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

Taco Bell

Verywell / Christian Alzate

Taco Bell—one of the most popular fast-food chains in the United States—features a menu largely inspired by traditional Mexican cuisine. Its food options feature 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. 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. 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.

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.

What Experts Say

"Taco Bell offers a variety of dishes, including vegetarian and food allergy-sensitive options. You can customize most meals to include beans and veggies for a satisfying combo of high-fiber carbs, protein, fat, and flavor. The sodium levels are high though, so if you eat here regularly, make other meals throughout the day lower in sodium to balance your daily intake."

Willow Jarosh, MS, RD

Navigating the Menu

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.

What to Order & Avoid at Taco Bell
Most Nutritious Options Least Nutritious Options 
Soft Breakfast Taco Breakfast Crunchwrap
Crunchy Taco Fiesta Taco Salad
Bean Burrito Crunchwrap Supreme
Shredded Chicken Quesadilla Quesarito
Triple Layer Nachos Nachos BellGrande
Cinnamon Twists Cinnabon Delights
Black Beans Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes
Cheesy Roll Up Beefy Fritos Burrito
Veggie Power Menu Bowl Power Menu Bowl
Lipton Unsweetened Iced Tea Mountain Dew Baja Blast

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.

Most Nutritious Option

Taco Bell's most nutritious option is the Crunchy Taco, which contains 170 calories, 8g protein, and 310mg sodium.

Breakfast

The company's breakfast menu offers an egg-filled take on some of its most popular categories such as tacos, tacos, and quesadillas.

✓ Soft Breakfast Taco (Egg and Cheese)

Taco Bell's Soft Breakfast Taco (Egg and Cheese) provides 170 calories, 9g total fat (of which 5g is saturated fat), 15g carbohydrate, 7g protein, and 330mg sodium. 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.

✗ Breakfast Crunchwrap

The company's Breakfast Crunchwrap provides 650 calories, 41g total fat (63 percent DV), 12g saturated fat, 51g carbohydrate (17 percent DV), 21g protein, and 1,290 mg sodium (54 percent DV).

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 on 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

Taco Bell's taco menu offers a range of the Tex-Mex favorite with hard and soft shell options. Most of the tacos are offered with ground beef as the primary filling, but the menu also offers chicken, grilled steak, and even spicy potatoes for a vegetarian option.

✓ Crunchy Taco

The Crunchy Taco provides 170 calories, 9g total fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 13g carbohydrate, 8g protein, and 310mg sodium. Get your taco with grilled chicken instead of beef to pack more protein without adding calories. You can also save 25 calories by skipping the cheese. 

✗ Fiesta Taco Salad

Taco Bell's Fiesta Taco Salad is the least nutritious option among the taco menu (followed closely by the Double Cheesy Gordita Crunch). Though it has salad in the name, as is, the Fiesta Taco Salad is closer to a very large beef taco, providing 740 calories, 38g total fat (58 percent DV), 9g saturated fat, 75g carbohydrate (25 percent DV), 25g protein, and 1,110mg sodium (46 percent DV).

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.

Burritos

The burrito menu at Taco Bell offers a variety of options from the basic bean and cheese to their famous Crunchwrap Supreme.

✓ Bean Burrito

Taco Bell's Bean Burrito is one of their vegetarian burrito options and provides 350 calories, 9g fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 54g carbohydrate, 13g protein, and 1,000mg sodium. Order it "fresco" to save an additional 20 calories.

✗ Crunchwrap Supreme

The least nutritious option among Taco Bell's burrito menu is the famous Crunchwrap Supreme which provides 530 calories, 21g total fat (32 percent DV), 6g saturated fat, 71g carbohydrate (24 percent DV), 16g protein, and 1,200mg sodium (50 percent DV).

Quesadillas

Taco Bell's quesadilla menu offers options with grilled chicken, shredded chicken, and steak along with a non-traditional item called the Quesarito, which is a cross between a quesadilla and a burrito.

✓ Shredded Chicken Quesadilla

The Shredded Chicken Quesadilla comes in at 310 calories, 13g total fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 35g carbohydrates, 13g protein, and 705mg sodium.

Order it with light chipotle sauce ("easy sauce") to save 15 calories or with no sauce at all to save 30 calories. Instead, try spicing up your quesadilla 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 high in calories, fat, and starch.

✗ Quesarito

The Quesarito is essentially a beef and rice burrito wrapped in a cheese quesadilla, and it comes in at 650 calories, 33g total fat (51 percent DV), 12g saturated fat, 68g carbohydrates (23 percent DV), 21g of protein, and 1,390 mg sodium (58 percent DV).

Nachos

Taco Bell's nacho menu contains some of the company's highest-calorie meal options, though it's important to note that the highest-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.

✓ Triple Layer Nachos

The Triple Layer Nachos, which is the only vegetarian option, come with refried beans, nacho cheese sauce, and red sauce. With no upgrades, these nachos provide 320 calories, 15g total fat (23 percent DV), 2g saturated fat, 40g carbohydrate (13 percent DV), 7g of protein, and 480mg sodium (20 percent DV).

To add flavor with minimal added calories, consider adding diced onions (0 calories) or even ordering it supreme, which adds reduced-fat sour cream and diced tomatoes (25 calories). You can also order your nachos with "easy" nacho cheese sauce to save 15 calories.

✗ Nachos BellGrande

Taco Bell's Nachos BellGrande, on the other hand, comes in at 740 calories, 38g total fat (58 percent DV), 7g saturated fat, 82g carbohydrate (27 percent DV), 16g of protein, and 1,050mg sodium (44 percent DV).

