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Triathlete editor Brad Culp compares two similar options from competing fast food chains and decides which one is overall healthier.
Healthy Mexican food isn’t easy to come by. One way to make mammoth burritos tip the scales to less than 1,000 calories is to go vegetarian. With so many flavors packed inside a tortilla, even carnivores will hardly notice that the beef, chicken or carnitas are missing. Since eating healthy at Taco Bell is absolutely impossible, this month’s meat-free showdown is between America’s other big burrito joints: Chipotle and Baja Fresh.
Unfortunately, there is no real winner here. Cutting out the sour cream and cheese from either option will save about 200 calories and a whole lot of saturated fat, but doing so will do little save your arteries from all the sodium. Since the burritos are a wash when it comes to nutrition, this showdown turned into a straight taste test with Chipotle coming out on top.
Baja Fresh (with cheese & sour cream)
• Price: $5.69
• Size: About 500g
• Calories: 800
• Protein: 32g
• Fat: 33g (17g saturated fat)
• Carbohydrate: 94g
• Fiber: 16g
• Sodium: 1,880mg
• Pros: Unlike Chipotle’s offering, it’s not overloaded with rice.
• Cons: You need to add a lot of pico de gallo to mask the fact that you’re just eating bland vegetables.
Chipotle (with cheese & sour cream)
• Price: $5.10
• Size: About 550g
• Calories: 800
• Protein: 28g
• Fat: 32g (16g saturated fat)
• Carbohydrate: 100g
• Fiber: 14g
• Sodium: 1,920mg
• Pros: It’s delicious and huge.
• Cons: Chipotle’s tortillas pack almost 300 calories, so a tortilla-less burrito bowl is a better option if you’re looking to drop a few pounds.
VERDICT: Chipotle’s fresher taste wins out.