What to Eat at Taco Bell: Healthy Menu Choices and Nutrition Facts

Hand holding a taco filled with mince and cheese
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Since it opened in the 1960s, Taco Bell has become one of the most popular fast food chains in the United States. While most fast food restaurants offer variations on the staple of “burgers and fries,” Taco Bell’s menu is largely inspired by traditional Mexican cuisine. The menu features a wide variety of tacos, nachos, and burritos. The flavor and spiciness of each item can be customized to suit individual tastes and dietary needs.

Fast food is best enjoyed in moderation, as it can be high in salt, fat, sugar, and calories. Other than taste, the main appeal of fast food is convenience and price. If you’re traveling, for example, you may be hoping to find something cheap and easy to eat. If you’re counting calories or trying to limit your saturated fat intake, you may assume a trip to the drive-thru is off limits—but that doesn’t have to be the case.

Many popular chain restaurants, including Taco Bell, not only post its menu online but offer interactive tools to help people understand the nutrition information.

Looking closely at the nutrition content of the menu before you order can help you avoid one of the most common pitfalls of dining out: portion sizes.

Whether you’re at a sit-down eatery or a fast food drive-thru, your order will often include more than one serving. When you’re calculating nutrition information for meals or individual menu items, you’ll want to take this into account—especially when it comes to calories.

You don’t necessarily have to skip a higher-calorie option altogether, you just might choose to share the meal or reduce its total calories by substituting a lower-calorie menu item or drink.

Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to choose the options that best suit your individual dietary needs and preferences.

Navigating the Menu

Most Nutritious Options

  • Soft Breakfast Taco 

  • Crunchy Taco

  • Chipotle Chicken Loaded Griller

  • Shredded Chicken Mini Quesadilla

  • Triple Layer Nachos

  • Cinnamon Twists

  • Black Beans

  • Cheesy Roll Up

  • Soft Taco

  • Veggie Burrito

  • Lipton Unsweetened Iced Tea

Least Nutritious Options

  • Breakfast Crunchwrap with Sausage

  • Double Decker Taco Supreme

  • XXL Grilled Stuffed Burrito with Beef

  • Quesarito

  • Nachos BellGrande

  • Cinnabon Delights (12 pack)

  • Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes

  • Beefy Fritos Burrito

  • Fiesta Taco Salad

  • Steak Bowl

  • Watermelon Candy Freeze 

You can use the Taco Bell Nutrition Calculator to do more than see the calories, fat, and other nutritional information of classic menu options: it also lets you customize.

For example, the original Fiery Doritos Locos Taco Supreme has 190 calories and 11 grams of fat. If you order grilled chicken instead of beef and ask for no cheese or sour cream, it has just 140 calories and 6 grams of fat.

If you research the menu ahead of time, you won’t be as likely to get overwhelmed by your options or pick items that seem healthy but are actually higher in calories, fat, salt, and hidden sugar than you'd expect.

One of Taco Bell's best attributes is customization. Even the highest-calorie menu items can be altered to reduce carbohydrate, fat and sodium content, as well as adapted to individual dietary needs and taste preferences.

The original Smothered Burrito has 690 calories and 34 grams of fat. If you order it with chicken instead of beef you can reduce the fat content to 28 grams.

Skipping the cheese cuts another 7 grams of fat, and if you ask for the burrito without the creamy “smothered” sauce, you can reduce the total caloric value to 470 and the fat content to 13 grams.

Looking up the nutrition info before you hit the drive-thru also allows you to plan the rest of your daily dietary choices. For example, if you have tacos for lunch that are a little higher in calories than your normal lunch, you might plan to have a light dinner.

Breakfast

Most Nutritious Option

Soft Breakfast Taco (Egg and Cheese)

170 calories, 9g fat, 5g saturated fat, 330 mg sodium, 15g carbohydrate, and 7g protein.

Skip the cheese to save 25 calories. Instead, try adding a side of Pico de Gallo (5 calories) bringing the total calories for your customized breakfast taco to 150.

Least Nutritious Option

700 calories, 46g fat, 12g saturated fat, 1200 mg sodium, 51g carbohydrate, and 21g protein.

Most Taco Bell menu items, including Crunchwraps, can be ordered “Fresco.” This shaves off around 180 calories by substituting Pico De Gallo (5 calories) for extras like cheese, sauces, mayo, and guacamole.

You can also save fat and calories but customizing a Crunchwrap to have only some of the ingredients, but not all. Try having it with meat or cheese instead of both, or asking for no sauce.

Tacos

Most Nutritious Option

170 calories, 9g of fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 310 mg sodium, 13g carbohydrate, and 8g protein.

