One of the best kept secrets in the world of fast food is that you can actually eat pretty healthy at most establishments.  Sure it may take a lot of self will to walk into a Chick Fil A and get grilled chicken instead of that heavenly fried filet, but if you really do scout out your options there a good lot of options out there for eating on the run.  One of which, that has become my fiancé and I’s personal favorite during our Wedding diet, is Chipotle.

Sure there are a lot of potential land mines here including the burritos that are wrapped up in a 290 calorie edible tent and the sour cream which has 7 grams of saturated fat in one serving.  But if you avoid some of these potential pit falls and you say “a tiny bit of cheese” you’ll be able to enjoy some amazingly tasty and fresh ingredients without the mid afternoon nap crash.  Plus Chipotle has some of the finest ingredients on the market, with locally sourced meat, fresh veggies without antibiotics, and some of the best guacamole this world has to offer.

How do eat at Chipotle and stay under 400 calories? It’s actually not that hard when you get a salad.  First of all, I typically get chicken or the mindblowingly tasty barbacoa on my salad, but for the sake of this review, I went sans meat to show you how much filling food you can get even while staying vegetarian.  Second of all, skip the vinaigrette, it packs 260 needless calories because the salsa more than makes up for it.

My salad starts off with a bed of romaine lettuce, followed by a layering of black beans.  The black beans have 11 grams of fiber, 7 grams of protein and only 120 calories.  This is a dieters dream.  Next I get a heaping helping of the fajita veggies.  With freshly sliced green bell peppers and red onions sautéed in soybean oil and tossed in oregano, these hearty veggies provide crunch, flavor and a mind numbing 20 calories.  Next load up on three salsas. Yeah that’s right three.  Go with the fresh tomato salsa that is essentially pico de gallo (mild), the roasted chili corn salsa adds in some zip and some hearty corn texture, and top it off with the tomatillo-green chili salsa for a nice spunk.  These three salsa add tons of veggies, tons of flavor, and only adds on 115 calories (80 of which come from the corn variety).

So take a look at this wild and exotic looking salad.  Very colorful and extremely tasty.  The wild variety of vegetables, zip and zest of the salsa, and the hearty black beans give you a very nutritious feast that will leave you full for hours.  Would you believe me if I told you that this salad has 265 calories, 3 grams of fat, while packing 14 grams of fiber, and 11 grams of protein?  Add in the chicken and it will only cost you 160 calories while slamming you with 32 grams more of protein.  Insanely tasty and insanely nutritious.

I’m going to give the Vegetarian Salad from Chipotle an A- for nutrition because adding chicken greatly enhances the protein, which makes the meal all the more nutritious and filling while staying under 500 calories.  As far as taste, the Vegetarian salad scores a solid B+ which is pretty astounding for me considering a carnivore like me barely even noticed the missing meat element.

Chipotle Vegetarian Salad:

Nutrition: A-
Taste: B+

~Fast Food Geek