Mmmmm, Mad Mex – goey yumminess with hot sauce all wrapped up in a big floury burrito accompanied by crunchy chips with spicy salsa or fresh guacamole. Let’s just say it’s on my list of happy places. Which means I need to watch my Mad Mex Calories! Especially as I can have it delivered so don’t even burn off any energy getting there …
So, I wanted to know what are the lowest calorie options on the Mad Mex menu and how much difference did it make really if you (or I) picked the small burrito over the large – or the Naked one skipping the tortilla altogether? And, if you want to know too, our guide to the Mad Mex nutritional info reveals all…
Updated in April 2023 with new menu options and calories
Is Mad Mex Healthy?
The good news is that Mad Mex aim to cook their food using unprocessed ingredients (they say if their grandmother wouldn’t recognise it they don’t use it!) and the smallest amount of oils and sugars they can to get the food to taste good. This is helpful when you’re watching your calories.
However, because you create your own meal at Mad Mex, it’s not as simple as me just telling you that say, a single plain chicken taco is the lowest calorie choice – there are too many individual variables and, let’s face it, no-one goes to Max Mex to eat a plain chicken taco so that wouldn’t be useful anyway!
So, to start with, for the sake of keeping everything simple, let’s assume that you’re like me and you want whatever your favourite Mad Mex meal is to come with all the basic trimmings – pico de gallo, salsa verde, brown rice, black beans, shredded cheese, sour cream and lettuce.
And you’ve picked Chipotle Chicken as your filling… assuming that now let’s us get down to the nitty-gritty of weighing up the calories…
What Type of Meal Is Lowest in Calories?
The first choice you have to make when you walk into Mad Mex is what type of meal you want – a burrito, tacos, quesadilla etc.
This is likely to make one of the biggest contributions to your calorie count and so you should choose wisely. So, with the fully-loaded chicken choice above, your best choices are…
A Small Naked Burrito is just 301 calories (1260kj) – erm, why am I not living on these?
A portion of 3x Soft Tacos contains 377 calories (1572kj). Yum!
Note though, you shouldn’t really go under 400 calories for a main meal, so bump those up with some extra fruit and yogurt for dessert, or add some crudites or nuts on the side.
If you don’t like those, then here are the other formats with the same filling combination just so you can get an idea of what ballpark you’re working in. In order of lowest to highest…
A Small Burrito with small size fillings – 496 calories (272kj).
A Naked Burrito with everything will add up to 507 calories (2120kj)
Quesadilla – 541 calories (2261 kj) – note; it doesn’t have rice or beans
Small Nachos – the ingredients vary a little here as you swap rice for corn chips and shredded cheese is replaced by queso – but you’re looking at 586 calories (2450kj).
Hard Tacos – 597 calories (2491kj)
Grande Melt – this doesn’t have rice, but it does have more cheese – making it 627 calories (2616kj)
A standard Mad Mex Burrito has 774 calories (3230kj)
Standard Nachos – 834 calories (3490kj)
Again, exact numbers are going to vary a bit according to the topping choices you pick, but as a general rule, if everything else is equal the lowest calorie meal in Mad Mex will be your favourite goodies in the form of a Small Naked Burrito – very closely followed by a set of soft tacos.
What Meat Should You Pick?
I picked chicken above as when most of us think about the lowest calorie meat, that’s what we assume it’s going to be…, but what’s that thing about assuming making an ass of you and me?.
You see in Mad Mex, chicken isn’t the absolute lowest-calorie meat filling you can choose.
In most cases, that prize goes to the Beef Barbacoa
The pork is the next lowest choice and then the chicken – admittedly, there’s only a handful of calories difference between these but still. Chorizo is the highest calorie meat choice.
The Lowest Calorie Meat Option in Mad Mex is…
Well, if you want to eat meat (and all the toppings) the answer is…. (drumroll)
The Small Naked Burrito with Beef Barbacoa weighing in at just 359 calories.
Woot, woot, do the happy dance burn off a few more calories.
If you’d normally choose the chicken at Mad Mex, you might want to check out our other ‘chicken-based’ calorie posts- we’ve found the lowest calorie options in Nandos – and pinpointed what you can order for under 600 calories.
We’ve also looked at the calories in Oporto if that’s your favourite chicken stop.
But What If You’re Veggie?
Then I have even better news – as the Beef Barbacoa might be the lowest calorie meat filling, but it’s not THE lowest-calorie filling you can pick in Mad Mex.. for that you need to go Vegan.
The Absolute Lowest Calorie Veggie Option in Mad Mex is…
The Small Naked Burrito with Veggie Veracruz – and no sour cream or cheese is just 206 calories (1108kj). If you add Vegan Cheese though it sneaks up to 246 calories.
If you’re just veggie, and not vegan, then keeping in the cheese and the sour cream gives you a very tasty Small Naked Burrito for 289 calories.
How to Cut Your Mad Mex Calories
As I said, there are endless variations to making a meal in Mad Mex and by losing some of the other toppings/fillings you can cut calories further – or, bring some of the higher calorie items down a notch or two.
