In the mood for some tacos but counting your calories? This is not a problem, we’ve found all the lowest calorie options in Taco Bell so you can enjoy all the yummy taco goodies without busting your calorie budget.
And if you’re combining counting calories while also watching fat, controlling sodium, avoiding gluten, or are vegetarian – check out our special section highlighting the best choices for you too.
Before we get to that though let’s start with the good news – it’s suggested that a healthy amount of calories for a meal is 400-600 – and almost everything on the Taco Bell menu comes under this (they work with dieticians and say 3/4 of their menu is under 500 calories). In fact, often you can have both a main item and a side and still bring it in well under 600 calories.
Yo Quiero Taco Bell!
So, with all that build-up, let’s get to the main event.
What’s the Absolute Lowest Calorie Item at Taco Bell?
After combing through the calories on the Taco Bell menu we can reveal… drum roll – the lowest calorie choice is the Chicken Soft Taco. These have just 160 calories – which, is actually way too low to be your actual dinner, so why not order two – and a side dish?
You could have two Chicken Soft Taco and Black Beans and Rice for just 480 calories.
What is Fresco Style?
If you’re ordering from Taco Bell you’ll see the option to have many items served Fresco Style – and this can help cut your calories further in Taco Bell.
Order a dish Fresco Style in Taco Bell your server will replace higher-fat and calorie items in the dish – like cheese, sour cream, or mayonnaise -with extra chopped tomatoes.
This cuts the calories by about 25 percent.
Order a Burrito Supreme Fresco-Style – for example, and it’ll drop from 390 calories to 350. You won’t need to do this with smaller items like tacos, but, for bigger items it can help you also fit a side dish in your calorie budget.
The Lowest Calorie Side Dish at Taco Bell
One reason that the dishes at Taco Bell are so low in calories is that the portions aren’t the biggest – one soft taco is unlikely to satisfy most appetites -and, as we said, is far too low in calories for a full meal anyway – so, chances are you’re going to either double up your dishes – or add a side dish.
So, how do these add up for calories?
If you’re looking for the lowest-calorie side dish at Taco Bell, order the Black Beans. They have just 50 calories per serving. This makes me very happy – I love Taco Bell Black Beans!
Here’s how the others stack up…
|Black Beans and Rice
|Pintos n Cheese
|Chips and Nacho Cheese Sauce
|Cheesy Fiesta potatoes
The Lowest Calorie Food at Taco Bell – from the Rest of the Menu
If you don’t feel like a Soft Taco, what else can you order when calorie counting? Well, here’s how to order low-calorie at Taco Bell from any part of the menu.
What’s the Lowest Calorie (other) Taco in Taco Bell?
Pretty much all of the tacos on the Taco Bell menu are under 210 calories. The only one to watch is the Cheesy Gordita Crunch which has 490 calories which might tip you over 600 calories if you combine it with the wrong side dish.
If you’re not in the mood for Soft Tacos, the Crunchy Taco has just 10 calories more at 170 calories.
Stock photo: Not Taco Bell
What’s the Lowest Calorie Burrito in Taco Bell?
If you’re in a burrito mood, then the great news is that all the burritos in Taco Bell come in at under 500 calories a serving – but, the lowest-calorie is the Bean Burrito which has 350 calories.
The dish also comes with a total fat content of only 9 grams, just 4 grams of saturated fat, and zero trans fats, which is a huge plus. To spice up your experience, try any low-calorie add-ons such as tomatoes, Chile Verde sauce, or Lava sauce.
Other Low-Calorie Burritos
|Burrito Supreme – Chicken
|Chili Cheese Burrito
|Burrito Supreme – Chicken
|Cheesy Bean and Rice burrito
What’s the Lowest Calorie Quesadilla in Taco Bell?
Quesadillas are popular at Taco Bell, but unfortunately, they’re not the lowest-calorie option on their menu – they range from 470-520 calories.
However, if Quesadillas are your favorite, pick the Cheese Quesadilla, as it’s the lowest calorie choice with just 470 calories – and hey, it contains a blend of three cheeses so this is not exactly a hardship!
Or, take a look at the Value Menu where you’ll find the Cheesy Roll Up which might satisfy your gooey cheese cravings- and that only has 180 calories.
Stock Photo: Not Taco Bell
What’s the Lowest Calorie Taco Bell Bowl?
The Bowls are a great choice at Taco Bell if you just want to order one item as they mix a filling amount of rice, beans, toppings, and, proteins in one dish.
The lowest calorie choice is the Veggie Version which has 420 calories – but, if you want extra protein pick the Chicken Power Bowl which has 460 calories.
You can also upgrade to Beef for the same number of calories. See more about the bowls in our ‘special diets’ section, especially if you’re eating higher protein.
What’s the Lowest Calorie Taco Bell Nachos?
You know that quarter of the Taco Bell menu that is over 500 calories, well hi – here’s where most of them live!
The topped Nachos choices are the highest calorie options on the Taco Bell menu – they all contain over 700 calories.
If you need a chips and dips fix though, remember the basic Chips and Nacho Cheese Sauce has just 220 calories – you can easily add those to a taco or two and still come in under 600 calories.
Stock Photo: Not Taco Bell
What’s the Lowest Calorie Combo in Taco Bell’s Combo Menu?
Want to save money and calories, then you might want to head to the Combo part of the Taco Bell menu – and, in this case, here for either the 3 Doritos Locos Tacos Combo or the 3 Crunch Taco one as both contain only 510 calories – if you order them with a zero calorie drink.
Do Taco Bell Sauces Have Calories?