Sweets

Taco Bell offers just two dessert-like options: the Cinnamon Twists and Cinnabon Delights. The high-calorie, high-carb Cinnabon Delights don’t have to be 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.

✓ Cinnamon Twists

The Cinnamon Twists come in at 170 calories, 6g total fat (9 percent DV), 0g saturated fat, 27g carbohydrate (9 percent DV), 1g of protein, 15g sugar, and 210mg sodium (9 percent DV).

✗ Cinnabon Delights

A two-pack of Cinnabon Delights provides 160 calories, 9g total fat (14 percent DV), 2g saturated fat, 17g carbohydrate (6 percent DV), 2g protein, 10g sugar, and 80mg sodium (3 percent DV).

The Cinnabon Delights also comes in a 12-pack, which comes in at 930 calories and is intended to be shared.

Sides

Taco Bell's sides are limited, with just a few choices from beans and rice to Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes.

✓ Black Beans

The black beans offer a vegetarian option with 50 calories, 1g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 8g carbohydrate, 2g of protein, and 135mg sodium.

✗ Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes

The Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes, on the other hand, come in at 230 calories, 12g total fat (18 percent DV), 2g saturated fat, 28g carbohydrate (9 percent DV), 3g of protein, and 520mg sodium (22 percent DV). 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

The "Cravings" value menu at Taco Bell offers a selection of $1 items that range in nutritional value.

✓ Spicy Tostada

The $1 Spicy Tostada provides 190 calories, 10g total fat, 2.5 saturated fat, 22g carbohydrate, 6g protein, ad 410mg sodium.

While the Cheesy Roll Up contains few calories (180 calories), it's higher in saturated fat and sodium. The Spicy Tostada also offers more nutrients with added tomatoes and lettuce and more dietary fiber, which makes it a more satiating option.

✗ Beefy Fritos Burrito

The $1 Beefy Fritos Burrito provides 440 calories, 18g total fat (28%DV), 4.5g saturated fat, 57g carbohydrate (19 percent DV), 13g of protein, and 1,000mg sodium (42 percent DV).

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 also reduces the sodium content.

Power Menu

Taco Bell’s Power Menu Bowls are high-calorie, high-protein meals that can be customized according to your tastes. That means it's easy to change the caloric content of these meals.

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.

✓ Veggie Power Menu Bowl

The Veggie Power Menu Bowl comes in at 430 calories, 18g total fat, 5g saturated fat, 57g carbohydrate, 12g of protein, and 850mg sodium.

The seasoned rice alone provides 180 calories of the total 430 calories. Consider ordering with "easy" rice, which is a smaller portion, to save 90 calories.

✗ Power Menu Bowl

The original Power Menu Bowl comes with chicken, but it can be ordered with steak for an additional 10 calories. Off the menu, the Power Menu Bowl provides 480 calories, 20g total fat (31 percent DV), 6g saturated fat, 50g carbohydrate (17 percent DV), 26g protein, and 1,170mg sodium (49 percent DV).

Drinks (Non-Alcoholic)

In addition to the typical soft drink selection available at most fast-food chains, Taco Bell also offers an assortment of slushy drinks called Freezes.

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.

✓ Lipton Unsweetened Iced Tea

The best option as far as beverages go is plain old water. But if you're in the mood for something with more flavor, consider a small Lipton Unsweetened Iced Tea (16oz) which provides 0 calories, 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g carbohydrate, 0g protein, 0g sugar, and 160mg sodium.

✗ Mountain Dew Baja Blast

Among the least nutritious drink options is the Mountain Dew Baja Blast. A small (16oz) cup comes in at 220 calories, 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 59g carbohydrate (20 percent DV), 0g protein, 59g sugar, and 65mg sodium (3 percent DV). A large (30oz) size ups the sugar content to 110g and calories to 420.

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

Diet-Specific Options

Depending on your individual dietary needs and preferences, you can also customize many dishes to avoid certain ingredients or alter the nutritional content of a meal. Taco Bell offers choices for vegetarian diets but ordering off the menu as is, it doesn't have strict gluten-free, low-FODMAP, low-sodium, low-carb, or diabetes-friendly options.

Gluten-Free

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

For this reason, Taco Bell does not recommend any items on its menu for people who have celiac disease.

Vegetarian

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.

  • Spicy Tostada
  • Veggie Power Menu Bowl
  • Bean Burrito
  • Black Beans and Rice
  • Cheese Quesadilla

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 sour cream or cheese, be aware that these items may have been stored or prepared alongside the ingredients you’re trying 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the healthiest thing to eat at Taco Bell?

The Veggie Power Menu Bowl with easy rice offers 11g protein, 12g fiber, and 340 calories, along with 90 percent of the daily value of vitamin C.

Aside from the Veggie Power Menu Bowl, there are a few other healthy options to eat at Taco Bell. You could also try the Cheesy Toasted Breakfast Burrito (340 calories), Bean Burrito (350 calories), or a side of black beans and rice (170 calories).

How many calories are in a Taco Bell taco?

A Taco Bell Crunchy Taco with ground beef, cheese, and lettuce contains 170 calories. Additional toppings, such as chicken, fresco salsa, or sour cream, or a side of black beans and/or rice increase the calorie count slightly.

A Word From Verywell

The occasional meal 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 for an occasional treat or convenient stop.

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2 Sources
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  1. Taco Bell. Fiery Doritos Locos Taco Supreme.

  2. Taco Bell IP Holder, LLC. Crunchy Taco. 2021.