Walk Talk Nutrition visits Chipotle


We visit Chipotle, home of high calorie burritos “with integrity”

What we liked:

  • good quality ingredients
  • healthy ingredients like beans, brown rice, lean meats and tomato salsas
  • healthy extras like guacamole and fajita veggies

modest burrito bowl was over 600 calories

Kathy particularly likes the burrito bowl option.  Eliminating the flour tortilla cuts calories (by 300!) and carbs, and it’s actually easier to eat the burrito bowl with a fork than to deal with the giant messy/falling apart burritos.

What we don’t like:

  • It’s impossible to get a burrito that’s less than 700 calories.  The menu claims burrito calories range from a low of 450 to a high of 1025.  That seemed comical.  How do you create a 450 calorie burrito when the tortilla alone is 300 calories?  That leaves 150 calories for all your fillings?  So you’d be limited to black beans, salsa and some lettuce.  No rice, meat, cheese, sour cream or salsa.  And no price discount.  So what exactly are they talking about with that 450 calorie number?
  • It’s really easy to get a burrito that’s way more than the supposed maximum of 1025 calories.  Choose white rice, carnitas, black beans, cheese, sour cream, guacamole and corn salsa and you’re close to 1350 calories just for the burrito, never mind the chips and soft drink.  As we note, a great restaurant if you’re a teenaged boy who plays soccer.

brown rice, black beans, guacamole, cheese, barbacoa, green salsa: 1100 calories!!

Donna is particularly bugged by the massive potential for food waste and/or overeating.  Other than teenaged boys, most people don’t need a 1000+ calorie burrito for lunch (plus chips and soft drink?),  so if you eat the whole thing, you’re overeating.  But if you don’t, and throw half of it away, you’re wasting all that local/sustainable food that used huge quantities of energy and water resources to grow/raise, process, package, ship, store, cook, serve and then dispose of.   And that’s an environmental shame.

If you plan ahead, and perhaps always order the same thing at Chipotle, you can use the handy online menu calculator to tweak your choices and control calories.  We agree that the easiest way to control calories on the spot are

  1. avoid the tortilla, order a burrito bowl
  2. avoid the high fat add-ins like sour cream, cheese and/or guacamole
  3. split your burrito with someone else.
  4. avoid ordering chips and sugary soft drinks




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