How to Eat Healthy at Chipotle

I’ve been a huge fan of Chipotle since the 90’s.  Most people don’t know that it started in my home state of Minnesota, and once they proved the model there, it expanded nationally, and the rest is history. With well over 20 years of experience eating Chipotle, I’ll share with you how to eat healthy at Chipotle.

Eating Healthy at Chipotle

I’m a huge fan of authentic Mexican food, and obviously Chipotle is about as authentic as Taco Bell, but it falls into the category of “American-modified and marketed Mexican food”, so there’s that.

In fact, Mexican cuisine is my go-to lunch if given a choice.  Growing up in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis / St. Paul, I found plenty of great Mexican restaurants to choose from.  While at that age I wasn’t looking for Mexican food low in calories, I learned about all the options available and fell in love with many dishes.  Enchiladas divorciadas get me every time!

As a college student I fell in love Chipotle burritos, because if you didn’t opt for any guacamole, it was a very affordable meal for a college student.  Playing college soccer and not having to worry about what I put into my body for the most part meant I didn’t try eating healthy at Chipotle, but a few years later as I started working and become less active, I had to figure out how to eat healthy at Chipotle.  So without further ado, here are my findings.

How to Order Healthy at Chipotle

According to Eating Well, you can save up to 900 calories on your order by making some very subtle changes.

What I like about this restaurant is that they always serve fresh ingredients and they are a true farm to table experience.  This means you won’t ever have to worry about having processed beans or additives in your foods, which is a great start right off the bat, especially given the size of their chain.  However, going farm to table doesn’t meant you won’t have to worry about calories.

I’m leaning a lot on the nutrition calculator offered by Chipotle for information, by the way.  I also cross-checked my facts and cite my sources below to prove that I took a deep dive here on the research.

As a basis for starting a conversation about healthy eating at Chipotle, a burrito can normally be about a day’s worth of your calorie intake.  Just.  One.  Burrito!

That’s assuming you load it with rice, carnitas, pinto beans, salsa, guacamole, and cheese.  That’s well over 1,000 calories, and can be up to almost 1,300.  (I provide ranges because not every servicing size is equal and some locations are more generous with portions.)
So, with that in mind, here are modifications you can make to your order at Chipotle in an attempt to eat healthier.  

#1:  Order a Bowl 

Not only are tortillas loaded with sodium, which is a big no-no for me as a kidney patient, but they have 320 calories!  That’s a massive amount of calories that are coming in the form of refined carbs!  Go with a bowl and avoid the unhealthy salt and save yourself some calories.

#2:  Choose Your Protein Wisely

There was a time I tried to go plant-based, and while I didn’t find it too difficult, it was very difficult for me at Chipotle because the “Sofritas” are loaded with sodium.  What’s the lesser of two evils?  For me, I’ll take chicken over a sodium-laced vegan option any day.  Other than that, there is only about a 60 calorie variance in the other proteins offered, and they are all listed on the menu when you visit a Chipotle location, but for me the big takeaway here is that the Sofritas Tofu option doesn’t have a lot less calories and has a ton of sodium.

#3:  Skip the Sour Cream and Queso

These tend to be my favorite toppings to any bowl, but they are loaded with saturated fats.  Anything as tasty as these two dairy products will usually have a similar fat content, but instead choose to add your own hot sauce or healthy flavor enhancer if you want more taste.

#4:  Go Easy on the Cilantro-Lime Rice

There are over 200 calories in a serving of the brown cilantro-lime rice, so ask them for a smaller portion.  It’s easy to unknowingly add in calories when you have so many options, so you have to pick and choose your battles.

#5:  Avoid Salad Dressing

This can be said for salads anywhere, not just when trying to eat salads in a healthy way at Chipotle.  The dressing is loaded with fat!

Healthy Ordering Habits at Chipotle

In order to develop a ritual of making health-conscious orders at Chipotle restaurants, try to incorporate the following:

#1:  Add the Fajita Vegetables

There’s only roughly 20 calories in these vegetables.  Compare this to what you’d consume with sour cream, queso, or the burrito, and you are coming out with way less calories consumed!

#2:  Load Your Bowl With Lettuce

Low in calories and packed with nutrition, lettuce is never a bad option.

Those are some easy implementations that you can incorporate into your food orders when you eat at Chipotle.  If you liked this article, make sure to check out my other articles about dieting at McDonalds,or losing weight on a Subway diet.

I try to incorporate what I’ve learned in my own weight loss journey into daily habits, all which are shared right here for everyone to see and hopefully use to their benefit.

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