But eating all those burritos can take a toll – on your health and your bank account. The Hatchet talked to two dietitians to find out how to craft both a healthy and delicious Chipotle order.
Dana Magee, a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, said college students often come to her office and ask how to plan a nutritious and balanced diet. When juggling classes, student organizations and jobs, it’s almost impossible to avoid eating out. And when dining out, the cheapest options are typically the least healthy.
Magee said there’s a way to make smart decisions to ensure a more balanced meal.
“It’s really about the amount,” Magee said. “[Having beans] can be a good addition, but it can also be a lot of volume of food. You may pick and chose between either getting the cheese or getting the meat or you might just decide you’re going to have half the bowl for lunch and half the bowl for dinner.”
At Chipotle, Magee said to pick either the burrito bowl or salad. The lettuce and salsas are great choices, but for the dairy-lovers, students should choose a ping-pong-ball-sized portion of either cheese or sour cream.
“The brown rice has higher fiber, which helps us to to feel fuller and helps to control blood sugar and helps to decrease cholesterol,” she added.
Magee said guacamole is a heart-healthy fat, so adding that to the top is a nice treat. But, again, portions are key, and Chipotle is known for its heaping spoonfuls of guac.
Ashley Koff, a registered dietitian who’s appeared on “The Dr. Oz Show” and “Good Morning America,” advocates for making better quality choices to become healthier, or as she says, being a “qualitarian.” She says the best choices are balanced ones.
“What’s unhealthy is to not get nutrient balance, to skip carbohydrates entirely. Sometimes people will do that,” she said. “They’ll say, ‘Let me get a bowl of lettuce.’ They won’t get the grains. They won’t get the beans. They won’t get the rice.”
Koff also said students should opt for a bowl or a salad, but mix in fist-sized portions of rice or beans so they have the energy from the carbohydrates. When people don’t have enough carbohydrates, that afternoon nap will call their names.
“Fast forward three hours, that’s when they’re sitting in class and they’re dying and they either need two Red Bulls, a large latte, a coke or something that’s either sugar or caffeine or both to keep them awake,” Koff said.
Still, too many carbohydrates cause nutrient imbalance. If you must, have half of a burrito now and another after class to make sure you don’t overload on the carbs.
Koff, who frequents Chipotle at airports during her travels, usually gets the salad with either beans or sofritas, guacamole or a small amount of cheese and hot sauce.