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

Hard taco sitting on a table
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Taco Bueno is a popular fast food restaurant located in the southern United States. Its menu features traditional Tex-Mex-style tacos, burritos, and nachos. The chain opened in Texas in 1967 and has over 160 locations in Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Colorado, Alabama, and Texas.

As with other fast food restaurants that specialize in Mexican-inspired cuisine, the bulk of Taco Bueno’s menu features seasoned meat, corn and flour tortillas, cheese blends, and classic sides and toppings such as jalapenos, guacamole, and salsa.

Like the menu of its main competition, such as Taco Bell, many of Taco Bueno’s offerings are high in calories, sodium, and carbohydrates. However, understanding how the items on the menu are prepared, what ingredients are used, and what your options for customization are, it is possible to make choices that align with your specific dietary needs and preferences.

Navigating the Menu

Here’s a breakdown of the nutrition content of Taco Bueno’s menu. You can also use the information provided on the chain’s website to learn more about the ingredients used, preparation methods, and information related to food allergies.

However, compared to what other fast food companies provide, Taco Bueno’s website doesn’t offer the most comprehensive or easy-to-read information about the nutrition of its menu.

What Experts Say

"Other than salads and burrito bowls, choices at Taco Bueno don't offer many vegetables and most are very high in sodium. If you’re eating here on a regular basis, try to customize your meal to include veggies, or choose a side of beans to add fiber and protein to any meals that lack these nutrients."

— Willow Jarosh, MS, RD

Tacos

Soft or hard shell flour and corn tortilla tacos are a staple of Mexican-inspired cuisine. Taco Bueno’s menu offers mostly traditional takes on the classic, but you can also customize according to your tastes and dietary needs.

Most Nutritious Option

130 calories, 8g fat, 3.4g saturated fat, 7.7g carbohydrate, 241 mg sodium, and 5.8g protein

Least Nutritious Option

The Muchaco with beef

530 calories, 32g fat, 11.7g saturated fat, 48g carbohydrate, 967 mg sodium, 3.7g sugar, and 18.5g protein.

The Party Taco is a mini version of the Crispy Beef Taco made with taco meat, lettuce, grated cheddar cheese, and tomatoes. Similar versions of burritos and nachos are available in the lower-calorie “Party” version.

Unless you’ll be sharing the meal, avoid the taco, burrito, and nacho combo meals and platters. Most are well over 1,000 calories and high in fat and sodium.

You can also get a single Original Crispy Taco from the regular menu for 170 calories. If you aren’t a fan of crispy taco shells, a single Original Soft Taco with beef only has 180 calories, 8.9g of fat, and 15.8g carbohydrate.

Burritos

The burritos at Taco Bueno are customizable but use mostly traditional ingredients such as beef and chicken, refried beans, shredded cheese, Mexican spices, and chili. You can also get sides of guacamole, extra veggies, or sour cream.

Most Nutritious Option

290 calories, 12.6g fat, 5.4 saturated fat, 31g carbohydrate, 674 mg sodium, 1.5g sugar, and 11.7g protein.

Least Nutritious Option

660 calories, 35g fat, 14g saturated fat, 70g carbohydrate, 1598 mg sodium, 2g sugar, and 25g protein.

For added protein, a side of black beans is only 90 calories.

While the Party menu options for tacos and nachos are less than the regular menu counterparts, that's not true of Taco Bueno's burritos. The classic Party Burrito with beef has 340 calories and almost 20g of fat and nearly 40g carbohydrates.

Nachos

From a standard size of crunchy corn tortilla chips to fully loaded nachos, Taco Bueno has all the standard nacho offerings as well as party-sized platters.

Most Nutritious Option

230 calories, 14.6g fat, 5.7g saturated fat, 24.5g carbohydrate, 657 mg sodium, 1.8g sugar, and 7.3g protein

Least Nutritious Option

Mucho Nachos with beef

930 calories, 60.5g fat, 24g saturated fat, 83g carbohydrate, 2748 mg sodium, 7.9g sugar, and 36g protein.

For a smaller snack-sized portion, look to the Taco Bueno kid’s menu. Save over 100 calories by getting a regular order of chips without any dip. You can ask for a side of salsa (10 calories or less per serving) or make your own at home.

Quesadillas

Cheesy quesadillas are another staple of Tex-Mex style fast food. Taco Bueno offers basic cheese, chicken, or beef quesadillas on its regular menu and smaller versions on the kid's menu.

Most Nutritious Option

350 calories, 20.8g fat, 11.6g saturated fat, 548 mg sodium, and 15.9g protein

Least Nutritious Option

829 calories, 51g fat, 27g saturated fat, 52g carbohydrate, 1527 mg sodium, 1g sugar, and 40g protein

You can dress up a plain cheese quesadilla with your own veggies or ask for a side order of black beans, which adds just 90 calories and 5g protein.

Salads

Taco Bueno’s salads are higher in calories than some of the traditional Tex-Mex dishes. A basic salad bowl has over 400 calories. The taco, nacho, and burrito bowl salads can have nearly 1,000 calories and 70g of fat.

Most Nutritious Option

170 calories, 11.5g fat, 4.8g saturated fat, 13g carbohydrate, 355 mg sodium, 1.3g sugar, and 7.2g protein

Least Nutritious Option

980 calories, 68g fat, 22g saturated fat, 66g carbohydrate, 2158 mg sodium, 8g sugar, and 29g protein

While salads can be a healthy choice for a meal, the ingredients found in most fast food salads, combined with their size, can make them among the least healthy options. Creamy dressings and crunchy toppings like croutons also add a lot of extra calories, fat, sodium, and added sugar.

