How to Eat Healthy at Chipotle – Layers of Happiness

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How to Eat Healthy at Chipotle


Chipotle is one of the only fast food restaurants that makes an effort to buy fresh, local ingredients – which has made eating at Chipotle a super healthy option for a “fast food dinner”… although, if you’re not careful, you can easily pack well over 1,000 calories into a meal. In this post we show you what we order to take advantage of the fresh, nutritious ingredients, and eat healthy at Chipotle!

Chipotle is definitely our go-to busy weeknight dinner – It’s always satisfying and I can rely on it to deliver a super-filling, nutritious meal!

Things we love about Chipotle:

We LOVE that Chipotle restaurants make a point of buying local fresh produce. Big thumbs up for that factor!  Another major plus is its Mexican buffet-style assembly that allows you to control how they make your burrito, taco, or salad.

When you first walk into chipotle, the different entree combinations are endless and it’s easy to go overboard, but those baby-size burritos can knock your meal way over 1,000 calories.

Even if you don’t like to count calories, sometimes, numbers can prove a point and make you stop and say oh my!

Here’s the calories in a typical burrito:

Oh my is right! And that doesn’t even include chips or guac!!

What’s weighing down the burrito? The flour tortilla! Each one is 300 calories with 10 grams of fat. I try to stay away from the tortilla all together and go for the light menu items: Salads!

Instead of rice and tortillas, I load my bowl up with fresh vegetables, and perhaps some chicken or beef (I avoid the barbacoa and carnitas; they’re higher in sodium and fat). By doing this, you’ll save on calories and end up with a much more nutrient dense meal.

What I order will vary from time to time, but this is generally how I go down the line:

Most of the time I get black beans instead of meat, and sometimes when I want a super light dinner I don’t get either… that’s normally when there’s dessert involved 😉

Check out all those overflowing colors! Lots of good for you fiber, vitamins and minerals instead of empty calories found in the burrito, chips and dairy. You would never get that ordering from any other fast food restaurant (I still love you, Chick-Fil-a <3). 

You might notice that I do, indeed, get guacamole! But I have a reason for getting guacamole, and not a flour tortilla, when they are both about the same “calorie” wise.

If you don’t already know, I want to get my R.D. (Registered Dietician) and be a nutritionist when I go to college; so, I’m all into reading about nutrition and listening to podcasts about nutrition…

One of the things I have learned is that eating a small amount of heart-healthy fats is super important. Why? Because lots of fruits and vegetables are fat-soluble, this means that when you eat your vegetables with a healthy fat (like guacamole) then that allows for all of the nutrients to be absorbed by the body instead of only some of the nutrients. Yes, eating vegetables without a fat component in a meal is still good for you and still will provide nutrients; it’s just that eating veggies with a little fat on the side maximizes the nutrients your body can absorb from a single serving of veggies.

I’m not saying to go out and eat a bunch of fats – because there is no way to separate the good from the bad in this situation. With the benefits of fats, comes the added calories. Therefore, eating a lot of fats will results in a few extra pounds around your waist! That’s why it’s important to eat a little bit of fat with a lot of veggies!

Have I convinced you yet? 😉
(If you’re interested in my source or want to read more on this topic, click here.)

So now you know how Chipotle can be your best friend (or worst enemy!) when it comes to eating healthy. Choose wisely friends 🙂 

A Few Fun Facts about Chipotle…

1. Chipotle was a not intended to be a multimillion dollar chain!

When Steve Ellis graduated from college, he enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America. After he gradated he wanted to open his own restaurant, but he knew he needed generate cash in order to open his full scale restaurant… and that’s where the idea for Chipotle came into play. And with a $80,000 loan from his dad, he opened his first Chipotle in Denver. Little did that it would turn into a multimillion dollar chain!

2.Chipotle’s bare-bones architecture reflects its humble beginnings.

Ells got a lot of the initial decor from local hardware stores — for example, the light fixtures were the product of metal junction boxes and porcelain lamp holders containing single halogen bulbs… Remember he started his restaurant with only $80,000 so he didn’t have a lot to spare on the architecture. {a typical restaurant start-up cost is anywhere from $100,000 (at the least) – $500,000}

3. The commitment to antibiotic-free meat didn’t come right away...
It started when Ells read an article by Ed Behr in The Art of Eating about some Iowa farmers who were raising their hogs in super-regulated environments. He asked for a sample, made some carnitas, and thought they tasted way better. Thus began, in earnest, his crusade for higher-quality ingredients.

4. McDonald’s does NOT own Chipotle.
I was surprised to read this too! A lot of people (including me) mistakenly believe that Mickey D’s is owned by Chipotle. Here’s what actually happened: McDonald’s invested in the chain back when it was only a big deal in Colorado and helped take it national. They even increased their stake to majority shareholder down the line, but completely divested by 2006.

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