If you’re trying to follow a somewhat healthy diet, the obvious choice is to avoid fast food at all costs. Most of the options are soiled with grease and laden with additives, and even the salads aren’t as healthy as you’d think salads would be.
Still, fast food is fun, quick, and sometimes just a necessary splurge, so don’t deny yourself 100 percent of the time. Just don’t overdo it.
Taco Bell has stepped up its game in recent years with its ultimate breakfast menu, taco bowls, and cinnamon-packed desserts, so it’s difficult to pass all that up. So pull up to that drive-thru or stumble through the doors after a night out, and order yourself some healthier options from the menu. Live más, my friends.
Breakfast: Egg & Cheese Grilled Taco
If you’re an early riser, there’s nothing more important than getting the proper fuel to start your day. If you find yourself at Taco Bell for breakfast, the AM Sausage Crunchwrap, which clocks in at 700 calories, is not the proper fuel.
Look no further than the grilled taco which, even with sausage or bacon, is around 250 calories. If you opt for the meatless version, it’s only 170 calories with 9 grams of fat, as opposed to the Crunchwrap’s 46 grams.
Another plus? It’s only $1.00. If you can’t make it Taco Bell for breakfast, try making your own hard shell breakfast tacos for only 40 cents more per serving.
Lunch: Spicy Potato Soft Taco and Shredded Chicken Mini Quesadilla
The smartest way to stay healthy at most fast food restaurants is to restrain yourself to the dollar menu, since it keeps your wallet fatter and your body slimmer.
None of Taco Bell’s burritos are below 340 calories, meaning that if you choose a side like chips and salsa plus a drink, your meal could be edging 800 calories.
One way to fill up without going overboard is to take two easy options from the dollar menu, so that you’re ultimately getting two entrées for cheaper than you would one smaller portion off the regular menu.
Choosing the Spicy Potato Soft Taco and Shredded Chicken Mini Quesadilla is a 430 calorie option, and if you can cut out the cheese and creamy chipotle sauce and add pico de gallo on both, you can cut 100 calories, the total fat content in half, and still get 14 grams of protein.
Dinner: Cantina Power Bowl
In a fresher style like that of Chipotle’s, Taco Bell introduced Cantina Bowls in 2012, which are considerably less heavy than a tortilla stuffed with meat and beans. If you’re not feeling a DIY burrito bowl like this one, Taco Bell’s offer a ton of carnivorous and meatless varieties so that you get exactly what you want.
All of the bowls are below 500 calories, but there are easy ways to make it even healthier. You definitely don’t need guacamole and avocado ranch sauce, even though avocados are one of Earth’s many versatile gifts, and you can ask for a smaller portion of rice.
The easiest way to get a healthier dish from Taco Bell is to ask for the “Fresco” version, which replaces the sour cream and cheese with pico de gallo. You’re still getting a meal packed with flavor without all of the added fat. Or you can just leave the cheese and splurge a little.
“Late Night Munchies:” Doritos Locos Taco and Cinnamon Twists
It’s definitely tempting to order Taco Bell’s complete menu to soak up the all that tequila, but the key to midnight cravings is to focus and limit yourself to a few options.
The Doritos Locos Taco, a fan favorite, is surprisingly only 170 calories, which is arguably more flavorful and just as messy as the 530-calorie Crunchwrap Supreme (seriously, just make your own).
Drunk food isn’t complete without some sweets, so choose the classic Cinnamon Twists, which have 12 grams of sugar, but are also totally worth it. If you combine the treat and the taco, you’re only at 340 calories, and you can burn some of that off if you walk to Taco Bell instead of taking an Uber.
If you can’t decide, order a few things as a group and just share. You will feel less terrible ordering four burritos, two Triple Layer Nachos, and a Caramel Apple Empanada if you have a few equally drunk friends to share with.