The good thing about the Mad Mex nutritional information is that it shows you what happens if you remove certain toppings – so I did!
The number one thing to lose to cut calories is the brown rice – take that out of a large Naked Burrito, for example, and you’ll lose 146 calories bringing it down to 361 calories a bowl
Take it out from a large wrapped Burrito and you’ll cut the calories down by 147.
I do have to mention though that brown rice does have nutritional benefits and so, it’s not necessarily the healthiest thing to remove from your meal just the one that cuts most calories.
If you’re not a fan of beans then losing them in a large Naked Burrito will save you 86 calories and a smidge less at 84 fewer calories in a large wrapped burrito.
Again though, one thing the longest living nations on earth have in the common is that they eat beans as a staple part of their diet. Think twice before skipping the beans just to save some calories.
You could just swap to a small portion of pinto beans which has 60 calories – saving you 24. I know it’s not much, but it all adds up!
Cheese and Sour Cream
Next up, cheese. Dump the cheese in a large Naked Burrito and you’ll lose 80 calories. Take it out of a large wrapped burrito and you’ll drop the calories by 77.
Then there’s sour cream. Say no to that in the large Naked Burrito or the large wrapped burrito and you’ll lose 47 calories.
The other ingredients are pretty negligible in effect.
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 over 100 calories.
For me, this would be the tortilla wrap, the cheese – and maybe the rice. Non-negotiable is the meat, the beans, the salsa, the sour cream and the guacamole.
Ah, Yes What About Guacamole?
After all, it’s not Mexican without a big slurp of gooey green stuff on the side… but it does add calories.
Guacamole will add 86 calories to any size Naked Burrito Bowl or a large Burrito.
On the smaller burrito, you’re looking at an extra 43 calories.
Remember guacamole is a good source of healthy fat though so it’s not something you should totally discount if you enjoy it.
And Corn Chips
There’s two options for corn chips at Max Mex – if you pick them with salsa you’re looking at 301 calories (1266kj) or with guacamole it goes up to 340 calories (1428kj). With queso you’re looking at 323 calories (1359kj).
I told you it was a bit complicated – if you want to check your own personal combination of meal, meat and fillings, then head to the Max Mex Nutrition Calculator which can help calculate it for you.
Or just pick from the list below…
IF you’re a fan of Mexican chains, we’ve also covered the calories in Guzman Y Gomez. Find out the lowest calorie options to order in GYG here.
26 Choices Under 500 Calories in Mad Mex
To make things easier, I’ve made a list of 26 meal choices at Mad Mex under 500 calories that you can order.
Remember though, that 400 is the lowest you should really go for a meal so if you are ordering on the low end of the scale, add some fruit and yogurt for dessert or grab some veggies from the supermarket to bump things up
Again, I’ve assumed you’re going to have all the basic toppings unless it says otherwise – if you leave any out you’ve just saved yourself more calories.
Under 300 Calories
Small Naked Burrito with Veggie Veracruz – no cheese, no sour cream – 206 calories (862kj)
Small Naked Burrito with Veggie Veracruz and Vegan Cheese (no sour cream) – 246 calories (1031kj)
Small Naked Burrito with Veggie Veracruz – 289 calories (1207 kj)
Small Naked Burrito with Beef Barbacoa -291 calories (1215kj)
Small Naked Burrito with Pork Carnitas – 295 calories (1232kj)
Under 400 Calories
Small Naked Burrito with Chipotle Chicken – 301 calories (1206kj)
Soft Tacos with Veggie Vera Cruz – 322 calories (1346kj)
Small Naked Burrito with Chorizo – 345 calories (14441 kj)
Soft Tacos with Beef Barbacoa – 359 calories (1500 kj)
Soft Tacos with Pork Carnitas – 366 calories (1528 kj)
Soft Tacos with Chipotle Chicken – 376 calories (1572kj)
Under 500 Calories
Small Burrito with Veggie Veracruz – 436 calories (1822kj)
Small Burrito with Beef Barbacoa – 438 calories (1830kj)
Small Burrito with Pork Carnitas – 442 calories (1848kj)
Small Burrito with Chipotle Chicken – 449 calories (1875kj)
Small Burrito with Chorizo – 492 calories (2056kj)
Quesadilla with Veggie Veracruz – 487 calories (2035kj)
So there you have it, all the lowest calorie options in Mad Mex.
Although literally, as I was writing this, Mad Mex changed the menu so, everything was correct to the best my of knowledge when I pushed publish, but again, if you’re not sure about anything, head to the Mad Mex nutrition calculator to get all the up to date details.
Other Aussie Calorie Guides
If you liked this post, you might also like some of our other Aussie calorie guides.
They include eating out guides which look at chains like Fishbowl, Grill’d, Guzman y Gomez and Zambrero. You’ll find all the entries in this category here.
And, because someone had to do it, we wondered around some pubs, took a note at what was behind the bar and came up with a guide to Australia’s lowest calorie beer.
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.