How to Order Healthy at Chipotle
We broke down the menu to show you healthy Chipotle options, from burritos to bowls. Here's how to save up to 900 calories and make your Chipotle run healthy.
Chipotle is one of the healthier fast-food joints: they only 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.
By 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 your best friend 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 the healthiest meal at Chipotle (that's still darn tasty), plus 6 of our favorite meal combinations that will take the guesswork out of what to order.
Related: Almost Chipotle's Guacamole (a copycat recipe!)
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 better, coming in at 200 and 250 calories, respectively, just for the shell. Don't waste your calories here; save 'em for the good stuff on the inside.
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.
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 brown 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.
Make it at Home: Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowl
Best & Worst Toppings
Load Up on These
Say, "Yes please!", to these healthy topping options.
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!).
Romaine lettuce adds only 5 calories while providing lots of freshness and crunch.
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 this it's work 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 flavor, so you won't be missing out on any of that.
Pinto or Black Beans:
Clocking in at 130 calories per serving and with 8 to 9 grams each of fiber and protein, consider this your insurance policy against getting hungry later.
Choose These Sparingly
Say, "Just a little!", choose one or two, or skip these delicious but slightly less-healthy topping options.
Sour Cream, Queso, Cheese
The sour cream (110 calories), queso (120 calories), and shredded Monterey Jack 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.
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 packs in the sodium—550 mg per serving! The 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 provides half the calories of a single meal (210 calories). Asking for a "light" serving leaves more room for toppings
The vinaigrette slips in 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.
A single serving 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 with your meal.
Healthy 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, know that the sodium on all these orders is a little high, which is typical for restaurant food. Compare the following to the "Calorie-Bomb Burrito" we created: a burrito with carnitas, brown rice, pinto beans, fresh tomato salsa, cheese and guacamole. That burrito weighs in at 1,235 calories, 51 grams of protein, and 2,560 mg of sodium.
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).
Protein: 31 g
Sodium: 955 mg
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.
Protein: 50 g
Sodium: 1,400 mg
Do you follow a vegan diet? Order this: a bowl with sofritas, brown rice, pinto beans, fajita vegetables, roasted chili-corn salsa and guacamole.
Protein: 26 g
Sodium: 1,810 mg
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 healthy meal before you're tempted by the options and skip the line.
A Better Bowl:
Burrito bowl with steak, pinto beans, lettuce, tomatillo green chili salsa and light on the cilantro-lime brown rice. Steak is one of the lower-calories 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.
Protein: 31 g
Carbs: 45 g
Fiber: 11 g
Sodium: 895 mg
Salad with chicken, black beans, light on the roasted chili-corn salsa and cheese, with chipotle honey vinaigrette. Starting with a bed of greens fills your plate with vegetables. The Flavorful corn salsa adds a pop of color and various textures to this satisfying salad.
Protein: 47 g
Carbs: 53 g
Fiber: 12 g
Sodium: 1,650 mg
Two crispy corn tacos with pinto beans, guacamole, fajita vegetables, lettuce and light on the sour cream. A crunchy shell compliments the creamy guac-and0bean filling while shaving off more than 300 milligrams of sodium and 30 calories compared to soft tacos. Zesty fajita veggies add color and flavor.
Protein: 10 g
Carbs: 43 g
Fiber: 13 g
Sodium: 497 mg
Related: Healthy Taco Recipes