Over the past decade, we’ve seen the Mexican fast food industry grow. Restaurants like Chipotle, Qdoba, Moe’s, and other similar establishments are now sprinkled across the United States. Many tout the freshness of their ingredients and they may not have a drive-thru, but that doesn't automatically make them a better option than McDonalds or Taco Bell.
The major issue with Chipotle, Qdoba, and the like is that their featured menu item is the football-size burrito. Most other items on their menus also come in over-sized portions. You may be eating fresher meats and vegetables, and even organic cheese, but you still getting a large amount of food that may actually have more calories than a Big Mac or a Whopper.
In general, Chipotle, Qdoba and other restaurants like this are not terrible options if you are in a pinch and need to grab dinner on the run. But, you should make a serious effort to practice portion control. We suggest going in with the plan to either split your meal with a friend, or save half for lunch the next day.
So What's In a Chipotle Burrito?
We did a nutrition analysis of a Chipotle burrito with chicken, rice, black beans, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, and fresh tomato salsa so you could see what you get when you eat the entire burrito on your own:
Carbohydrate: 97 g
Fiber: 13 g
Sugars: 8 g
Fat: 38 g
Saturated Fat: 18 g
Cholesterol: 185 g
Sodium: 2120 mg
Protein: 59 g
This is a much more reasonable meal if you were to split it in half with another person. Even if you were to do that, sodium and saturated fat are still quite high. Here are some ways you can build an even healthier burrito that fits into your meal plan:
by Olga V. Fuste, MS, RD, CD
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