You can order a salad bowl without a taco shell and add ground beef or chicken, Mexican rice, refried beans, tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, and shredded cheddar cheese. If you skip one or two of the higher fat ingredients (like sour cream or cheese) it can be a relatively healthy meal.

Sides

You can select optional add-ons from Taco Bueno’s menu of sides, which includes refried beans, rice, queso, and guacamole. If you’re trying to be aware of serving sizes, or just want to have more control of portions, some of these sides can also be used as a base for a healthier meal.

Most Nutritious Option

110 calories, 0.3g fat, 0.1g saturated fat, 23g carbohydrate, 395 mg sodium, and 2g protein

Least Nutritious Option

282 calories, 22g fat, 9g saturated fat, 26g carbohydrate, 772 mg sodium, 2g sugar, and 11g protein

Refried beans are classic comfort food in Mexican cuisine, but they can be very high in salt. Black beans are a protein-packed addition to any meal that doesn't add a ton of extra calories, fat, or sodium.

Ordering guacamole or queso on the side will allow you to better control your portions. Serving sizes can be difficult to determine when these additions are slathered on a burrito or poured over nachos.

While a side of guac might seem like the all-around healthier choice since it’s made with avocado, it actually has more calories, carbs, and fat as well as less protein than the queso. However, if you’re watching your salt intake, you’ll want to avoid the queso which has nearly 800 mg per serving.

Desserts

Sweet treats at Taco Bueno only account for a small section of the restaurant's menu but are inspired by simple, classic, tastes. Choose from cinnamon churros, chips, and chimichangas.

Most Nutritious Option

Cinnamon Churros (3-pack)

200 calories, 15.9g fat, 4.3g saturated fat, 13.7g carbohydrate, 136 mg sodium, 0.9g sugar, and 1.2g protein

Least Nutritious Option

510 calories, 33.4g fat, 14.3g saturated fat, 44g carbohydrate, 450 mg sodium, 17g sugar, and 7g protein

If you’re craving something sweet, Taco Bueno’s dessert options can all be ordered in smaller sizes. You can get a single chimichanga or a small order of churros. An order of Cinnamon Chips only comes in one size. Despite being a simpler dessert, the chips actually pack more calories, fat, and carbs than the other options.

Beverages

Taco Bueno offers a standard selection of Coke and Pepsi fountain drinks. While water is always the healthiest choice, selecting a diet drink or unsweetened tea adds few, if any, calories to your meal.

Most Nutritious Option

Unsweet Tea (12oz)

10 calories, 0g fat, 1 carb, 11 mg sodium, 0g sugar, and 0g protein

Least Nutritious Option

Fanta Orange (40oz)

570 calories, 0g fat, 153g carbohydrate, 217 mg sodium, 153g sugar, and 0g protein

Diet-Specific Options

If you have certain dietary needs and preferences, you can navigate Taco Bueno’s menu or ask for customizations to a certain extent. While some menu items can be changed, certain ingredients may not be alterable.

Gluten-free

Taco Bueno Gluten-Free Statement

Taco Bueno does not claim “gluten-free” for any ingredients or menu items. There are Taco Bueno ingredients that are made without gluten containing ingredients but are prepared in a common kitchen areas, including common fryer oil, with the risk of gluten exposure; therefore, Taco Bueno does not recommend products for customers with certain diseases, including celiac disease. Customers with gluten sensitivities should exercise judgment when ordering products.

Low-carb

  • Party Taco
  • Crispy Beef Taco
  • Sweet or Unsweet Tea
  • Queso
  • Salsa

Diabetes-friendly

  • Queso
  • Guacamole (regular)
  • Party Taco
  • 7-Layer Taco Cup
  • Crispy Beef Taco

Low-fat

  • Party Taco
  • Black Beans
  • Crispy or Soft Chicken Taco
  • Burrito Bowl (no added dressing)
  • Chips (regular no dip)

Low-sodium

  • Churros (3-pack)
  • Cinnamon Chips
  • Kid’s meal Party Taco
  • Sweet Tea
  • 7-Layer Taco Cup (no sour cream, no guac)

Taco Bueno Sodium Statement

Nutrition values for fountain beverages do not account for ice. Depending on the sodium content of the water where the beverage is dispensed, the actual sodium content may be higher or lower than the listed values.

Vegetarian & Vegan

  • Black beans
  • Mexican rice
  • Cilantro lime rice
  • Cinnamon Chips
  • Tortilla chips, guacamole, and salsa

Food Allergy and Safety

Taco Bueno provides a chart on its website that indicates which menu items and individual ingredients contain or may have come in contact with the following allergens:

As is typically the case when dining out (or in any situation where you aren’t preparing food yourself) you can’t be completely certain a particular food item or ingredient is allergen-free. Cross-contamination of food allergens may occur during the production, transportation, storage, or preparation process.

Taco Bueno provides a disclaimer regarding allergen and ingredient information.

Taco Bueno Allergen Statement

Peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish are not used in regular menu items served in Taco Bueno restaurants. However, these regular menu items may be produced in common manufacturing facilities that do produce products with peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. These allergens may be used in test and limited time only offerings in certain locations.

A Word From Verywell

Like many other fast food Tex-Mex restaurants, the Taco Bueno menu is full of tacos, nachos, burritos and platter combos. With a fairly limited menu, you won’t have many low calories, low fat or low carb options to choose from. However, as long as you keep an eye on your portions, it is possible to enjoy a meal at Taco Bueno that is in line with your dietary needs and goals.

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