I have developed a near-constant craving for Mexican food – specifically black beans. The upshot of this was spending a merry half-hour this weekend googling recipes for said beans which I fully intend to try when I a) remember to buy the beans b) have a spare six hours in which to soak them knowing that I’ve also got a spare two hours the next day to tend to them while they cook. In the meantime, however, I am spending waaay too much time going to Chipotle when I’m in London – and eating waaaayyy too many Chipotle calories.
My standard order in a Chipotle is a chicken burrito with everything – however, mindful of the fact that I’m supposed to be losing the 3lb I gained in the US (for which burritos are partly to blame) I’m attempting to cut my calories/carbs by only eating half the wrap causing me to scoop out the middle. mash it all up and eat it with a fork (it’s not an attractive meal).
However, I was wondering, what would happen if I did the sensible thing and just ordered the Burrito Bowl – which is the ingredients without the tortilla – and behold, I came across the ‘Chipotle Nutrition Calculator’ – a handy little device that allows you to add or subtract ingredients in your meal and work out the calories accordingly.
I was slightly horrified to discover that my ‘give me everything’ Chipotle burrito was 1235 calories – I’d estimated about 800-900, but my ‘tortilla sacrificing trick’ did cut that by about 150 calories (big whoop!). So, what happens if you alter it in other ways – here are the answers….
The Lowest Calorie Choices in Chipotle
The lowest calorie choice without you having to cut anything out is a single taco, which even when laden with sofritas, salsa, sour cream, rice, black beans and guac still only contains 297 calories.
Your next best choice would be one of the ready-made Chipotle lifestyle bowls. These are specifically designed to fit into special diets like keto or vegan and some of them also cut the calories while doing this.
The Keto Salad bowl has 585 calories – and, most of those calories come from fat and protein so it’s going to be seriously filling.
The Vegan bowl has 595 calories
The Protein Power Bowl and Vegetarian bowl both top 800 calories.
But what about the normal salad bowl Helen, surely, with the word salad in it, it must be healthy…. erm, if you add everything yummy to a Chipotle salad bowl you’re looking at an 895 calorie meal! And it’s over 1100 if you add the Honey Vinaigrette.
The Burrito Bowl with everything yummy has 890 calories.
But, this is where the Chipotle calories hacks theory comes into play…The great thing about Chipotle is that it lets you choose what you want in your dish – that means, you can customise it to focus on lower-calorie choices like beans, meats (or tofu), salsas, lettuce and grilled veggies – and only pick what you really, really want from the higher calorie ones like sour cream, guac and cheese.
Now, I know that’s not rocket science, but you might be surprised as to how much difference a few swaps can make… so, while the first way to reduce calories in Chipotle is to order a bowl, the next 11 explain how to cut chipotle calories without totally changing your meal.
11 More Ways Reduce Your Chipotle Calories
There are 329 calories in a Chipotle tortilla – therefore, if you skip the tortilla completely and pick a burrito bowl or a salad – you lose 329 calories compared to a burrito with exactly the same ingredients.
If you do fancy something in a tortilla, pick the tacos. Because these are smaller each flour tortilla used in a Chipotle taco has just 83 calories. You could have two of them with the same ingredients as the chicken burrito and immediately save yourself 160 calories!
If you say no to the sour cream in a burrito, burrito bowl or salad – you lose 120 calories. Because serving sizes are smaller in a taco it’s 37 calories cut from each taco if you skip the sour cream.
Dump the extra guacamole – you’ll save money (as it costs extra) and lose 230 calories per burrito, burrito bowl or salad – or 77 per taco,
Remove the cheese – to be honest, it’s not melted so it doesn’t add anything – lose 110 calories in a burrito, bowl or salad or 37 per taco
Dump the beans – both the black beans and pinto beans have 130 calories a serving when wrapped up in burrito magnificence, in a bowl or a salad – or, 37 in a taco.
Reduce your carbs by cutting the rice and you’ll save 160-170 calories per burrito (and yep, the bowl and the salad) or 70 per taco
Choose sofritas (tofu) over meat – save 25-45 calories in a burrito, bowl or salad. It’s just 150 calories a serving, the Carnitas is the highest calorie filling at 180 calories per serving. If you’re picking a taco, sofritas is just 50 calories a serving.
If you want to eat meat, the Barbacoa is the lowest calorie choice at 170 calories a serving per burrito (57 per taco)
Cut out the corn salsa – lose 80 calories per burrito, bowl, salad or 27 in a taco.
The Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette only comes on the salads – but if you pick it, you’ll bump up the calories by 220. That’s more than sour cream!
Of course, you don’t want to do all of these things, because then you’ll just end up with a plate of lettuce, and salsa – but picking the two or three items you’ll miss least could save hundreds of calories.
For me, this would be the tortilla wrap, the cheese, corn – and maybe the rice. Non-negotiable is the meat, the beans, the salsa, the sour cream and the guacamole.
Total Chipotle calories consumed – 580 – Total saved 530-630. So, what would you cut out of your favourite Chipotle meal?
Who is The Wellness Nerd?
My name is Helen Foster and I’m a health journalist and wellness author. Publications I’ve written for include Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Body and Soul, Good Health at the Daily Mail and more. I have also written 16 books on health and nutrition.