Here's How To Stay Healthy At Chipotle According To Nutritionists

by Leigh Weingus

Ah, Chipotle.

The land of burritos, burrito bowls, guac, sour cream and the place where diets go to die. Are we right or are we right?

Here's the thing, though -- as far as fast food restaurants go, not only is Chipotle delicious, but it has a pretty good reputation nutrition-wise.

In fact, our love for Chipotle led us to ask a number of nutrition experts to weigh in our burrito bowl habits, and they gave us great news: All of them actually eat at Chipotle.

Nutritionist Michelle Blum told Elite Daily,

Chipotle won me over from the beginning (which is hard for a fast-food establishment to do to a nutritionist). First of all, they have a very cool calorie counter on their website where you can build your meal and see how it affects the nutritional status of your meal. The second amazing thing about Chipotle is they only use responsibly raised meat in their stores. If you order from other fast-food places you are getting meat riddled with hormones, antibiotics, that were not fed a proper diet and kept in awful conditions.

Healthy and responsible as Chipotle may be, if you make the wrong move you can end up consuming a day's worth of calories in one sitting.

So in an effort to let you have your Chipotle and eat it too, here's the inside scoop on how to make healthy choices at Chipotle.

Go for the bowls, not the burritos.

Do yourself a favor and skip the tortilla and go straight for the bowls.

Chipotle burrito bowls allow you get tons of protein, good fat and fiber without packing on too many calories.

Nutritionist Julie Upton tells Elite Daily,

I get the chicken burrito bowl with black beans (high in antioxidants) with chili corn salsa, romaine and half the guac. It comes out to about 500 calories and extremely high in protein and fiber -- two nutrients to keep me satisfied for hours.

Dietitian Elisa Zied is all about the chicken bowl as well.

She tells Elite Daily,

I get the burrito bowl with chicken, romaine, brown rice, cheese, and fresh tomato salsa. It hits your food groups -- protein, whole grains, vegetables and dairy -- and packs in protein for energy and satiety, fiber to also fill you up and other key nutrients.

Blum, on the other hand, goes for steak.

Since [Chipotle's] meat is good quality, I usually opt for steak to switch it up. Their steak is about the same amount of calories and fat as in their chicken. Steak is also a good source of iron, which women don’t tend to get enough of, so once in a while, it is a great choice! I add black beans for the carb instead of rice. I also have fajita veggies and guac, of course! This meal is 540 calories, which is significantly less then most other meals out there.

Not a meat eater? No problem.

Tribeca Nutrition's Natalia Stasenko takes her burrito bowl without meat.

I like the burrito bowl with rice, beans, guacamole and salsa (without sour cream and meat) to get some carbs, plant protein, good fats and fiber. I would not add meat, cheese or sour cream to it -- it would be too heavy for me with all the rice in the dish.

Yup. It's all about the bowl.

Tacos and salads are good options, too.

Burrito bowls may be the most popular item on the menu (at least as far as nutritionists are concerned), but don't forget about tacos and salads.

Stasenko tells Elite Daily she gets the salad with chicken or guacamole (not both!) and the taco with chicken (or any other meat) with lettuce and salsa.

Appetite For Health's Katherine Brooking is all about the salad.

She tells Elite Daily,

A salad with romaine lettuce, 4 ounces of chicken and 4 ounces of black beans and tomato salsa totals 330 calories, 3 grams saturated fat and a whopping 41 grams of protein (to help keep you full).

How good does that sound?!

Watch the chips and sauces.

Chips are probably the least healthy item on Chipotle's menu.

Blum tells Elite Daily,

[Chipotle] deep fries the chips, which leaves them high in calories and the bad type of fat. If I added a serving of chips to my meal it would more than double the calories in the meal. A serving of their chips is 570 calories and my whole meal without the chips is 540!

Although guac has the good kind of fat in it, be careful with it, and especially with sour cream -- both can tack on a ton of calories.

Brooking skips chips as well and is very careful when it comes to cheese.

She tells Elite Daily,

As a rule, skip the chips, if you must have cheese, use it sparingly, and go for water or a diet beverage so you're not adding empty beverage calories.

On a scale of one to 10, how badly do you want a burrito bowl right now?