Eating to Live on the Outside: Chipotle

It's Friday! And you know what that means? Time for another installment of "Eating to Live on the Outside." Over the past two weeks we've examined what Eat to Livers might order at Fridays and IHOP, this week Chipotle, the fast food chain (owned by McDonalds's) that bills itself as healthy draws the shortest straw.

Let's see what Chipotle's menu has to offer:

The first thing you'll notice: no appetizers, and no desserts. A solid start if you're trying to keep the calories, oils, dairy, refined sugars, and flours to a minimum. Makes it seem like this isn't just a place where you can scratch out a healthy meal or two, but your health concerns might even seem welcome.

There are five main menu items: burritos, fajitas, burrito bols, tacos, and salads. Here's where you start thinking about where the calories come from. Any of those with grilled meat, cheese, and sour cream at the center of the party are not going to have the nutrition density that you're after. Tacos and fajitas with fried meat are the lure to avoid. But hark! Choose carefully, and here we have fast food with the magic of greens and beans!

A vegetarian burrito or (fajita burrito) with guacamole and salsa could hit the spot. If you're anti-tortilla (that's refined wheat, after all) they'll stick all that stuff in a bowl for you, and they'll give you everything just the same, except for the "w." They call it a "bol."

Burrito bol with cilantro-lime rice, vegetarian black beans, and guacamole or fajita-style with sautéed vegetables, black beans, and guacamole. I could eat that, or a salad. The vegetarian salad comes with sautéed peppers, onions, vegetarian black beans, and guacamole. You can get fresh tomatoes as an extra. They even say they're happy to customize any dish as you wish, so I imagine you could get more fresh veggies piled on top. Think they have actual avocado back in that kitchen? That would be especially good.

As always we want to hear about how you handle eating away from home. Any tips? Check out the Chipolte menu and Email us at or leave a comment. How do you Eat to Live on the outside?

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Comments (5) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Mason Cooper - May 26, 2006 5:47 PM

This is a real coincidence - as I've read these installments the past couple weeks I was thinking they should add one for Chipotle. There is one located right across the street from my work and this is what I eat about 2-3 times a week for lunch. The burrito bol you described is exactly what I get too. I have them load up on the the beans, onions, peppers, lettuce, and you have 4 salsa's to choose from (mild, medium, hot, and a roasted corn salsa. I usually get all of them but the hot. I have a metabolism that doesn't quit and this is one of the few meals I find really filling. They are usually very generous in their portions too. Probably not the lowest in salt but that's my compromise.

Norma - May 26, 2006 8:21 PM

I love, love LOVE Chipotle's!!!!!!!!! I've asked them to put the greens in the bowl first, then a small amount of rice, lots of black beans, grilled veggies, the corn salsa and a medium one, and some guacamole!

This is the best! I like the greens underneath, because they're so lightweight and fluffy they kept falling off the top, so this way I get more greens too!

Christine Rapert - March 31, 2007 8:28 AM

Chipotle has seemed to be our default choice as a family for dining out because it is really our only safe option. And it's delicious!!! I always get the Vegetarian Fajita Burrito Bol with guacamole & lettuce. My 3 year old loves their black beans & rice (& they only charge me $1.50 for a huge bowl of it!) LOVE LOVE Chipotle! I'm trying to share ETL with others and have actually taken them to Chipotle to show them that you still can dine out and enjoy it!

Nancy Oder - April 15, 2008 5:28 PM

I love Chipotle!!! They'll custom make my veggie burrito bol, and I'm pretty sure it's totally ETL. Love the mild tomato and the medium corn salsa. No need for dressing or anything. The guacamole does that. Lots of flavor. And, since they don't automatically add chips I'm not tempted like I am at Moe's or at mexican restaurants, so I like that too. That's alot for $5.

Ellen - June 20, 2008 8:48 PM

Also try Rubio's and Baja Fresh. They have healthier choices too.

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