Your Personal Meal Planning Assistant
January 25, 2021 / Emily Polson

Best Things to Order at Chipotle

Four-tacos-with-pico-de-gallo-lettuce-beans-meat-and-cheese-lined-up-leaning-on-each-other-on-a-table

When you make your own meals, it’s easy to know exactly what’s going into your body. But when you go out to eat, where do you start? Even though most restaurants now list calorie counts on their menus, not all calories are created equal. Carbohydrate content, sugar, sodium, and fat can vary widely from dish to dish, sometimes in surprising ways. However, this shouldn’t stop you from being able to grab a quick meal out.

Chipotle is one fast-casual restaurant that only uses fresh ingredients and avoids anything artificial. To help guide you when you go out, we’ve researched the best things to get at Chipotle, as well as the worst, plus what to order if you’re paleo, keto, vegan, or vegetarian.

Best and Worst Things to Order at Chipotle

The average order at Chipotle contains over 1,000 calories, as well as a full day’s worth of sodium, and 75% of your daily intake of saturated fat. The unlimited add-ins are a big culprit when it comes to unhealthy Chipotle orders, but another frequent offender is the tortilla itself. Check out the best and worst ways to get your burrito fix.

Worst: Fully-Loaded Carnitas Burrito

If you fill your carnitas burrito with white rice, black beans, fajita vegetables, roasted chili-corn salsa, sour cream, romaine lettuce, and guacamole, that comes out to 1,315 calories, 144 g carbs, 59 g fat, and a full day’s worth of sodium. Not all add-ins are created equal: carnitas are the highest calorie meat on the menu, and the roasted chili-corn salsa packs the most sodium among the salsas.

Best: Chicken and Black Bean Burrito Bowl

The best way to cut the carbs is to ditch the tortilla and enjoy a burrito bowl instead. Chicken (and steak) are the healthiest options for meat, and black beans pack in extra protein and fiber. Opt for brown rice instead of white, then layer on romaine lettuce and fajita vegetables. Top it off with the tomatillo green chili salsa, which has the least sodium and calories per serving among the salsas. All of this adds up to just 560 calories, 14.5 g fat, 1120 mg sodium, and 68 g carbs – wrap it all in a tortilla, however, and you’d be up to 118 g carbs.

How to Order a Healthy Meal at Chipotle

Aerial-view-of-a-Chipotle-salad-bowl-next-to-a-brown-bag-full-of-chips-on-a-table

Because you are building your own meal at Chipotle, it’s important to select foods that contain the greatest nutritional value.

Skip the tortilla and order the salad bowl

Rather than wrapping your meal in a tortilla that fills you with empty calories and carbs, forget the tortilla and focus on incorporating brown rice and black beans. Brown rice provides fiber while black beans contribute fiber and protein. Together, rice and black beans have been found to help prevent blood sugar spikes.

Select chicken or steak as your protein

As for animal proteins, as previously mentioned, Chipotle’s chicken and steak provide the most protein with the least sodium, so choose either one if you decide to order your meal with meat.

Opt-in for vegetables rather than queso blanco or sour cream

When you top off your order, skip the queso blanco that contains 6 g saturated fat and 120 calories per serving and stick with fresh vegetables like the fajita vegetables, romaine lettuce, or supergreens lettuce blend. All these vegetable options provide desirable nutrients and fiber at minimal calories.

Choose the tomatillo salsas rather than the chili-corn salsa

While you wouldn’t be enjoying a meal from a Mexican grill unless it was topped with salsa, keep in mind that not all salsas result in the same nutritional value. The roasted chili-corn salsa has four times as many carbs as the tomatillo green chili salsa, and the tomatillo red chili salsa has 240 mg more sodium than its green counterpart.

Include a healthy serving of guacamole

Although guacamole comes at an additional cost, if you’re feeling in the mood to treat yourself, it is loaded with healthy fat and almost 20 vitamins and minerals. And while it might go without saying, skip the chips. It’s hard to believe, but one serving of tortilla chips has 540 calories, 25 g fat, 73 g carbohydrates, and 390 mg sodium.

