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Nosh: Rockin’ Chipotle

Disclaimer: No, this isn’t a paid advertisement by Chipotle. (But if they want to pay me to promote them or write the stories on their cups, I’m all ears.) I really do just love Chipotle so very much.


When I first tried Chipotle in college, I didn’t know what to order, so I got tacos. I was not impressed. But when I discovered the beloved burrito, I was sold. Hook, line and sinker. I was in L-O-V-E. I probably hit the restaurant with my roomies about once a week. It became and remains my go-to place to get a quick bite. Lucky for me, my hubby can also eat Chipotle at frequent intervals.

Unfortunately, I’m no longer able to eat Big Burritos like it’s my job. But, the gods smile upon me, for the chain is the king of customization, and with a little Chipotle know-how, you can easily bypass crazy calorie counts for a delightful and flavorful meal.

Even at its worst, Chipotle isn’t nearly as terrible as your typical “fast food.” Sure, you might clock in more than1,000 calories for a burrito with all the fixins (including the guacamole), but at least you’re getting veggies, lean meats, beans and healthy fats into your system. With a Big Mac and medium fries, you’re taking in 920 calories, accompanied by 13 grams of saturated fat, hella sodium and not to mention, no veggies. (Fries don’t count.) Plus, Chipotle will leave you feeling oh-so full, but not grody like some fast food does.

The Game Plan
The easiest thing you can do to downgrade the calorie count on your Chipotle meal is to nix the tortilla. Once you eat a burrito bowl, I promise you won’t even miss that big round wrapper—and you’ll save 290 calories. Just saying “no” to sour cream can also save you 120 calories. I double up on the low-cal salsas to add serious flavor, and also ask for them to go light on the rice and heavy on the veggies. And I just can’t give up the cheese, but clocking in at 100 calories, I figure it could be worse. When all is said and done, my typical meal logs about 520 or so calories—not too shabby for a filling meal. (Sodium does come in higher than I’d like, but all fast food has a price, right?) Plus, the company cares about using only naturally raised, organic and hormone-free ingredients.

I can also vouch for the fact that the salads are tasty, although you can easily make up for the lack of rice (130 calories) if you overdo it on the salad dressing (260 for 2 ounces). Play it safe and just use extra salsa and opt out of the dressing altogether.Play around with the nutrition calculator on Chipotle Fan and discover new ways to mix and match the options to fit your diet. And tell us: What’s your favorite way to Chipotle? —Erin


Photo grabbed from yummiec00kies at Flickr.

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  1. Erica says:

    LOVE Chipotle! I get their salads and love topping the greens with the hot peps/onion, corn salsa, beans and cheese. Yum yum!

  2. tfh says:

    I really like using the salsa to sub for salad dressing or sour cream, too. I also have found it’s pretty easy (if not quite so convenient) to recreate the burrito bols at home.

  3. kjl says:

    I’m a HUGE Chipotle fan as well, and now I’m a huge fan of that nutrition calculator too! I wish every restaurant had one!

    I always get the burrito bowl with black beans and fajita veggies. With all my fixings it clocks in at 545. If only I could go without guac it would be under 400 calories, but alas, I love their guac way too much! It’s good fat, right??? 🙂

  4. DomestiGals says:

    …and now I am drooling all over my keyboard. Thank you for decreasing the guilt level of splurging on Chipotle!

    DomestiGal Jen

  5. Meg says:

    I love Chipotle. It’s one of the places I go to when I’m feeling like treating myself to fast food, and I always feel full afterward. I actually took to getting a burrito, with all my favorite fixin’s, and cutting it in half. I’ll eat one half at a time to keep the calorie count down, sometimes supplementing it with a salad. That way I can get the Guac and the Cheese and the Sour Cream, and still keep it at a sane calorie count ^_^

    I’m thinkin my “free day” this week will be spent at Chipotle now ^_^

  6. HangryPants says:

    I like to get the salad at chipotle. Well actually, I like to get giant burritos, but alas, I usally get salad.

  7. Sagan says:

    Haven’t ever been to Chipotle. Maybe we don’t have it in Canada? Good review 🙂

  8. justjuliebean says:

    Half the fun of eating a burrito is the food log experience! I just had a burrito last night, I go to a place that has real vegetarian brown rice (don’t know about Chipotle, but most places use chicken stock). My burrito is brown rice, whole beans, melted cheese, and large piles of salsa. And a few chips. It’s a huge meal, and I eat it no more than once a week, and usually don’t need the next meal. I detest sour cream, don’t care for meat, don’t trust guacamole I don’t make myself (sometimes it has sour cream), so it’s simple, sort of healthy, HUGE meal. I have no idea how many calories are in the tamarind juice I tend to get on the rare occasion that they have it, and I’m sure it’s got some sugar, but I have that even less than the burrito.

  9. Diana says:

    Darnit with all this talk of a fast food place that lets you have it your way, plus is concerned with organic meat I WANT ONE WERE I AM!!

  10. Sara-Ann says:

    Chipotle is a staple in our house…I’m a huge fan of barbacoa with all of the salsas and peppers…YUM!

  11. Tish says:

    you guys ROCK! i lOVE LOVE LOVE chipotle (say this like ozzie) and you just made it so much easier to love it without feeling like a criminal. i can never finish one in a sitting so dividing the 520 into two is music to my ears.

    i heart the fbgs!!!

  12. NatNibbles says:

    Good tips! I LOVE Chipotle.

  13. Kate says:

    I wish I could understand everyone’s love for Chipotle–I wish I could love Chipotle–but alas, I cannot. It tastes like a bad, overprocessed rip off of really good Mexican food. Can someone show me the light?

  14. Nutritious is Delicious says:

    That looks delicious! I have never been there!

  15. Anonymous says:

    isn’t Chipotle owned by McDonalds?

  16. Mary says:

    I love the bowl! Never even tried a burrito there, didn’t want to spend the extra points for them. I do a chicken bowl with rice, extra salsa easy cheese and sour cream.

  17. Amy says:

    Kate, I’m with you. The meat never tastes quite right. And maybe they do start with quality meat, but it’s so over-salted and weirdly spiced, it does taste like standard over-processed fast food. I do like the nutrition calculator, but the problem is that it can’t be accurate since the people making the burritos just slop the ingredients on without measuring, so you’re never quite sure how much you’re actually getting. So it can vary by hundreds of calories. But that’s just me. People like what they like, so if you love it and it fits into your lifestyle, go for it.

  18. Kellie says:

    I actually love tortillas so much that I started getting the tacos instead (without rice). I am not a meat lover too much, so I have them put black beans and pinto beans instead and never miss it. Next comes as many salsas as will fit and lots of lettuce. I’ve found I can even have the cheese AND sour cream using this method and still keep it under a reasonable calorie count. Absolutely delish.

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