Is Chipotle Healthy? I Asked 2 Nutritionists to Find Out

You're craving McDonald's, but decide to be a bit more virtuous and opt for Chipotle instead. But wait—is Chipotle healthy? After all, it’s basically fast food; what could possibly be nutritious about overstuffed burritos, bowls and tacos? I'm pleased to inform you that it actually can be a healthy choice, largely due to the chain's endlessly versatile menu and the quality of its ingredients. But you don’t have to take their word for it—Chipotle is also nutritionist approved. My co-author and I spoke to two experts to figure out what people should (and shouldn't) order there when they're trying to eat well.

How to Eat Vegan at Chipotle (It’s Easier Than You Think)

Meet the Experts

Is Chipotle Healthy?


“I would consider Chipotle a healthy option, and I am impressed by how they have considered the health of their customers by revising their ingredient list and removing preservatives and unnecessary additives,” says Leonard.

The chain’s menu is created entirely from a list of 53 “clean” ingredients, but not all of them are going to nourish you in the same way. To ensure you’re making the best decisions when hitting up the fast-casual restaurant, Leonard has armed us with tips for eating healthy at Chipotle below.

What Not to Order at Chipotle If You’re Trying to Eat Healthy



  • Burritos

  • Tacos

  • Quesadillas

  • Chips

  • Queso

  • Cheese

  • Sour cream

  • White rice

  • Sofritas

  • Carnitas

That list of Chipotle's 53 ingredients includes many options that will make your doctor happy, all while pleasing your palate. But some should avoided if you’re being health-conscious.

“I’d stay away from the chips and queso,” says Leonard. “This combo is high in total fat and saturated fat.” She also recommends skipping bottled or fountain drinks and opting for water instead to save yourself ~200 calories. Choose brown rice over white to add fiber and protein that will keep you feeling fuller longer, and breeze right by the cheese and sour cream (or ask for just a little bit to get the taste without too many extra calories).

To avoid a whopping 320 calories and 50 grams of carbohydrates—the equivalent of four slices of bread—swap out the tortilla that Chipotle’s burritos are wrapped in and go with a bowl instead. “Load up on as many vegetables as you can to fill you up, and skip the rice entirely. If you really want rice, ask them to go light on the brown rice,” Leonard says.

Sofritas (a plant-based protein made from soy) are cooked with added sugars, and the carnitas are higher in saturated fat than steak or chicken, according to our pro, making them less nutritious options than Chipotle’s other proteins.

What to Order Instead



  • Bowls

  • Salads

  • Guacamole (sparingly)

  • Steak

  • Chicken

  • Brown rice

  • All the veggies your heart desires

An exception to the low-fat rule is guacamole. “Guac has some plant-based saturated fat but mostly contains monounsaturated fats (similar to olives and olive oil), which are heart-healthy fats,” Leonard says. Even so, keep a close eye on the amount of guacamole on your burrito bowl and don’t ask for extra.

The steak at Chipotle is a lean cut, so you don’t have to feel guilty if you find yourself with a sudden hankering for red meat, and we all know that chicken is a healthy choice. The chain is also a great place to avoid meat altogether, as there are plenty of vegan and vegetarian choices on the menu. Load up on fiber-rich veggies too, Leonard advises.

The 5 Healthiest Orders at Chipotle

1. Veggie Full Bowl

  • Nutrition Information: 695 calories, 29g fat, 95g carbs, 18g protein, 10g sugar, 19g fiber

  • Make It Healthy: substitute brown rice, ask for less guac

One perk of going total veg at Chipotle? Guacamole is on the house. (If that doesn't make even staunch carnivores skip meat, we don't know what will.) This Lifestyle Bowl includes white rice, black beans, fajita veggies, tomato salsa, roasted chili-corn salsa and guac. You can substitute pinto beans for black, brown rice for white and ask for the guac on the side or a smaller portion.

2. Chicken Salad

  • Nutritional Information: 745 calories, 29g fat, 81g carbs, 45g protein, 14g sugar, 10g fiber

  • Make It Healthy: skip the chipotle honey vinaigrette to minimize sugar

All Chipotle salads start with a base of supergreens lettuce blend—which is a mix of romaine, baby kale and baby spinach—and end with chipotle-honey vinaigrette. Everything in between is up to you, from proteins and beans to grains and toppings. Salads come with a side of chipotle honey vinaigrette, which ups the sugar count. For minimal sugar, don’t add corn salsa to your salad and skip the dressing.

3. Veggie Salad

  • Nutrition Information: 575 calories, 28g fat, 70g carbs, 14g protein, 2g sugar, 16g fiber

  • Make It Healthy: skip the chipotle honey vinaigrette to minimize sugar

Romaine lettuce and guac serve as the base here. They can be topped with your choice of rice, beans and any veggie toppings. Ask for extra salsa in place of the dressing to bring down the sugar content (and make the meal vegan).

4. Plant Powered Bowl


  • Nutritional Information: 720 calories, 38g fat, 83g carbs, 18g protein, 13g sugar, 16g fiber

  • Make It Healthy: ask for brown rice, sub a different protein for sofritas if desired, ask for less guac

This Lifestyle Bowl is one of the tastiest, most filling options on the menu for plant-based eaters. It starts with the supergreens lettuce blend, which is then topped with white rice, sofritas, fajita veggies, tomato salsa, roasted chili-corn salsa and guacamole. If you’re very sensitive to wheat, nix the corn salsa to avoid potential cross-contact.

5. Wholesome Bowl


  • Nutritional Information: 530 calories, 36g fat, 19g carbs, 32g protein, 4g sugar, 9g fiber

  • Make It Healthy: opt for steak or chicken, ask for less guac

This Lifestyle Bowl includes the supergreens lettuce blend, chicken, fajita veggies, tomato salsa and guacamole. It’s Whole30-, Paleo- and keto-friendly alike. Low-carb dieters will rejoice at first bite, promise.

How to Eat Whole30, Paleo, Keto and More at Chipotle


Attention Whole30, Paleo, keto, vegan, vegetarian and high-protein dieters: Chipotle’s got your back. The restaurant has an entire line of bowls and salads (called Lifestyle Bowls) dedicated to these specific diets in order to better serve their customers who are trying to stick to more specific meal plans. “They are full of veggies, have a healthy fat source and a good amount of protein,” Leonard says.

Pro Tip: Consider Saving Half Your Meal for Later (Or Not)

We hear it all the time: If you’re going to eat out, you should try to have about half of what’s on your plate and bring the rest home for a second meal, because restaurant portions are so big. This definitely applies at Chipotle if you’re getting something with high calorie and fat totals. Or you can go for a healthier option, like a bowl or salad, and eat to your stomach’s heart’s content.

“You can order a bowl with steak, vegetables, lettuce, salsa, a sprinkle of cheese, black beans and guacamole for around 400 calories and 30 grams of carbohydrates,” says Leonard. “This would be fine for anyone following a regular healthy-eating plan.”

How to Eat Gluten Free at Chipotle: 7 Wheatless Menu Items Worth Devouring