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

Taco Bell menu items

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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 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 Mexican-themed chain restaurants, including Taco Bell, Del Taco, and Taco Bueno, post their menu online. Taco Bell also offers interactive tools to help people understand 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.

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.

Most Nutritious Options
  • Soft Breakfast Taco (Breakfast)

  • Crunchy Taco (Tacos)

  • Bean Burrito (Burritos)

  • Shredded Chicken Quesadilla (Quesadillas)

  • Triple Layer Nachos (Nachos)

  • Cinnamon Twists (Sweets)

  • Black Beans (Sides)

  • Cheesy Roll Up (Value Menu)

  • Veggie Power Menu Bowl (Power Menu)

  • Lipton Unsweetened Iced Tea (Drinks)

Least Nutritious Options
  • Breakfast Crunchwrap (Breakfast)

  • Fiesta Taco Salad (Tacos)

  • Crunchwrap Supreme (Burritos)

  • Quesarito (Quesadillas)

  • Nachos BellGrande (Nachos)

  • Cinnabon Delights (Sweets)

  • Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes (Sides)

  • Beefy Fritos Burrito (Value Menu)

  • Power Menu Bowl (Power Menu)

  • Mountain Dew Baja Blast (Drinks)

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.

Breakfast

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

Most Nutritious Option

Taco Bell's Soft Breakfast Taco (Egg and Cheese) provides170 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.

Least Nutritious Option

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

Most Nutritious Option

Taco Bell's 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. 

Least Nutritious Option

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% DV), 9g saturated fat, 75g carbohydrate (25% DV), 25g protein, and 1,110mg sodium (46%. 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.

Most Nutritious Option

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.

Least Nutritious Option

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

Most Nutritious Option

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.

Least Nutritious Option

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%), 12g saturated fat, 68g carbohydrates (23% DV), 21g of protein, and1,390 mg sodium (58% DV).

Nachos

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

Most Nutritious Option

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% DV), 2g saturated fat, 40g carbohydrate (13% DV), 7g of protein, and 480mg sodium (20% 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.

Least Nutritious Option

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

Most Nutritious Option

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

Least Nutritious Option

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

Most Nutritious Option

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

Least Nutritious Option

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

Most Nutritious Option

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

While the Cheesy Rollup 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.

Least Nutritious Option

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

Most Nutritious Option

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.

Least Nutritious Option

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% DV), 6g saturated fat, 50g carbohydrate (17% DV), 26g protein, and 1,170mg sodium (49% 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.

Most Nutritious Option

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.

Least Nutritious Option

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% DV), 0g protein, 59g sugar, and 65mg sodium (3% DV).

A large (30oz) size ups the sugar content to a whopping 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 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.

For this reason, Taco Bell does not recommend any items on its menu for people who have Celiac’s 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.

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.

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

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.

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 for an occasional treat or convenient stop.

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