If you are like me, you cannot go a week without a gluttonous, guac filled, Mexican food fix. Although I have to admit I have been to Chipotle many more times than Qdoba because of proximity, both chains offer similar options and satisfy the most urgent food needs. However, which chain is better for you nutritionally, Chipotle or Qdoba? The answers may surprise you. 


JeepersMedia on Flickr

tea, beer, coffee
Maddie Lanier

If Your Go To is a Stuffed Burrito:

Lets start by looking at an average burrito order from the respective chains. Here is the nutritional info for a burrito with a 12.5 inch tortilla, brown rice, black beans, steak, cheese, sour cream, and guacamole (because you ALWAYS need the guac).

Chipotle- 1,225 Calories, 61g fat, 2070mg sodium, 49g protein

Qdoba- 1,140 Calories, 46g fat, 2410mg sodium, 61g protein

Okay, so a Chipotle burrito contains more calories and fat but less sodium and protein that the same order at Qdoba. Why? Based on the information we found on their respective websites, it looks like Qdoba gives a smaller serving size of guac, contributing to their lower fat and calorie count. Their steak also adds 5 more grams of protein than Chipotle, but has 130 more mg of sodium. So, obviously, there is a trade off. Are you looking for more protein or do you want to watch your sodium levels? Either way, you are consuming a little more than half of your daily caloric intake with one of these filling burritos.

If You Ditch the Tortilla and Go For the Bowl:

Now lets look at the nutritional information for an average bowl. The burrito bowl this information concerns contains chicken, white rice, pinto beans, pico de gallo, fajita veggies, lettuce and guac, obviously. 

Chipotle- 785 Calories, 34.5g fat, 2050mg sodium, 44.4g protein

Qdoba- 665 Calories, 24g fat, 1820mg sodium, 35g protein

There is a clear stand out here. Qdoba's bowl is 120 calories less than Chipotle's, and comes with less fat and sodium. There are more grams of protein in Chipotle's bowl, owing to the increase in calories, but do you really need that much protein in one sitting? According to nutritionists, a mostly sedentary woman only needs 46 grams of protein a day, making this meal almost your entire daily intake. If that is what you are into, go for it. Which ever bowl you choose, it is filled with good for you foods, but if you are really watching what you eat, go for Qdoba. 


In both meal options, Chipotle packed in more calories and fat, but sodium and protein levels varied based on the foods in the meals. Overall, Chipotle tends to have bigger portion sizes than Qdoba, owing to the larger calorie count. Chipotle also offers less ingredients than Qdoba, making it more difficult to make a healthy, low-cal meal. Qdoba offers several sizes of tortillas and even whole wheat tortillas, as well as a lite version of the sour cream. They also have add-ins such as queso, eggs, and shrimp, allowing customers to have a little more variety in their meal.

So, Chipotle or Qdoba? If you know what you like and do not mind a larger portion size, go for Chipotle. If you like to mix and match ingredients to make a more personalized and healthy meal, make the trip to Qdoba. Either way, you will get a filling, flavorful Mexican meal.