Order This, Not That: Chipotle

by in Dining Out, April 10, 2009

This quick-service joint has been around for years, but Dana and I only recently tested it out. We’d heard they use free-range animal meat and fresher ingredients. We didn’t realize those would come in gigantic portions! That said, here are our tips for eating healthier (and greener) at Chipotle.

How can fast food be eco-friendly?
Chipotle strives to serve “Food with Integrity,” meaning better tasting, from better sources and better for the environment and the animals. Their chains offer naturally raised pork, chicken and beef, and about 25% of their pinto and black beans are organic. Chipotle recently began purchasing some of their produce from local farms, too (something I like to see!).

Nutrition info?
Chipotle’s website has ingredient lists and yummy pictures all over it, but I had a tough time finding the nutritional details. Finally, I Googled “Chipotle + Nutrition Info” and found this pdf hiding in their FAQs.

Order this
For any first timers, the menu can be a bit overwhelming because you create your own burrito, salad, fajita or taco. This is easy temptation to go overboard. For the base, go for a flour tortilla (taco) with 90 calories — as opposed to the burrito with 290 calories — or order your meal to split with a friend (Dana and I should have split a burrito, not had two).

Next, choose your fillings, but don’t go crazy! Stick to two or three healthy toppings. Start by choosing one protein such beef, pork or chicken. The pinto beans are flavored with bacon (so vegetarians and sodium-watchers, be mindful!); choose the black beans instead. Next, go for the lettuce, tomatillo green or red chili salsa or a fresh tomato salsa — they range from 15 to 40 calories a serving.

Not that
Just for kicks, I added up a burrito with pinto beans, chicken, red tomatillo salsa, sour cream and guacamole — here are the results: 910 calories and 40.5 grams fat. It’s no wonder those nutrition facts aren’t easily accessible!

Cheese, guacamole and sour cream are classic add-ons, but they’re also high calorie and high fat. If you’re splitting your meal, choose one of these toppings and ask them to go easy. Otherwise, skip it. By removing the sour cream and guac in the burrito above, I save 270 calories and 23 grams of fat.

For more information, check out Chipotle’s menu and their nutrition info.

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Comments (34)

  1. Elizabeth says:

    I am on the weightwatchers plan and I found a website that calculated the nutrients for you with all the combined ingredients that you chose, and I was wondering if it is reliable? http://www.chipotlefan.com/index.php?id=nutrition_calculator

  2. Anna says:

    I like Chipotle’s carnitas. I get the bowl instead of a tortilla at all.

    Carnitas- 190 calories
    Black Beans- 120 calories
    Fajita vegetables- 20 calories.

    In all, it is 330 calories…with enough food to keep you more then satisfied for quite a while.

  3. Toby Amidor says:

    Hi Elizabeth,
    Thanks for the helpful link–I just compared your link to Chipotle’s published nutrition facts and seems that they jive. It’s an easy way to add up your calories without whipping out your calculator!

  4. Sarah says:

    These are great tips. As far as asking Chipotle to go easy on the guac, that seems to be a tall order for ALL their franchises. In every Chipotle I’ve been to in the US, asking them to “go light on the guac” leaves you with more than a 1/4 cup of the green stuff on whatever it is you ordered. I usually get a vegi burrito, so the guac comes at no additional charge. BUT, I always ask them to put it on the side and then I share it with my friends who would have been charged an extra $1 to include it on their carnivorous versions. A side amount of guac is perfect to split between 2 or 3 friends.

  5. Megan says:

    I always ask them to put on 1/2 the amount of rice and black beans. This leaves room for more vegetables. I like the tacos with salsa on the side so they don’t get soggy; this way I can eat one and take the other two home for another meal.

  6. ann poole says:

    I am diabetic and i believe the wrap really sends my sugar soaring.
    Most of the time i scrape the filling out and just eat it.
    I love mexican food but have to pass it up most of the time.
    Any suggestions for me?

  7. Lily says:

    Why would you skip the quac, it has avacado in it, a healthy fat. Who cares about the calories, they're good for you! skip the sour cream, not the quac.

    • Guest says:

      Exactly! Skip the guac? That's dumb. It's good for you, just EAT THE CRAP. Replace sour cream with guac, you'll never go back.

  8. Katie says:

    If you cut out all the high calorie, high fat and high sodium foods at Chipotle, you’re left with nothing! nothing but an empty stomach!

  9. Anna says:

    Because you can still weigh 400 pounds eating nothing but “good fats” and “healthy foods”.

  10. Billy says:

    foooo shooooooo

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