I have a confession. I absolutely love Taco Bell – and when I used to holiday in the States, I would pick up handfuls of sauces – half of them to smother my food with and the other half to shove into my suitcase to take back home so I could add them to dishes when I was pining!
If this sounds like you – without the rampant hoarding – then, you’ll be pleased to hear that the Taco Bell sauce sachets have zero calories!
When it comes to adding other sauces, you might be surprised to hear that the Nacho Cheese sauce is the lowest additional sauce at just 30 calories a serving, Guacamole adds 40 calories. The others add 70-80 calories a serving.
Why Do We Still Write These Posts?
After all, the calories are on menus now so, aren’t I kind of redundant?
Well for starters, depending on how a restaurant lays out its menu, it can actually be a bit tricky to skim all the items in one go to find the lowest – especially if you’re standing in a queue and can’t see the menu boards that clearly so, here you can see them at your leisure.
Plus, it’s easy to get sucked into temptation when faced with all the delicious items on a menu. At least if you sit and read these posts in advance, you can go with a plan before you start smelling the yummy goodies. You could even ask someone else to order for you.
Oh, and if skimming the general calories is tough when there’s a queue forming behind you, try to work out which is the best choice if you’re also watching things like fat or sodium. So, in the next section, we’re going to cover those options…
What’s the Lowest Calorie Choice at Taco Bell for Your Eating Plan?
If you’re watching your calories – and, working with another diet choice like eating low fat, not eating meat, avoiding gluten – or, something else, then what can you order? You’re about to find out…
The Lowest Calorie Vegetarian Choice in Taco Bell?
Sometimes in these posts, we don’t have a lot to choose from for veggies, meaning that the lowest calorie veggie option can sometimes be the only veggie option – but, that is NOT the case at Taco Bell. In fact, they are the first Quick Serve Restaurant to have their veggie menu certified by the American Vegetarian Association – and there are a few dishes to choose from.
However, if you’re looking for the lowest-calorie vegetarian dish at Taco Bell, then you’re going to be picking the Bean Burrito at 350 calories. Maybe with one of the sides.
Or, for a fuller meal, pick the Power Menu Bowl Veggie option which has just 420 calories, and is more of a proper meal.
Can You Eat Gluten-Free – and Low Calorie – at Taco Bell
Again, normally there aren’t always options for this section, but Taco Bell does offer gluten-free by-ingredient options – however, we have to prefix this by saying that they do state that they cannot eliminate risk from cross contamination – and so, those with celiac disease should not rely on foods at Taco Bell being gluten-free.
However, if you’re just trying to avoid gluten for other reasons, then the lowest-calorie gluten-free choice is the Crunchy Taco or the Doritos Locos Tacos which both have 170 calories – served with a side of Black Beans and Rice for 160 calories.
What’s the Lowest Calorie, Low Sodium Dish at Taco Bell
Most fast food can be quite high in sodium, but Taco Bell isn’t the worst I’ve seen.
The dish with the best combination of low calorie and low sodium at Taco Bell is the Crunchy Taco which has 170 calories and just 300mg of sodium – serve that with a side of Black Beans for 50 calories and just 140mg of sodium.
Again, that’s too low calories for a main meal, so you could double up on the Tacos. That would give you 740mg of sodium, which is about a third of the suggested 2300mg a day recommended for the general population.
If your medical team has suggested a lower sodium intake than this, you’d be better to grab some fruit for dessert on your way home to keep both calories and sodium low.
What’s Lowest in Calories and Fat at Taco Bell?
It’s our old friend the Soft Taco with Chicken again this has just 2.5g of saturated fat (and 160 calories). Again, the Black Beans are a low-fat side dish, but you might be pleased to hear that you could also have the Chips and Nacho Cheese sauce. This has just 1.5g of saturated fat.
Combine the two and your meal is just 380 calories and 4g of saturated fat.
The Lowest Calorie, Highest Protein Pick at Taco Bell?
They don’t call them Power Bowls for nothing. the Chicken Power Bowl gives the best protein bang for its calorie bucks.
It has 26g of protein per serving for just 460 calories – and, if you’re watching both of those things, I’m guessing you might be interested in the fat content too – it has 6g Saturated Fat (21g of total fat but most of it comes from the Guacamole).
You can also boost the protein intake further by adding extra Chicken for 50 calories, or, you can add a serving of Steak for another 80 calories. Taco Bell doesn’t give the protein counts for those, but roughly you’ll be adding around 10g of protein if you picked the chicken or 8g from the steak.
Having a meal at Taco Bell doesn’t mean ruining a calorie-controlled diet. Taco Bell’s menu has many low-calorie and vegan-friendly choices, such as Soft Tacos, Crunchy Tacos, and Black Beans with Rice.
Remember that ordering your food in fresco style will always result in a lower-calorie meal.
You can also cut calories further by swapping Chicken for Beef in dishes where you’re able to customize dishes – this cuts 25 calories from the Burrito Supreme for example.
Removing just cheese (instead of going totally Fresco) will also cut about 30 calories from the Burrito dishes.
We hope we helped you hack Taco Bell’s menu for the lowest calorie choices. Enjoy your dinner – we’re now really craving a Bean Burrito!
What to Read Next
If you liked this you might also want to check out the other guides in our Calorie Guides section – we’ve got a whole bunch of US-based favorites like Red Lobster, Olive Garden and we don’t just cover food, we also show you what you can drink at favorites like Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts.
If you are watching your Sodium as well, check out our Low Sodium section which goes through all the low sodium options at your favorites.
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.