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)

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  2. Snopy says:

    I order the chicken burrito and only eat half of it and save the other for a meal next day. So that cuts the portion in half. Beside I am still full for that day to eat anything else., that thing is "HUGE" and delicious. YUM YUM!!

  3. Baju bayi says:

    Wow, incredible blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is fantastic, let alone the content!. Thanks For Your article about Order This, Not That: Chipotle | Healthy Eats – Food Network Healthy Living Blog .

  4. murph says:

    I eat at Chipotle every day for lunch. I walk 25 minutes to Chipotle… Order a salad, black beans, pico, green chile salsa, and chicken (beef once a week). I never get the guac. Maybe I'll try substituting guac for chicken. Oh yeah, I also get the fajita veggies. So, it's a nice and healthy meal.. not overboard on calories.. lots of fiber and protein.. and some healthy fats. You might want to watch the sodium. However, if you eat relatively low sodium the rest of the day, Chipotle will by no means push you over the edge if you order responsibly.

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  10. Katie Swisher says:

    I normally get the burrito bowls when I got to Chipotle. It's all the fillings from the burrito, placed into a bowl instead. It's so delicious and could definitely be a good option for you!

  11. junebug says:

    This is what I do to save on Calories also. I order two soft tacos…with only Chicken & Salsas, no sour cream or cheese, and topped with some lettuce. Since the taco shells are fairly small, the preparers don't load them up with oversized portions….and two soft tacos with the above is approx. 380 calories.

  12. Keith says:

    Why do you think "calorie-packed" is unhealthy? If you live a sedentary lifestyle then any kind of high calorie diet is going to harm you. But if you have a very active lifestyle then calorie-packed is quite healthy. In that case, the key is to simply eat healthy calorie packed foods that provide nutrients and fiber rather than trans fats and refined carbohydrates. Chipotle fits the bill quite nicely.

  13. Keith says:

    The only bad fat is trans fat. The notion that saturated fat is unhealthy is a long-debunked myth; research it yourself. Also, if eating one burrito makes you gain weight then I'd encourage you to adopt a more active lifestyle. The only way someone can gain weight is if they ingest more calories then they expend. With an active lifestyle one will certainly expend more calories during the day.

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