Of course, calories aren’t the only thing that determine whether a meal is healthy, but when we asked nutritionists for their take on Taco Bell, there was a lot about the fast food menu that they liked. “Overall, Taco Bell seems to be a healthier option for a fast food chain,” says IASI An sari, RUN, CSS, a registered dietitian and board-certified specialist in sports dietetics in California.
Much like Chipotle, Taco Bell lets you pick and choose for your order, which means you can do things like swap out starchy rice for protein-packed black beans and ditch fatty sauces for veggie-based salsas. There are several on TacoBell’s menu: steak, black beans, grilled chicken, and eggs, are all good choices.
Sodium The number one thing standing between you and a healthy meal at Taco Bell is the salt. Excess sodium can increase your blood pressure, which can up your risk of heart attack and stroke.
You’ll want to skip extra cheese, fatty sauces, and piles of rice. Simply add more lettuce and black beans to a steak taco to up the fiber and protein, suggests An sari.
One steak soft taco with cheese, extra lettuce, black beans, and pic ode Gallo for a punch of flavor is just 250 calories. “This meal is rich in protein and quality carbohydrates and overall, it’s less in calories and sodium than the other menu items.
Pass on the avocado ranch dressing and sour cream, and your meal only comes to 260 calories for the veggie option. With grilled chicken, shredded cheese, PICO, Guam, and extra lettuce and tomatoes, you have a flavorful meal at only 400 calories.
“I’d recommend asking for double the egg portion and pairing it up with a side of fruit (that can be brought from home) and a cup of coffee,” she says. To make it a healthy breakfast, skip the nacho cheese and increase the lean protein by ordering extra eggs.
Extra pic ode Gallo and a piece of fruit from home also wouldn’t hurt and will still keep you below 500 calories, An sari adds. This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses.
Taco Bell has always been a champion fast food spot for vegetarians and vegans alike due to its highly customizable menu that can adapt to any diet, whether it be low-carb or plant-based. “Literally anything on the menu can be customized according to one’s lifestyle,” Missy Schaefer RUN, TacoBell’s in-house registered dietitian, told with Thrilling.
Your favorites can also be made healthier by ordering them “fresco style,” which substitutes fresh pic ode Gallo in place of cheese, sour cream, mayo-based sauces, and Guam. Taco Bell even has a menu specifically catered to vegetarians, so if reducing your meat consumption is one of your goals, it’ll be easy at your local T- Bell.
As Taco Bell likes to describe it, “the power-up boost you get from the bowl is so similar to a power-up in a video game.” The Veggie Power Menu Bowl contains rice, black beans, cheese, romaine lettuce (see, vegetables), guacamole, pic ode Gallo, and creamy avocado ranch sauce. Skip the sour cream if you want to reduce fat and add a scoop of steak or chicken if you’re in need of some extra protein.
TacoBell’s, when created “fresco style”, rings in at a mere 150 calories with 9 grams of protein. Slather on some hot sauce and make your soft taco dreams come true.
Replace the added red sauce with pic ode Gallo to further reduce your sodium intake and up your vegetable consumption. TacoBell’s grilled breakfast burrito is under 350 calories and boasts 10 grams of protein, making it a satisfying, fulfilling start to your day.
This spicy total gives you the crunch you crave from a visit to Taco Bell without all the extra calories (and dusty Doritos fingers). At just 210 calories, with 5 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein, the spicy total is a great, more nutritious alternative to other crunchy tacos (plus it’s off the dollar cravings menu too, so feel free to go crazy and order two).
The eggs provide 5 grams of lean protein and the potatoes pack enough heft to satisfy your hunger until lunch rolls around. Skip the nacho cheese sauce to reduce your sodium and fat intake and start the morning off right -- for just a dollar.
TacoBell’s Grilled Steak Soft Taco, which boasts 10g of protein and only 150 calories, will give you the beefy flavor you crave without filling you up with too much fat. And if you’re looking to make your taco a bit heftier, adding a dollop of refried beans will up the fiber and protein. Courtesy of TacoBell.
If you’re trying to round out your meal, but still want food that can be nourishing, opt for a simple side of black beans and rice. This side is less than 200 calories and will provide some fiber and protein without being ladened with too much fat from cheese and sour cream.
Black beans and rice, paired with a simple fresco style burrito or taco, makes for a solid meal. Sign up here for our daily Thrilling email and subscribe here for our YouTube channel to get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.
In spite of the fact that you can get a taco in a shell made of Doritos, or nachos with enough fat for more than half of your day's recommended allotment, the Mexican-inspired chain has a few surprises for health-conscious customers. So keep an open mind, and check out these Taco Bell foods that are actually pretty healthy.
You can get a chicken or steak supreme burrito for only 340 calories each, both of which are filling, but low in fat. Even if you're not ordering off the Fresco menu, there are still quite a bit of relatively healthy options at Taco Bell.
Comprised of a soft tortilla, chicken, lettuce, and cheese, it's taco in its most basic form insofar as fast food chains go. Additionally, as of the beginning of the year, all the chicken that Taco Bell serves in the United States is raised without antibiotics important to human medicine.
If you order it, keep it basic, as making it supreme adds extra fat and calories that can tip things in a more unhealthy direction. A beloved staple all over the world, this classic and super healthy food pairing seems to be the one meal everyone can agree on.
It also has six grams of protein, making for a nutrition choice that your dietitian will approve. More rice options may be on the horizon though, so this dish may even be vegan friendly down the road.
If you're vegan you probably did, especially if you go on the road a lot and find yourself with limited food options. So it makes sense that a lot of these options mean eliminating higher fat items like sour cream and cheese, and substituting black or refried beans for the animal protein options.
Whether you order it vegan or not, the spicy total is another item at Taco Bell that's relatively healthy in and of itself. Basically, it's a riff on a traditional total: it's a flat, hard corn tortilla served with refried beans, topped with cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, red sauce, and chipotle sauce.
Note that the chipotle sauce is a newer addition to the (now spicy) total, which previously didn't have it. And unless you customize it, it's among one of the cheaper healthy items they sell, though I find it's better when you add guacamole.
It's also better than many other breakfast offerings at Taco Bell, which can quickly and easily eat into your daily allotment for fat and calories. Given that some Crunch wraps and quesadillas can have 500 calories or more (not to mention the fat), this is an excellent default breakfast choice.
You might not think of this as a healthier option based on the name, but the Cordite Supreme with chicken is actually a surprisingly balanced food choice. It differs from a taco or burrito in that it's served on flatbread, making for a thicker bite all around.
The beef version clocks in at 280 calories, but by that point the fat jumps (along with the protein decreasing) enough to warrant to sticking with the poultry option. It's a simple concoction of pinto beans, red sauce, and TacoBell's three cheese blend.
Unless you're sticking to the aforementioned vegan menu, this is an excellent addition to one of the other items listed above, such as a chicken soft taco or the beans and rice.