If you’re like most people, you’ve probably downed a Chipotle burrito recently. If you’re like Dr Jenni Bruning Brown, owner of Fly | A Fitness Revolution, you’ve eaten there twice in the last week. Really, who doesn’t love Chipotle? If you find yourself standing in line staring down that beautiful row of toppings, here’s Jenni’s advice on healthy hacks for one of her favorite fast food eats.
“My go-to order is a burrito with extra white rice, black beans, cheese, lettuce and corn salsa,” she says. “My husband and I split it. Together, it’s the perfect amount for both of us when we combine it with some fruit on the side.” Jenni adds guacamole on the side and eats the whole container because she loves it and those healthy fats are a good part of your diet.
Jenni’s food philosophy follows a very basic rule: eat things you enjoy and eat them in moderation. “It’s important to enjoy eating. Enjoy food and stop the battle with your diet,” she says. In her work with clients, Jenni says she has seen one too many people restrict themselves, creating a negative dynamic with food and developing an unhealthy relationship with eating. “Find a happy medium and enjoy eating out as long as you know how to make good choices. It’s important to enjoy some of the things you like, and do it often,” Jenni says.
There are plenty of healthy options at a place like Chipotle. The whole menu is made to order and the food is fresh, which is huge. It’s a healthy fast food option, especially since Chipotle got rid of artificial ingredients.
Here are Jenni’s recommendations for how to craft a healthy and delicious order at Chipotle.
- Go for protein. Whether you’re going veg with beans or tofu as protein or go straight for the meat, any protein is a good option. Beans provide about 8 grams of protein per serving. The meat options have tons of protein (between 21 and 32 grams per serving) and are a great choice if you aren’t a vegetarian. The only issue is that some meats have more sodium than others — some options have up to 500+ mg per serving!
- Skip sour cream, chips and queso. In general, these items have very little nutritional value and lots of empty calories. If you need something gooey, crunchy and/or cheesy, just have a little bit and be ok with it. Perhaps order these options only once every other time you go, or get half of an order.
- Get the bowl instead of the burrito. Remember that the tortilla has a ton of carbs, sodium and calories. “Unless you are on an intense workout regime, you usually don’t need the carbs or extra calories to sustain you,” says Jenni.
- Go green: fajitas, lettuce and yes, guac. Go for extra fajita vegetables or lettuce on anything you order. Veggies are always good and have tons of fiber, plus they are low calorie. Don’t feel guilty adding guac to your order. “Guacamole’s main ingredient (avocado) has the heart-healthy fats you need,” says Jenni.
- Rice is good. Brown or white rice, it’s up to you. Brown rice contains less sodium and more fiber than white rice but also has slightly more calories. Jenni suggests choosing rice based on taste preference.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean daily salads or restrictive diets. Just be mindful of getting the nutrition components you need and eating that queso you love so much, just in moderation. See you in the Chipotle line!