Get your tacos with grilled chicken instead of beef to pack more protein without adding calories. You can also save 25 calories by skipping the cheese. 

Least Nutritious Option

340 calories, 15g of fat, 6g saturated fat, 730 mg of sodium, 39g carbohydrates, and 14 g of protein.

You can reduce this menu item to 290 calories by skipping the cheese and sour cream.

Burritos

Most Nutritious Option

340 calories, 140g of fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 770 mg sodium, 36g carbohydrate, and 14g of protein.

Least Nutritious Option

870 calories, 40g of fat, 14g saturated fat, 1240 mg sodium, 97g carbohydrates, and 32g of protein.

While the Cheesy Potato Griller has less fat, the chicken griller packs almost twice as much protein for the same amount of calories. You can easily reduce the fat content of the griller by asking for sauce and sour cream on the side or skipping it altogether.

Quesadillas

Most Nutritious Option

200 calories, 10g of fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 490 mg sodium, 15g carbohydrates, and 10g of protein.

Least Nutritious Option

650 calories, 33g of fat, 12g saturated fat, 1390 mg sodium, 68g carbohydrates, and 21g of protein.

Try spicing up the mini quesadillas with hot sauce (which won’t add calories or fat) or lower-calorie options like Pico De Gallo or salsa.

If you’re picking and choosing add-ons for a more basic quesadilla, avoid items like potatoes, chips, and creamy sauces, which are all high in calories, fat, and starch.

Nachos

Most Nutritious Option

320 calories, 15g of fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 610 mg sodium, 41g carbohydrate, and 7g of protein.

Least Nutritious Option

750 calories, 38g of fat, 6g saturated fat, 1310 mg sodium, 85 g carbohydrate, and 19g of protein.

Many high-calorie nacho options (like boxes and combos) are portioned to share. While the calorie, fat, and carbohydrate counts may be high for the entire order, if you share with family and friends and are mindful of serving size, you don’t have to skip them completely.

If you’re just buying nachos for one, considering choosing from Taco Bell’s sides: an order of chips and salsa is only 180 calories.

You can also further customize an order of nachos (and reduce calories, fat, and carbohydrate) by substituting salsa for cheese sauce or beans for beef—or even go meatless.

Sweets

Most Nutritious Option

170 calories, 6g of fat, 0g saturated fat, 210 mg sodium, 27g carbohydrates, and 1g of protein.

Least Nutritious Option

Cinnabon Delights (12 pack)

930 calories, 53 g of fat, 13g saturated fat, 480 mg sodium, 104g of carbohydrate, and 9g of protein.

The high-calorie, high-carb Cinnabon Delights don’t have to totally off-limits—just enjoy them in moderation. For instance, if you get a large order to share with colleagues, keep in mind that one or two of the treats constitutes a serving.

It’s also possible to order just two Cinnabon Delights at the drive-thru for 160 calories. If you’re watching your intake of fat, however, Cinnamon Twists are the lower-fat choice.

Sides

Most Nutritious Option

80 calories, 1.5g fat, 0g saturated fat, 200 mg sodium, 12g carbohydrate, and 3g of protein.

Least Nutritious Option

230 calories, 12g fat, 2g saturated fat, 520 mg sodium, 28g carbohydrate, and 3g of protein.

While the cheesy potatoes have the same amount of calories and less fat than an order of chips and guacamole, they are higher in saturated fat, carbohydrates, and sodium.

Dollar Cravings/Value Menu

Most Nutritious Option

180 calories, 9g fat, 5g saturated fat, 430 mg sodium, 15g carbohydrate, and 9g of protein.

Least Nutritious Option

440 calories, 18g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 1000 mg sodium, 57g carbohydrate, and 13g of protein.

To reduce the calories in a Fritos burrito, opt for the chips instead of rice rather than having both. Ordering the burrito without seasoned rice saves 60 calories. Skipping the chips entirely saves 80 calories and reduces the sodium content.

Specialties

Most Nutritious Option

180 calories, 9g of fat, 4g saturated fat, 500 mg sodium, 18g carbohydrate, and 9g of protein.

Least Nutritious Option

760 calories, 39g of fat, 10g saturated fat, 1330 mg sodium, 78g of carbohydrate, and 26g of protein.

You can customize a basic soft taco to have less fat or more protein, depending on what you include. For example, swap chicken for beef to reduce calories and add protein or ask for light or no cheese to lower the fat content.

To make a healthier taco salad, opt for only beans, rice, and veggies. Removing the meat, cheese, sour cream, and crunchy red strips save 270 calories.

To kick up the flavor, try adding jalapeño peppers or Pico De Gallo for 5 calories each.

