Taco Bell is a fast-food chain serving a menu of low-priced Mexican-influenced items. It is possible to make good food choices there. Recent menu changes include more nutritious meals that are low in fat and calories. Even Taco Bell's healthiest menu items are high in sodium, but if eaten in moderation, Taco Bell still offers some low-cal, low-carb options that can be part of a healthy, smart diet.
Anyone can view Taco Bell's nutritional information at their official website. Nutritional information is always available in all Taco Bell restaurants as well. All of Taco Bell's menu items are high in sodium, but several choices are low in calories. Tacos and burritos can be healthy choices if not consumed every day. Asking for certain things to not be included in your meal or substituting salsa for cheese and sour cream can also help to reduce fat.
Taco Bell's nutritional information online shows the nutritional value for all of their meals, and some of their choices are low in fat and calories. The Crunchy Taco is 170 calories and has 12 grams of carbohydrates. Other healthy choices are the Chicken Soft Taco (190 calories, 20 carbs), the Ranchero Chicken Soft Taco (270 calories, 21 carbs), and a Beef Soft Taco (210 calories, 21 carbs). Other healthy options include the Bean Burritos (370 calories and 55 carbs), Nacho Cheese Gordita with beef (290 calories, 31 carbs), Gordita Supreme with chicken (270 calories, 29 carbohydrates) and the Tostada (250 calories, 29 carbs).
The Fresco menu is a recent addition to Taco Bell that provides a variety of healthy, lower-calorie options. "Fresco style" means substituting the cheese and sour cream or other dressings for salsa. Cheese will make the number of calories rise quickly. One Beef Fresco Crunchy Taco is 150 calories and only 13 carbohydrates. Other healthy Fresco options are the Fresco Soft Taco (180 calories, 22 carbs), the Fresco Ranchero Chicken Soft Taco (170 calories, 22 carbs), and the Grilled Chicken Taco Fresco Style (160 calories, 20 carbs).
Meals to Avoid
Some meals at Taco Bell aren't low in fat. The Fiesta Taco Salad is 770 calories and has 75 carbohydrates. The Nachos BellGrande has the same amount of calories and 3 more carbs. The Crunch Wrap Supreme is 540 calories and 71 carbs, and the Fresco version is 460 calories and 67 carbs. The Mexican Pizza is also a poor choice, with 540 calories and 47 carbohydrates. Beef is typically higher in calories than chicken, and products with sour cream, sauces, and cheese will be higher in fat and sodium than items that are on the Fresco menu.
The Taco Bell Nutrition Calculator breaks down calories needed by explaining that something 250 to 350 calories on the menu could be considered a "mini meal" for a active person or a full meal for a smaller person. 400 to 500 calories on the menu would be appropriate for an average-size person, and 600 to 700 would be appropriate for a very active or larger person.