I have discovered something truly remarkable. As anyone who knows me knows, I am a big Chipotle fan. My Chipotle of choice is a Chicken Fajita Burrito. Of course, this type of fare is not what one would usually consider “diet food”. I think a Fajita Burrito weighs in around 2 lbs. At least it feels like 2 lbs. in your stomach once you’ve eaten the Fajita Burrito.
Last summer I emailed customer service at Chipotle via a questions form on the Chipotle website. I asked them for a nutritional breakdown of a typical Fajita Burrito. The reply I got stated that they did not have a nutritional breakdown for their products and did not have plans to have one done. I was less than chuffed to hear that but assumed that most people really didn’t want to know what they are doing to their bodies when they eat a 2 pound burrito.
So I took it upon myself to figure it out. I am the proud owner of the fantastic program NutriBase, Clinical Edition. This is the version that dietitians use to figure out - to the nth detail - what their clients should eat, are eating, etc. I created a new “meal” in the system and added all of the ingredients of my Chipotle Chicken Fajita Burrito to the meal. Actually, I calculated the Burrito Bowl not the actual Burrito as I have given up the tortilla. For reference, I added the following ingredients in the listed amounts:
1 cup of grilled chicken breast, chopped
1.5 cups of white rice
1⁄2 cup of yellow corn, unsalted
1⁄2 cup of lettuce (negligible effect on the nutritional content)
3 tablespoons of sour cream
1⁄2 cup of queso chihuahua
The results were quite surprising. The nutritional breakdown is as follows:
Carbohydrates: ~95 grams
Protein: ~67 grams
Fat: ~19 grams
The shocking revelation is that these calories are in the 40-30-30 ration prescribed in The Zone Diet by Dr. Barry Sears. While the total overall caloric intake is about double the maximum for a given meal, the ratio is exactly right. Get a Chipotle Fajita Burrito Bowl for lunch, eat half and save half for dinner and you are good to go. Adding 1⁄2 cup of tomatoes (the way my wife likes her Chipotle) adds only about 20 calories to the entire meal. Adding the tortilla, however, adds a ton of carbs and pretty much ruins the Zone ratio.
Anyway, so the next time you have a craving for Chipotle and feel like you are going to blow your diet, don’t beat yourself up. Chipotle serves great food and, in moderation, its quite healthy.