Eating at Chipotle frequently and without regard for sensible menu selections is a bad choice. However, armed with knowledge about the nutritional and caloric value of food, it is possible to eat a healthy meal here.
The Mexican-style food chain Chipotle is well-known for promoting “food with integrity”, offering menu items which contain no Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), meats which are free of antibiotics, and locally sourced ingredients. However, it is important to recognize that “food with integrity” does not necessarily translate into healthy eating.
Although Chipotle is not considered fast food, its’ casual style dining provides the opportunity for overdoing it. Sidling up to the buffet and eating with complete abandon can push your lunch well over the 1,000 calorie mark – higher than a burger combo at a fast food chain. This same meal will also contain a full day’s worth of sodium, and three-quarters of your daily saturated fat allowance. The good news is that this same buffet style allows diners to have control over the content of their meal, and with some advance planning it is possible to eat a healthy meal at Chipotle.
Restaurants post a nutritional calculator for all food items, and the same calculator is available on the company website. It is worth noting that a tortilla boasts 300 calories, and is also the only item at Chipotle which contains hydrogenated oils. However, if you choose to avoid them completely and head for the most popular menu item at Chipotle – which is the burrito bowl – you will still be over 1,000 calories if you choose cheese, sour cream, salsa, and guacamole add-ins.
Healthy meals at Chipotle begin with a bowl or salad. Crispy taco shells are a good alternative to tortillas and chips; they are salt-free and low in calories and saturated fats. To inject some protein into the meal without the inclusion of unhealthy fats and preservatives, sensible sides include chicken and guacamole. Veggies such as peppers and onion - free with the purchase of a protein - are also a healthful addition. Finally, salsa is a sensible topping choice. Unlike cheese and sour cream, it is low in calories and high in both Vitamin A and Capsaicin – a compound known to speed up the metabolism, amongst other things. The spicy addition of salsa will also satisfy taste requirements – making it less likely that you will overeat!
Possible short-term side effects
- water retention
- increased blood pressure
Possible long-term side effects
- weight gain
- high cholesterol
- heart disease
Ingredients to be aware of
- locally sourced ingredients
- create your own meal
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Written by Healthy Living 35 | 12-28-2015
Written by Healthy Living 35
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