Power Menu

Most Nutritious Option

430 calories, 19g fat, 6g saturated fat, 940 mg sodium, 52g carbohydrate, and 14g of protein.

Least Nutritious Option

510 calories, 21g fat, 6g saturated fat, 1250 mg sodium, 55g carbohydrate, and 26g of protein.

Taco Bell’s Power Menu Bowls and Burritos are high-calorie, high-protein meals that can be customized according to your tastes, making them among the easiest menu items to change the caloric content of.

Go for bowls with only veggies, rice, and beans to save calories and fat. You can also ask for any sauces and guac on the side.

Drinks (non-alcoholic)

Most Nutritious Option

0 calories, 0g of fat, 0g saturated fat, 300 mg sodium, 0g carbohydrate, and 0g protein.

Least Nutritious Option

280 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 70 mg sodium, 73g carbohydrate, and 0g protein.

Water is always the most nutritious beverage choice whether you’re dining out or at home. When considering the other beverage options at Taco Bell, avoid fountain drinks and “freezes” made with syrups that are high in sugar.

At participating locations, alcoholic beverages are found on Taco Bell’s Cantina menu. 

Diet-Specific Options

Depending on your individual dietary needs and preferences, certain items on Taco Bell’s menu may work better for you than others. You can also customize many dishes to avoid certain ingredients or alter the nutritional content of a meal.

Gluten-free

Taco Bell does not recommend any items on its menu for people who have Celiac’s disease.

The restaurant recommends you use caution when ordering if you have a sensitivity to gluten. For example, even though tortillas and chips are often corn-based and don’t contain gluten they may be prepared alongside products containing gluten.

Low-carb

  • Black Beans
  • Hashbrown
  • Crunchy Taco
  • Mini Quesadillas
  • Mini Skillet Bowl

Low-FODMAP

  • Corn tortillas
  • Hashbrown
  • Nacho chips
  • Tabasco sauce
  • Toppings like cheese blends, red strips, lettuce, tomatoes, and cilantro

You’ll want to look closely at ingredients, as some of the major foods to avoid on a low-FODMAP diet such as garlic, onion, wheat, and beans are found in many menu items.

Diabetes-friendly

  • Regular or iced coffee (no milk or sugar)
  • Breakfast Soft Taco (egg and cheese)
  • Doritos Locos Tacos
  • Black Beans
  • Shredded Chicken Mini Quesadilla

If you’re adhering to a low-carb diet to help manage diabetes, you’re likely trying to keep your daily carb intake under 150 grams. While there aren’t a ton of low-carb options at Taco Bell, there are a few. You can also reduce carb counts for some meals by making swaps (like using lettuce instead of a taco shell).

Low-fat

  • Pintos ‘n Cheese
  • Spicy Tostada
  • Chips and Salsa
  • Black Beans and Rice
  • Gordita Supreme (Chicken or Chicken)

Low-sodium

  • Crunch or Soft Taco
  • Fresco Taco (Crunchy or Soft)
  • Chips and Pico de Gallo
  • Seasoned Rice
  • Black Beans

Vegetarian and Vegan

With its highly customizable menu, most of Taco Bell’s standards can be made to order without animal products. For example, you could build a taco or burrito that doesn’t have meat or cheese but has extra vegetables or beans instead.

However, it should be noted any food prepared on the premises may have come into contact with meat or dairy products and may have been stored or prepared on surfaces or by employees who have handled these ingredients. Additionally, many non-animal ingredients may have been purchased from suppliers that also produce animal products.

Some Taco Bell locations do have specific menu items and preparations for vegetarian and vegan customers, but it varies by region.

If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, it certainly doesn’t hurt to ask what your options are.

Food Allergies and Safety

In addition to providing the nutrition info for its menu items, Taco Bell’s website also offers a tool to help people avoid allergens, including fish, dairy, nuts, soy, eggs, and gluten. However, if you have food allergies it’s important to keep in mind that even if a dish doesn’t contain the allergen, it may have been prepared near the allergen.

Many items on Taco Bell’s menu use meat and dairy. While you can order many meals without meat or milk-based ingredients such as cheese, be aware that these items may have been stored or prepared alongside the ingredients you’d prefer to avoid.

For example, if you are vegan, you will need to ask if the Taco Bell location you are visiting uses the same fryer for meat and non-meat products.

While Taco Bell’s menu does not feature peanuts, tree nuts, fish, or shellfish, other ingredients used may have been produced in facilities that also produce those allergens.

A Word From Verywell

The occasional pit stop at Taco Bell doesn’t have to interfere with your overall dietary goals. Given the restaurant's highly customizable menu (with plenty of tasty protein options) it’s possible to assemble healthier choices from the items on Taco Bell’s menu.

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