How Chipotle Can Cater to Different Diets

Aerial view of a burrito bowl from Chipotle with chicken, tomatoes, lettuce, black beans, and cilantro.

If you’re following a specific diet, you may be even more hesitant to try and dine out. Rest assured that there are ways to order at Chipotle that provide you with a meal in alignment with your dietary goals or restrictions. Let’s go over the best things to get at Chipotle if you’re paleo, keto, vegan, or vegetarian.

Best Thing to Order at Chipotle if You’re Paleo

The burrito bowls are the best things to get at Chipotle if you’re following a Paleo diet meal plan. While many people will opt for rice and beans, to create a Paleo bowl you’ll want your base to be made up of veggies. Choose from fajita veggies, romaine lettuce, or both!

Your meat options vary depending on how strictly you follow the Paleo diet. Chipotle cooks their chicken in sunflower oil while they cook the barbacoa in rice bran oil, so choosing barbacoa will enable you to adhere to a true Paleo diet.

Next, you’ll want to add fajita vegetables, guacamole, and fresh tomatillo green chili salsa. This bowl adds up to a modest 440 calories and includes 27 g protein, only 20 g carbohydrates, 29 g fat, and 1310 mg sodium.

Best Thing to Order at Chipotle if You’re Keto

If you’re following the keto diet, salads are the best things to get at Chipotle. Chipotle offers many low-carb options ensuring you won’t feel limited. First, you’ll want to start with the supergreens lettuce blend. For your protein choice, choose from chicken or steak as both proteins have 0 grams of net carbs.

To maintain a keto-friendly meal, you’ll need to skip the beans and rice and move straight to the veggies and toppings. Add fajita vegetables, tomatillo green chili salsa, sour cream, cheese, lettuce, and guacamole. Not only will this salad satisfy your appetite, but it will also satisfy your keto meal planner requirements. With steak, this tasty salad has 650 calories, 33 g protein, 24 g carbs, 45 g fat, and 1,345 mg sodium.

Best Thing to Order at Chipotle if You’re Vegan

When it comes to going vegan at Chipotle, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how many vegan-friendly items Chipotle offers. Although burritos, tacos, bowls, and salads are all capable of being made vegan, the best things to get at Chipotle if you’re sticking to a healthy vegan meal plan are the burrito bowls. You've got two plant-based option to choose from: a meatless organic tofu option called Sofritos, as well as the fajita vegetables.

Go with brown rice instead of white to provide fiber, and order black beans to add protein. Then order romaine lettuce, and add fresh tomatillo green chili salsa for flavor. If healthy fats and a slightly higher price aren’t concerns for you, ask for guacamole. This bowl will provide you with 610 calories, 15 g protein, 76 carbohydrates, 29.5 g fat, and 1,180 mg sodium.

Best Thing to Order at Chipotle if You’re Vegetarian

Chipotle is also vegetarian-friendly and their dishes are equally delicious without animal proteins. The best things to get at Chipotle if you’re a vegetarian are the salads.

Start with the new Supergreens lettuce blend for extra nutrients and add cilantro-lime brown rice and black beans for fiber and protein. Then, add fajita vegetables, guacamole, and tomatillo green-chili salsa to round out the flavors. This salad provides sustenance, fully complements a vegetarian meal plan, and delivers 620 calories with 16 g of protein, 78 g of carbohydrates, 29.5 g fat, and 1,195 mg sodium.

The Takeaway

No matter what diet you may be on, there’s no need to feel like you have to prepare every meal at home. You can enjoy the convenience of dining out while adhering to your diet by ordering items that offer the nutritional values you need to maintain your health and wellness plan.

Let PlateJoy help you stay committed to your healthy lifestyle. Our custom meal plans, smart grocery lists, and personalized recipes make it easier for you to reach your wellness goals and feel your best.

Emily Polson
Writer

Emily is a writer, reader, and traveler from Iowa who has visited twenty-one countries and lived in three. Her first publication was an article in Muse magazine about her summer job as a corn detasseler. She’s a Slytherin, an amateur ukulele player, and a Peter Pan enthusiast. You can follow Emily on Twitter @emilycpolson.

divider

Don't miss more tips on how to live healthier.
Get new posts direct to your inbox!