Healthy Eating at Taco Bell

by: BRIDGET CONLIN

 

I have a deep, shameless love for Taco Bell – T Bella as I affectionately call her. It is a relationship that I have nurtured and cherished since childhood. While I still have bottles of their hot sauce at home, yes you can buy them on Amazon, our relationship has evolved over the years. Taco Bell was a regular fixture in my life – everything from Crunchwrap Supremes, Chalupas, and Mexican Pizza Combos made an appearance at least once a week. However, I did reach the point when I realized I was no longer 7 years old and couldn’t fill my body with neon colored nacho cheese. Even now I still long for a Crunchwrap Supreme, but I’ve trained myself to resist its temptress ways. For this healthy eating adventure I wanted to prove that Taco Bell does have some options that aren’t completely terrible for you.

As with every healthy eating adventure here at Zenzy, the point is not to persuade you that it’s healthy to eat at T Bella (or any other fast food restaurant) every day of the week, or even once a week, if we’re being completely honest. However, we truly believe in the saying “everything in moderation” and know that it’s totally ok to treat yourself sometimes– even if ‘treating yourself’ means heading directly to your favorite fast food chain. That’s why we want to show you that eating out doesn’t have to be followed by a day of regret, or even worse– purging. Instead, you can confidently make a healthy choice no matter where you are, by following some of the guidelines we lay out in this nutritional info guide.

While deciding what to order at T Bella, I took to their beautifully mapped out website and hovered over the cartoon drawing of a Crunchwrap Supreme, but with great strength I made my way to the Power Menu. What is the Power Menu, you ask? Well, it’s T Bella’s “healthy” menu. The items on here consist of high protein, low calorie count, and reduced fat. I always look for high protein when ordering so I can have a good source of energy throughout the day. After looking through the options I decided to order the Cantina Power Bowl with chicken, but ordered it without sour cream, guacamole and avocado ranch as an effort to eliminate (unhealthy) fats. The rest of the bowl consists of chicken, romaine lettuce, black beans, rice, corn and pico de gallo salsa. You can customize the bowl to your liking on the website, so after making my modifications the bowl had 500 calories, 28 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber, and 12 grams of fat (only 4 of which are saturated fat). Despite my modifications, however, the sodium intake remained very high, at a whopping 1,110 mg– aka 52% of the recommended daily intake. This is one of the many reasons that we certainly wouldn’t recommend eating at T Bella on a regular basis.

While this was no easy feat for my relationship with T Bella (and the Crunchwrap in particular), I know I made the right choice with the Cantina Power Bowl. After seeing the sodium, fat and carb content in the unmodified “healthy” choice (before I removed all those extra ingredients!), it made me think about the years of burritos, Mexican Pizzas, Chalupas and all the unhealthy ingredients I was putting in my body. It was a reminder that Taco Bell isn’t a great choice for everyday eating, but should rather be an occasional indulgence. Check out the video below to see our grand Taco Bell excursion!

Editor’s Note: Zenzy Gals in the Tri-state area, we recommend avoiding the Taco Bell in Penn Station.

 

 

COVER IMAGE: Pinterest

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