The Best Healthy Chipotle Orders, According to Dietitians
Chipotle is Dr. Cohen's choice of fast food when in a pinch. We are not quite in agreement with about the recommendations here and the macronutrient suggestions, but he personally orders this meal for the most healthy option: Burrito bowl with white rice (brown rice is more toxic to eat), double steak, black beans, fajitas (skip this and tomatoes if you are histamine sensitive), guacamole, cheese, sour cream, and a bit of salad on top.
Whether you're following a paleo or vegan diet, these healthy Chipotle bowls will keep you satisfied.
Healthy Chipotle Orders for Every Eating Style and Goal
Chipotle may be fast food, but you shouldn't turn up your nose at the restaurant chain based on that fact alone. "In all honesty, as a dietitian, Chipotle tops my go-to list for quick and easy meals in a pinch," says Micah Siva, R.D., a registered dietitian and trained chef.
Of course, not all Chipotle orders work for every eating style or nutrition goal. But because of its customizable menu model, Chipotle has the potential to be a nutritious option for anyone on the go or looking for a meal that satisfies dietary needs, says Siva. "They offer a range of vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, which are components to a balanced meal," she adds. That means you can grab a healthy Chipotle bowl that's, say, keto-friendly just as easily as a packaged pre-workout snack.
Not sure what the best choice is for your diet? Here, dietitans share which of Chipotle's healthy options you should try based on your eating style or nutrition goals.
Muscle Gain: Steak Burrito Bowl
While every body has different needs, there are two things definitely required if you're trying to build muscle: ample protein and calories. "I would suggest eating a high-protein meal two to three hours before, or up to two hours after, your workout," says Siva. Keep in mind that it's best to evenly spread out your protein intake throughout the day to maximize benefits — so you probably don't need an extra serving of protein in your burrito.
Her healthy Chipotle bowl to encourage gains? A burrito bowl with brown rice, steak, black beans, fajita vegetables, tomato salsa, and romaine lettuce (feel free to add guacamole if you like). This order clocks in at 540 calories with 14 grams of fat, 69 grams of carbs, and 34 grams of protein.
Pre-Workout Snack: Build Your Own Kid's Meal
Yes, really: A kid's meal featuring your choice of protein and toppings is a perfect healthy Chipotle order to grab pre-workout. "Depending on how many hours you have between now and your workout, you may want to stick to something small before your exercise session," says Allison Knott, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D., a registered dietitian and board-certified specialist in sports dietetics in New York City. "You can still get everything you would with an adult meal, but with a bonus — the kid's meal comes with a side of fruit as an option," she adds.
Keto Diet: Steak Salad Bowl
If you follow a high-fat, low-carb diet, you would want to avoid any items that contribute a large amount of carbohydrates to your meal, which means sticking with proteins, vegetables, and higher-fat options while passing on tortillas, rice, and beans, explains Siva.
All of the meats at Chipotle are carb-free except for barbacoa, which has 2 grams of carbs per serving, and steak, which has 1 gram per serving, according to the company. Fajita veggies, lettuce, queso, sour cream, and cheese are also great options, recommends Siva. For a healthy Chipotle bowl, try a salad bowl with steak, fajita vegetables, tomatillo-green chili salsa, cheese, and guacamole, she suggests. And don't skimp on the veggies, since that's where all the fiber and micronutrients are, adds Siva.
Vegetarian: Sofritas Burrito Bowl
Vegetarians, rejoice! "Chipotle is making going meatless super easy with a few delicious meat-free proteins," says Knott. "Beans are always a solid vegetarian protein choice, but Chipotle took it up a notch with sofritas —shredded organic tofu seasoned with chipotle chilies and roasted poblanos," she explains. Yum!
Pretty much everything on the menu is fair game for vegetarians (with the exception of meat, of course), so build a healthy Chipotle bowl with all the fixings and call it a day. A burrito bowl with sofritas, black beans, brown rice, lettuce, tomato salsa, cheese, and sour cream clocks in at 740 calories and a solid 28 grams of plant-based protein.
Endurance Athlete: Build Your Own Burrito
"Carbohydrates are the primary source of fuel for working muscles and are necessary for replenishing glycogen in muscles after a long-distance workout or race," explains Knott. If you're in the midst of heavy training, then half of your plate should be a carbohydrate source. "This could easily be accomplished with a build-your-own burrito stuffed with chicken, brown rice, pinto beans, fajita vegetables, lettuce, and the roasted chili-corn salsa," she adds.
This healthy Chipotle order combo provides almost 130 grams of carbs. But since everyone is different, some athletes may need additional or fewer carbs depending on their training regimen, says Knott. "To adjust carbohydrates, either double up on rice and beans for added carbs or skip the tortilla and opt for a burrito bowl to lower total carbohydrates," she explains.
Vegan: Sofritas Burrito
"Like the vegetarians, vegans also have a lot to celebrate at Chipotle," says Knott. Of course, meat, cheese, and sour cream are off-limits, as well as Chipotle's salad dressing, which contains honey. That means a burrito is your best bet. With sofritas, pinto beans, fajita vegetables, tomatillo-green chili salsa, and romaine lettuce, you can score an easy 25 grams of protein and 16 grams of fiber, all for 640 calories.
Sound like too heavy of a healthy Chipotle order for you? Skip the tortilla and make it a salad instead, using an extra serving of salsa as a dressing. This combo is just 335 calories, making it a low-calorie Chipotle order too.
Paleo: Chicken Salad Bowl
Staying true to paleo is surprisingly easy at Chipotle, which may be why folks who follow this eating style are such fans of the fast-casual spot. "Skip the tortilla and any other grain offered, such as white or brown rice, and ask for lettuce and fajita vegetables as a base," recommends Knott. "Add your choice of meat, preferably chicken or steak, as these are the leanest options. Top with more lettuce, salsa, and guacamole," she suggests. The result: a tasty yet healthy Chipotle bowl that checks off all your dietary requirements.
Weight Loss: Veggie-Loaded Salad Bowl
"If weight loss is your goal, there are plenty of options for you," says Siva. Her pick: a salad bowl with romaine lettuce, black beans, fajita veggies, fresh tomato salsa, and guacamole. To make it a low-calorie Chipotle order, "hold off on the dressing and let the guacamole and salsa spice up your salad," she advises.
Feel free to add in a serving of chicken or steak for an extra bit of protein, too. "And while it's high in calories, guacamole is full of monounsaturated (heart-healthy) fats that make you feel fuller longer," says Siva. "Fat is not the enemy!" she adds. Even with the guac, you're sitting at 410 calories, which makes it a tasty on-the-go meal option if you're looking to lose weight.