All the flavors of Mexican food, fresh ingredients, and the convenience of fast food has made Chipotle Mexican Grill a popular restaurant destination. Founder and CEO, Steve Ells, believes in "food with integrity," which means that the restaurant strives to use only the best ingredients "raised with respect to the animals, farmers and the environment." The Burrito Bowl, if ordered with the right options, is an example of a fresh and healthy meal available at Chipotle.
The Bare Bones
The concept of the Burrito Bowl is a burrito without the tortilla. Ditching the tortilla is great if you are watching your calories considering the tortilla alone contains 290 calories and 44 grams of carbohydrate. The basic burrito bowl, made with cilantro-lime rice, chicken and black beans contains 480 calories, 11.5 grams of fat, 41.5 grams of protein, 55 grams of carbohydrate, 11 grams of fiber and 820 milligrams of sodium. The burrito bowl comes with lots of options of vegetables and toppings to add, all of which add to the calorie and fat count of the meal.
It is possible to come away with a Burrito Bowl containing more fat and calories than a cheeseburger. If you order the Carnitas Burrito Bowl with cilanto-lime rice, pinto beans, roasted chili-corn salsa, cheese, sour cream and guacamole, you will be consuming a whopping 930 calories, 47 grams of fat, 79 grams of carbohydrate, and 1,880 milligrams of sodium. If you add a side of chips and salsa to your meal, you will get an additional 590 calories and 27 grams of fat.
A much healthier version of the Burrito Bowl is made with brown rice, chicken or steak, black beans, lettuce, fajita vegetables, tomato salsa and guacamole. This leaner bowl contains 665 calories, 25 grams of fat, 46 grams of protein, 72 grams of carbohydrate, an impressive 22 grams of fiber, and 1,600 milligrams of sodium. Unfortunately, the sodium content is still 70 percent of the daily sodium recommendation, according to the the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, but this is difficult to avoid with restaurant eating.
Sorting Through the Options
Getting a healthy meal at Chipotle Mexican grill has everything to do with the options you choose for your Burrito Bowl. Choosing brown rice over white will boost the fiber content of your meal and add a source of whole grains. The meat option highest in fat is the carnitas, while chicken, steak and barbacoa all weigh in with a similar, lower fat and calorie content. Fajita vegetables, tomato or tomatilla salsa, and lettuce are very low in calories but add fiber and nutrients, such as potassium and vitamins A and C. Skip the cheese and sour cream, which are high in calories and fat. Instead, top your bowl with guacamole which is high in fiber, folate and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
- Chipotle Mexican Grill: What is Food With Integrity?
- Chipotle Mexican Grill: Nutrition Calculator
- Washingtonian: The Best and Worst Dishes at Chipotle
- Health.gov: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010
- USDA Nutrient Database: Peppers, Sweet, Green, Sauteed
- USDA Nutrient Database: Sauce, Salsa, Ready-to-serve
- USDA Nutrient Database: Avocado, Raw, All Commercial Varieties