The week of Christmas and New Years is one of the busiest travel weeks of the year. That means a lot of frustration. With the TSA, with traffic, and far too often, with food choices. This sort of frustration only continues at the turn of the year, and the return to work. You've made a renewed commitment to living a healthy lifestyle, but then life happens and you have to go out for lunch. The great news is there are healthy options at restaurants, and chains are required legally to have their nutrition facts online. With that in mind, we'll be posting a food guide to various restaurants in order to help you make healthy decisions while traveling, or just needing a quick lunch between meetings. The food guide starts with healthy food at Chipotle.
Chipotle is one of the best options for food on the go. They make a point of using fresh, local ingredients whenever possible, and the meat they serve is raised sustainably. However, like any restaurant, it truly comes down to what you elect to order while you're at the restaurant. Here are the steps to follow to ensure you are getting healthy food at Chipotle.
Protein is the focus at every meal, and it's no different at Chipotle. The best options at Chipotle for protein are chicken, steak, or tofu - which is called sofritas on the menu. There is nothing wrong with barbacoa, chorizo, or pork, but when you're unable to control the amount of cooking oil, going for a leaner protein is smart. Be sure to include steak, protein, or tofu when you go to Chipotle.
If you've ever measured the amount of rice chipotle actually gives you, versus the serving size online, you'll realize quickly that they typically give you between 1.5 and 2 times the amount you are supposed to get. Simply combat this by saying, "Can I get a little less rice than usual?" You should be shooting for about a fist's amount of rice.
Also, if you like them, always get beans. Either black or pinto is great, and they provide gut-filling fiber and additional protein. Yes, they have carbohydrates, but they increase the amount of satiety from the meal and will leave you feeling more full after.
The fajita vegetables, lettuce, and salsa are all free at Chipotle. Load up on these to increase your micronutrient intake for the day. Also, when they give you three strands of lettuce, simply ask for more. It's free, healthy, and gives a fresh crunch to your meal.
The place I see people's burritos or burrito bowls go from healthy to calorie-bomb is when the guacamole, cheese, and sour cream section comes up. If you were to get sour cream, cheese, and guacamole on your meal, you will add 500 calories - almost entirely of fat. That is an entire meal in itself.
With that in mind, pick one serving of fat and roll with it. Have either cheese OR sour cream OR guacamole. Not a combination of them.
Of course, if you want some of a couple, ask for half as much as usual.
Many people are afraid to speak up and ask for what they want. So they go through, don't ask for less rice, less cheese, or less of anything. Don't feel guilty doing this! People working at restaurants are very happy to make your food exactly how you want it. But they don't read minds. So let them know what you want, and keep your food healthy at Chipotle!