June 23, 2021

Volcano Sushi Vancouver

The Fitness Enthusiasts

18 Healthier Options at Taco Bell

If you’re trying to eat healthier or follow a specific eating plan, fast food can quickly throw a wrench in your plans.

Most fast food is loaded with calories, fat, and refined carbs yet short on fruits and vegetables — unless you order a salad.

Fortunately, the food chain Taco Bell offers several options that suit low calorie, vegetarian, vegan, low carb, keto, or high protein diets.

Here are 18 healthier menu options at Taco Bell, along with ways to make your order a little more nutritious.

These menu items are all under 200 calories. However, they’re also fairly small and you may need a couple of them to make a complete meal that’ll keep you feeling full.

Choose two or three of the highest-protein options and request extra lettuce or tomatoes to make this a larger, more complete meal.

1. Crunchy Taco

The Crunchy Taco comes with seasoned beef, lettuce, and cheese in a crunchy taco shell. One Crunchy Taco contains (1):

  • Calories: 170
  • Protein: 8 grams
  • Fat: 9 grams
  • Carbs: 13 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Sodium: 310 mg

2. Soft Taco

Taco Bell’s Soft Taco is identical to the Crunchy Taco but made with a soft tortilla. It contains seasoned beef, lettuce, and cheese. One Soft Taco provides (1):

  • Calories: 180
  • Protein: 9 grams
  • Fat: 9 grams
  • Carbs: 17 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Sodium: 500 mg

3. Doritos Locos Taco

The Doritos Locos Taco features a crunchy taco shell made from Nacho Cheese Doritos. It’s filled with seasoned beef, lettuce, and cheese. One Doritos Locos Taco contains (1):

  • Calories: 170
  • Protein: 8 grams
  • Fat: 9 grams
  • Carbs: 13 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Sodium: 360 mg

4. Cheesy Roll Up

The Cheesy Roll Up is Taco Bell’s three-cheese blend rolled into a soft tortilla. In addition to being low in calories, it’s vegetarian-friendly. It contains (1):

  • Calories: 180
  • Protein: 9 grams
  • Fat: 9 grams
  • Carbs: 15 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Sodium: 430 mg

5. Black Beans and Rice

This bowl consists of black beans and seasoned rice. It’s vegetarian-friendly and provides (1):

  • Calories: 170
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Fat: 4 grams
  • Carbs: 31 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Sodium: 320 mg

6. Chicken Chipotle Melt

The Chicken Chipotle Melt consists of chicken, cheese, and creamy chipotle sauce on a soft tortilla. Protein-wise, it offers the best bang for your buck among the low calorie options and provides (1):

  • Calories: 190
  • Protein: 12 grams
  • Fat: 9 grams
  • Carbs: 15 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Sodium: 530 grams

Taco Bell has a Veggie Cravings menu with 18 vegetarian menu items. To make them vegan, request the removal of any dairy products. For example, ask to receive the meals fresca-style to replace any cheese and sour cream with diced tomatoes.

7. Black Bean Quesalupa

The Quesalupa is a Taco Bell specialty made with a thick, chewy Chalupa shell filled with a blend of cheeses. This vegetarian take also contains black beans, sour cream, lettuce, and tomatoes. It provides (1):

  • Calories: 590 calories
  • Protein: 22 grams
  • Fat: 33 grams
  • Carbs: 51 grams
  • Fiber: 9 grams
  • Sodium: 870 mg

8. Black Bean Crunchwrap Supreme

The Black Bean Crunchwrap Supreme is another Taco Bell specialty. It consists of black beans and cheese sauce under a crunchy taco shell topped with lettuce, tomato, and sour cream. All of this is wrapped in an extra-large tortilla and grilled. This option contains (1):

  • Calories: 510 calories
  • Protein: 13 grams
  • Fat: 17 grams
  • Carbs: 77 grams
  • Fiber: 8 grams
  • Sodium: 1,080 mg

9. Veggie Power Menu Bowl

The Veggie Power Menu Bowl is made with black beans, guacamole, tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream, and shredded cheese on a bed of seasoned rice. It provides (1):

  • Calories: 430
  • Protein: 12 grams
  • Fat: 17 grams
  • Carbs: 57 grams
  • Fiber: 10 grams
  • Sodium: 810 mg

Because high carb beans, rice, and tortillas appear in most menu items, Taco Bell meals generally aren’t optimal if you follow a keto or low carb diet. However, with a few modifications, you can enjoy a Power Menu Bowl (2, 3, 4).

Ask for a steak or chicken Power Menu Bowl with extra meat and no beans or rice. You’ll receive a Power Menu Bowl with meat, cheese, guacamole, lettuce, sour cream, tomatoes, and avocado ranch sauce.

Here’s the nutrition info for a chicken Power Menu Bowl with extra chicken, no beans, and no rice (5):

  • Calories: 290
  • Protein: 29 grams
  • Fat: 15 grams
  • Carbs: 8 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Sodium: 1,040 mg

If you’re not following a specific diet like vegetarian, keto, or low calorie, the best Taco Bell options are often those with the most protein. Because protein is filling, a high protein meal will satisfy you for longer than low protein menu items (6).

Note that while these options are high in protein, they’re also high in calories, fat, refined carbs, and sodium. Ask to receive them fresca-style to reduce the calories and fat content without significantly reducing the protein content.

Each of these menu options contains at least 20 grams of protein per serving with no modifications.

