The sour cream (110 calories), queso (120 calories), and shredded cheese (110 calories) can quickly cause your total calorie count to rocket, not to mention the saturated fat count. If you really can't go without something creamy or cheesy, choose just one. Hot tip: you can always ask for a half-order of these toppings.

High-Sodium Salsas:

Chipotle offers four different salsas: fresh tomato, roasted chili-corn, tomatillo-green chili, and tomatillo-red chili. Fresh tomato is light in calories (25 per serving), but it is packed with 550 mg of sodium per serving! The roasted chili-corn salsa contributes 80 calories and 330 mg of sodium, so we recommend choosing either of the tomatillos. We love the green chili version (15 calories and 260 mg sodium), which packs enough spice to boost the flavor and maybe even your metabolism (capsaicin, a compound in hot chile peppers, can rev your metabolism).

Cilantro-Lime Brown Rice:

A regular-sized scoop of cilantro-lime brown rice provides 210 calories, which is half the calories of a typical meal. Asking for a "light" serving leaves more room for toppings

Salad Dressing:

Adding the vinaigrette slips an extra 220 calories and 850 mg of sodium. If you've loaded on the toppings, give your salad or bowl a quick toss to mix up the ingredients, and it shouldn't need any extra dressing. If you're hankering for dressing, ask for it on the side and use it sparingly.

Chips:

An order of the two-serving chips contains 540 calories, which could end up doubling the calories of your entire meal. It doesn't mean you need to skip the chips every time—Share with a friend or deliberately dish out just a few chips to enjoy along with your meal.

Healthier Orders We Love

Here are some combos you can feel good about ordering, plus how they compare to that monster burrito. While we've worked to trim the calories, the sodium on all these orders is a little high, which is typical for restaurant food. Compare to the "High-Calorie Burrito" of 1,235 calories, 51 grams of protein and 2,560 mg of sodium, we created: a burrito with carnitas, brown rice, pinto beans, fresh tomato salsa, cheese and guacamole.

The Lighter Bite:

If you're really trying to reduce your calorie intake, order a salad with steak, black beans, fajita vegetables and tomatillo-green chili salsa (and no dressing).

  • Calories: 330 kcal
  • Protein: 31 g
  • Sodium: 965mg

The Protein Powerhouse:

Extra-hungry after a hard workout and need some extra protein? This combination has got you covered: a bowl with chicken, brown rice, pinto beans, shredded cheese, and tomatillo-red chili salsa.

  • Calories: 660 kcal
  • Protein: 50 g
  • Sodium: 1,400mg

The Vegan:

Do you follow a vegan diet? Order this: a bowl with sofritas, brown rice, pinto beans, fajita vegetables, roasted chili-corn salsa and guacamole.

  • Calories: 820 kcal
  • Protein: 26 g
  • Sodium: 1,810mg

If you find yourself ordering with your eyes, unable to resist piling on a spoonful of everything (it happens to the best of us), order ahead of time with their app. You can choose a healthier meal before you're tempted by the options and skip the line.

A Balanced Bowl:

Customize your burrito bowl with steak, pinto beans, lettuce, tomatillo green chili salsa and go light on the cilantro-lime brown rice. Steak is one of the lower-calorie meats on the menu. Pair it with fiber-rich brown rice (a smaller helping is still plenty) and beans, and give it a kick of heat with salsa.

  • Calories: 405 kcal
  • Protein: 31 g
  • Carbs: 45 g
  • Fiber: 11 g
  • Sodium: 895 mg

Sizzlin' Salad:

Craving for salads? Fill your plate with a bed of greens, add chicken and black beans, go light on the roasted chili-corn salsa and cheese and top it off with chipotle honey vinaigrette. The flavorful corn salsa adds a pop of color and various textures to this satisfying salad.

  • Calories: 640 kcal
  • Protein: 47 g
  • Carbs: 52 g
  • Fiber: 13 g
  • Sodium: 1,645 mg

Taco Time:

Order two crispy corn tacos with pinto beans, guacamole, fajita vegetables, lettuce and light on the sour cream. A crunchy shell complements the creamy guac-and bean filling while shaving off more than 300 milligrams of sodium and 20 calories compared to soft tacos. Zesty fajita veggies also add color and flavor.

  • Calories: 580 kcal
  • Protein: 14 g
  • Carbs: 56 g
  • Fiber: 18 g
  • Sodium: 745 mg