Healthy Fast Food! What?! Is That Possible?

There are thousands upon thousands of fast food restaurants around the country.

And those fast food joints are teaming with fast food options that are filled with saturated fats and refined carbs.

Even the term “healthy fast food” seems to be an oxymoron. Is it possible to have healthy fast food?

The verdict is…

YES, it IS possible!

Now, even though we are surrounded by fast food restaurants and horrible unhealthy options, there is a restaurant that I can recommend that will provide you with a healthy, delicious meal.

But, before I name the restaurant, let’s talk a little about food in general.

To be healthy food, we need it to be:

  • as fresh as possible, organic and local produce is the best,
  • meat from animals raised without the use of antibiotics or added hormones, and
  • dairy from cows raised without the use of synthetic hormones

Now that sounds pretty good, right?  Well, I can tell you that if we ate food that met those 3 standards it would be delicious AND healthy!

OK, so back to the restaurant.

The restaurant with Healthy Fast Food is…Chipotle!

Chipotle actually follows all 3 standards that are listed above. In fact, they call it “Food With Integrity”. Pretty cool, huh? Don’t get me wrong though, you will STILL need to be careful in your choices of food at this restaurant because you can easily order a whole day’s worth of calories in one Chipotle meal!

See, if you were to get a Chipotle burrito with double meat, rice, beans, all the salsas, fajita veggies, sour cream, cheese and guacamole, you would have a 1500 calorie “gut bomb”!

Don’t over do it, do this…

It is quite clear that you can easily NOT be healthy at Chipotle. So, let me walk you through this.

Step One

First off, the burrito has to go! That soft flour tortilla is 290 calories that we don’t need. Instead, go for the burrito bowl.

Step Two

Second, it should be obvious, but don’t go for the second serving of meat. I actually don’t get ANY meat in my burrito bowl. If you do have to go with a meat, the chicken is the healthiest choice.

Step Three

Third, go with the brown rice over the white rice for a few reasons. There are fewer calories, less sodium and more dietary fiber in the brown rice.

Step Four

Fourth, the beans. Go black beans over pinto beans for the healthier option. The black beans have less sodium and more dietary fiber.

You can throw in the fajita veggies if you’d like. I personally get a veggie bowl, so I, of course, get the fajita veggies.

Step Five

The healthiest of all the salsas is the green tomatillo salsa. It has the fewest calories and the least amount of sodium.

Step Six

The final selections are going to be very tempting. I recommend staying away from the cheese and the sour cream. I opt for the guacamole, yes, it’s calorie dense, but those are healthy calories from avocados!

Step Seven

Do NOT get ANY chips. The chips are 570 diet killing, unhealthy calories!

The Healthy Fast Food Chipotle Burrito Bowl

There you have it! 7 steps to healthy fast food.

To the right is my usual Chipotle Burrito Bowl. When on the road, I’ll pass dozens of fast food restaurants just to get this healthy fast food meal.

You’ll notice that this meal is:

  • under 500 calories,
  • low in sugar,
  • full of dietary fiber (a whopping 21g),
  • a decent amount of protein, and
  • low in saturated fat (most of the fat is a good type of fat, monounsaturated fat, from the guacamole).

One bad thing you may have noticed is the sodium level. It is relatively high in sodium, but it could be much worse.

More Good News

A few other things that are great about Chipotle.

  1. You can check the calorie counts with the Chipotle Online Nutrition Calculator.
  2. If you have an iPhone, you can get the Chipotle Ordering app and order on the go. Plus you can save your order to save time.
  3. You can order vegan or vegetarian options. My usual Burrito Bowl happens to be vegan friendly.

Wrapping Up (no pun intended)

I hope you can see that healthy fast food IS possible! I highly recommend going for a healthy Chipotle Burrito Bowl when you are on the go.

Now I have a couple of questions…

  1. Did you click the “Like” button to the left? Go ahead and do it now if you liked this article.
  2. Do you plan on hitting a Chipotle any time soon? Tell me all about it in the comments below.

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13 comments… add one
  • Rachel B @ Busy Mama Fitness January 14, 2013, 11:47 am

    I LOVE me some Chipotle! And I love that their food is so fresh! Black bean burrito bowl (sans tortilla, of course) with fajita veggies and cilantro rice is always my go-to and I love that I can eat something on the go that is actually FOOD!!!

    • Lee Graves January 15, 2013, 8:53 am

      Amen to that! REAL food is always good! I crave Chipotle!

  • Angie deBorja January 16, 2013, 9:25 am

    Great article. Thank you for the tips! I need to stay away from the burritos I confess!

    • Lee Graves January 16, 2013, 9:30 am

      Thanks Angie! Yeah, stay away from the burrito and go for the BURRITO BOWL!

  • The Practical Social Media University January 16, 2013, 8:39 pm

    Thanks for the info! Great to know!

    • Lee Graves January 16, 2013, 11:01 pm

      You’re welcome! I hope you have a Chipotle near you for when you’re on the run!

  • Jana Upper90 Fitness January 17, 2013, 3:37 pm

    LOVE LOVE LOVE Chipotle and your bowl is almost how I do mine – I have always chosen cheese over the guac, but I could easily drop my chicken and cheese and do the guacamole since I usually consider that the splurge item! Thanks for the post and figuring out the calories for me in advance!

    • Lee Graves January 17, 2013, 5:51 pm

      The cheese is tempting! But the fats in the guacamole are better than the fats in the cheese, and both taste great! Don’t forget to check out that nutrition calculator if you make changes!

  • Rick Repin January 20, 2013, 8:15 pm

    I have never been to a chipotle but I will definetly use this info when I do get the chance to go. Thanks!!!

    • Lee Graves January 22, 2013, 10:43 am

      Oh Rick, you are missing out my man! You’ve got to try it! Download the app, find one near you and tell me what you think!

  • Paul M. @ DBIW Fitness January 21, 2013, 7:53 am

    Love Chipotle! Thanks for the great info.

    • Lee Graves January 22, 2013, 10:44 am

      You’re welcome. It’s easy to tell you about my favorite food on the run!


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