10 Healthiest (and Unhealthiest) Burrito Fillings at Chipotle
When you’re craving a hearty burrito with all the fixings, we’re betting you’ve stopped at a Chipotle once or twice to satisfy your needs. The chain boasts freshly cooked proteins you can pair with warm beans and rice, homemade guacamole, and crisp veggies for a Mexican feast. While most of these dishes have plenty of vitamins and minerals thanks to the produce, you’re not in the clear just yet. A single burrito from Chipotle can pack more than 1,000 calories as well as tons of fat and sodium. And if you’re adding tortilla chips and dip as a side, be prepared for those numbers to dramatically increase.
Your meal may look innocent, but we have the facts. Here are the 10 healthiest and unhealthiest burrito toppers at Chipotle.
1. Unhealthiest: Sofritas
When sofritas were introduced alongside the chicken, steak, and carnitas options at Chipotle, vegans and vegetarians everywhere rejoiced. This tofu is braised and spiced with chipotle chiles and roasted poblano peppers, plus it’s certified organic. You probably think this is the healthiest protein option at Chipotle, but don’t be fooled — adding sofritas to your burrito or burrito bowl will add more sugar and less protein than any of the other options.
While it may seem attractive with its 145 calories per serving, it also has 4.5 grams of sugar and only 8 grams of protein. If your clawing hunger comes back within an hour of chowing on this burrito, don’t be too surprised.
2. Healthiest: Chicken
Chicken reigns supreme for lean protein, and Chipotle does a good job of keeping their chicken nutritious and spiced to perfection. They use poultry that was raised hormone- and antibiotic-free, and it’s been marinated in a delicious chipotle pepper sauce. Then, the chicken is grilled before being added to your plate. A serving is only 180 calories and has 7 grams of fat and 32 grams of protein. Not too shabby.
3. Unhealthiest: Guacamole
There’s no denying Chipotle’s guacamole is tasty, and who doesn’t love a nice heaping serving on top of their burrito or alongside their chips? You can try to convince yourself the guac isn’t all that bad because of how nutrient-dense avocados are, but if you’re watching your waistline, we highly advise skipping it. One 4-ounce serving at Chipotle has a whopping 230 calories and 22 grams of fat. With add-ons like these, it’s no wonder a single burrito can turn into a caloric nightmare.
4. Healthiest: Tomatillo Green-Chili Salsa
If you’re looking for a delicious and spicy addition to your burrito, we advise going for the tomatillo salsa. This topping begins with roasted tomatillos and crushed tomatoes, and then cumin, oregano, and cilantro are added. Two ounces of the spicy stuff is all it takes to add serious flavor to your dish, and the best part is you’ll only be adding 15 calories. Plus, there’s no fat or added sugar. You’ll even be getting some added nutrition from the fresh tomatillos and tomatoes as well. Go ahead, ask for an extra spoonful.
5. Unhealthiest: Chorizo
When chorizo was added to Chipotle’s menu, meat lovers couldn’t get enough. This salty sausage made from pork and chicken is a tasty addition to any burrito, but unfortunately, it’s also one of the least healthy protein options to choose from. In fact, it’s the fattiest protein on the menu — one 4-ounce serving offers 300 calories and you’ll be getting 8.5 grams of saturated fat, too.
The sodium level is also off the charts compared to the other options, as one serving offers up 810 milligrams. The one bonus we’ll give the chorizo is the protein content, but the chicken has just as much protein with half the fat and calories. Pass on this one.
6. Healthiest: Steak
You’ve probably been told to cut back on the red meat, but you can go ahead and indulge at Chipotle if steak is what you’re craving. This protein is marinated overnight in a chipotle pepper sauce, then grilled to medium-rare perfection before meeting your burrito. Each 4-ounce serving contains 150 calories, which is actually less than the chicken, and only 6 grams of total fat. You’ll be getting a solid 21 grams of protein in your meal with 15% of your daily value of iron and 10% of vitamin A as well.
7. Unhealthiest: Cilantro Lime White Rice
Every order at Chipotle comes with a choice of rice, but you should steer clear of the white grains. This filling sounds innocent enough — lime and cilantro are both natural ingredients that don’t add tons of fat or calories. Still, don’t be deceived. Authority Nutrition reminds us brown rice is a whole grain, whereas white rice has the bran and germ, the most nutritious parts, removed. This makes white rice an empty carb that will provide your body with a sugar rush and little else. If you’re planning to go for a long run, then the white rice is justified. If not, skip it.
8. Healthiest: Cilantro Lime Brown Rice
Opt for the brown rice for your starch of choice if you’re aiming to keep your Chipotle order as nutritious as possible. This whole-grain option is just as tasty as the white rice, but it’s packed with way more nutrition. WebMD says eating at least two servings of brown rice per week may be associated with a lowered risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Chipotle’s brown rice also has more vitamin A and iron than the white rice, and it won’t cause your blood sugar to spike.
9. Unhealthiest: Sour cream
You might not think your meal is complete without the dollop of sour cream on top (after all, how bad could it be?), but we advise stepping far away from the stuff. Though a tablespoon or two isn’t so bad, Chipotle really makes it count — they go for a 2-ounce serving, which adds 115 extra calories to your burrito. The sour cream also adds 9 grams of fat, 7 grams of which are saturated, and 38 milligrams of cholesterol. Even the cheese is a better option than the sour cream, so we recommend choosing that over this if dairy is essential.
10. Healthiest: Fresh Tomato Salsa
If you want to skip the sour cream but still add some extra flavor, go for the tomato salsa. This topping is perfect for those who like their burritos on the milder side, and it adds an extra hint of freshness that makes you feel good about your meal. Chipotle tosses their diced tomatoes with a mix of red onions, seeded jalapeños, and cilantro for a simple yet delicious salsa. A 3.5-ounce serving of this burrito topper is only 25 calories and has 14% of your daily value of vitamin C. Eat up!