11. Quesalupa

The Quesalupa is a chewy, cheese-filled shell with seasoned beef, sour cream, shredded cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes. It provides (1):

  • Calories: 610
  • Protein: 25 grams
  • Fat: 36 grams
  • Carbs: 46 grams
  • Fiber: 8 grams
  • Sodium: 1,000 mg

12. Quesarito

The Quesarito is a Taco Bell specialty. This cross between a cheese quesadilla and a beef burrito consists of a cheese quesadilla rolled up like a burrito, filled with seasoned beef, shredded cheese, cheese sauce, sour cream, seasoned rice, and chipotle sauce. It contains (1):

  • Calories: 650
  • Protein: 22 grams
  • Fat: 33 grams
  • Carbs: 67 grams
  • Fiber: 6 grams
  • Sodium: 1,390 mg

13. Cheesy Gordita Crunch

The Cheesy Gordita Crunch is a signature Taco Bell menu item that consists of a crunchy taco wrapped in a cheese-covered flatbread. It contains seasoned beef, shredded cheese, lettuce, and spicy ranch sauce. One Cheesy Gordita Crunch provides (1):

  • Calories: 500
  • Protein: 20 grams
  • Fat: 28 grams
  • Carbs: 41 grams
  • Fiber: 5 grams
  • Sodium: 850 mg

14. Quesadilla

Taco Bell’s Quesadillas are made from chicken, beef, or steak, a shredded three-cheese blend, and creamy jalapeno sauce in an extra-large tortilla that’s folded in half and grilled. A Chicken Quesadilla contains (1):

  • Calories: 510
  • Protein: 27 grams
  • Fat: 26 grams
  • Carbs: 38 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Sodium: 1,250 mg

15. Power Menu Bowls

The Power Menu Bowl can be made with chicken or steak. It also comes with sour cream, shredded cheese, guacamole, seasoned rice, black beans, avocado ranch sauce, lettuce, and tomatoes. The chicken version contains (1):

  • Calories: 470
  • Protein: 26 grams
  • Fat: 19 grams
  • Carbs: 50 grams
  • Fiber: 7 grams
  • Sodium: 1,200 mg

16. Grande Toasted Breakfast Burrito

For a filling breakfast, you can get a Grande Toasted Breakfast Burrito with sausage or steak. In addition, this burrito contains shredded cheese, egg, potatoes, and tomatoes. The Grande Toasted Breakfast Burrito with sausage contains (1):

  • Calories: 560
  • Protein: 22 grams
  • Fat: 31 grams
  • Carbs: 49 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Sodium: 1,150 mg

17. Breakfast Crunchwrap

The Breakfast Crunchwrap contains hash browns, eggs, bacon, cheese, and creamy jalapeno sauce, all wrapped in a large tortilla and grilled. One Breakfast Crunchwrap contains (1):

  • Calories: 670
  • Protein: 21 grams
  • Fat: 41 grams
  • Carbs: 50 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Sodium: 1,270 mg

18. Hash Brown Toasted Breakfast Burrito

The Hash Brown Toasted Breakfast Burrito is made from bacon, hash browns, shredded cheese, and eggs in a tortilla. One provides (1):

  • Calories: 570
  • Protein: 21 grams
  • Fat: 33 grams
  • Carbs: 49 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Sodium: 1,270 mg

Here are some ways that you can make the menu items at Taco Bell more nutritious:

  • Ask for extra meat or beans. This increases the calorie content but also the amount of protein, which makes the meal more filling (6, 7).
  • Ask for fresca-style. This replaces the cheese, sour cream, and mayo-based sauces with diced tomatoes, reducing menu items by a few hundred calories each.
  • Ask for guacamole. The avocado used to make guacamole adds calories but is also an excellent source of healthy plant-based fats (8).
  • Choose a zero-calorie drink. Most soft drinks are loaded with sugar and calories that can contribute to excess weight gain, so choose water, unsweetened tea, or soda instead (9).
  • Pass on the sweets. Taco Bell offers frozen slushies and dessert items, but these get most of their calories from sugar, so it’s best to avoid them (10).
  • Use the online calculator. Taco Bell’s website features a nutrition calculator that lets you plan and customize your meal to view the nutrition information. This can be helpful when planning a fast food meal to suit your eating plan or preferences (5).

Note that like most fast food, Taco Bell meals may not be suitable if you’re on a sodium-restricted diet. Nearly all the meats, beans, sauces, tortillas, and shells are pre-made or pre-seasoned with large quantities of salt (11).

Plus, if you’re looking to stay away from food additives or highly processed foods, consider avoiding this food chain. Except for the fresh vegetables, most Taco Bell ingredients are highly processed and contain food additives.

This is worth considering. Emerging research suggests that highly processed foods may contribute to obesity and the development of chronic health condition like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer (12, 13, 14).

Highly processed foods are typically also hyperpalatable, meaning that they’re designed to taste extremely good. This makes it easy to keep eating even after you’re full, and it may increase your future cravings for highly processed foods (15, 16, 17).

Most fast food is loaded with calories, fat, and refined carbs. Taco Bell is no exception, though this food chain also offers low calorie, high protein, and vegetarian options — and with a few modifications, you can even find a keto meal.

If you’re limiting sodium or avoiding highly processed foods, Taco Bell may not be a good choice for you.

To make your Taco Bell meals as nutritious as possible, ask for your meal fresca-style with extra meat or beans, opt for sugar-free drinks, and skip the desserts.