You may associate a weight loss diet with eating only grilled chicken and steamed broccoli, and having to skip out on the meals and treats you enjoy most. Of course, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and high-fiber carbs can aid in weight loss, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give up fast food. Taco Bell, in particular, has several menu items that can work well in a weight loss plan. Although you may be much better off skipping their high-calorie items, sodas, and desserts, simple modifications can be made to many of their menu items to create a reasonable, balanced meal. If you don’t want to give up indulging in fast food, we’re going to tell you exactly how to lose weight while still eating at Taco Bell.
If you’re a Taco Bell fan, you can still head to the drive-thru when you are trying to lose weight. However, you will want to consider a few tips before you order. Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that an ideal weight loss diet should center around fresh food prepared at home more so than fast food. While drive-thrus add convenience to mealtime, this processed food could negatively impact your health if consumed too regularly. To make better choices on your next trip to Taco Bell, keep these tips in mind. And when you’re done reading, don’t miss How to Lose Weight While Eating At McDonald’s.
Tips to lose weight without giving up Taco Bell:
1. Avoid combos.
If you want to lose weight while still eating at Taco Bell, listen up. It’s best to keep things simple when ordering at this fast food chain. Many of the combos can easily soar into the 1000+ calorie range. Meals like this are likely to be loaded with sugar, sodium, and saturated fat, detracting from your weight loss goals.
2. Skip the sugar.
This means sugary drinks like the Watermelon Berry Lemonade Freeze that packs 53 grams of sugar into a 20-ounce drink. Opt for diet versions of soda, unsweet tea, or just plain water to avoid excess calories and sugar in your drinks. Lastly, if you want something sweet after your meal, choose a lower-calorie option at home instead of the sugary offerings at Taco Bell.
3. Make modifications.
Don’t be afraid to ask for adjustments in your order. Skipping the cheese or sour cream in a meal can drop significant calories and grams of fat. Similarly, ask them to go easy on sauces, many of which can add 70+ calories per serving. While sauces add flavor, they pack in calories, fat, and sodium and don’t contribute to satiety.
4. Make it fresco.
Asking for this modification will swap the dairy and mayo-filled sauces in your meal with tomatoes. This is great for those who wish to limit dairy in their diet and also helps cut back the calories and grams of fat in your meal.
To make healthier ordering seamless during your next Taco Bell visit, follow my recommendations below!
Healthy Taco Bell breakfast orders for weight loss:
1. Cheesy Toasted Breakfast Burrito Bacon
The Cheesy Toasted Breakfast Burrito Bacon comes in at 350 calories and offers 13 grams of protein. This nutrient can improve satiety in a meal, so loading up on protein is key for appetite control. To reduce fat in this meal, cut the bacon. This will subtract about 60 calories, mostly from fat. Add tomatoes for a nutrient boost, and pair your burrito with a serving of fruit from home to increase fiber and quality carbs in your meal.
2. Breakfast Quesadilla Steak
This Breakfast Quesadilla Steak comes in just over 500 calories, which may be on the high end of energy needs for some. To make this meal work in your weight loss goals, have just half of the quesadilla. This brings your meal to about 250 calories, and you can add a serving of fruit from home on the side to add quality calories and fiber to your meal. This way, you have the other half of your meal left for lunch, which you can enjoy with veggies and hummus for a balanced option.
Healthy Taco Bell lunch/dinner orders for weight loss:
1. Crunchy Taco
A simple item made with a crispy taco shell, seasoned beef, lettuce, and cheese; this Crunchy Taco may be one of the best options at Taco Bell if you are trying to lose weight. At 170 calories, you could have two tacos to make up a meal that is still under 350 calories. Not to mention, two tacos will also provide an impressive six grams of satiating fiber. At 16 grams of protein, a serving of two tacos makes a balanced meal. Add raw veggies from home for even more fiber and a filling meal.
2. Chipotle Ranch Grilled Chicken Burrito
Although a higher calorie option if left unaltered, there are easy modifications to make that turn this Chipotle Ranch Grilled Chicken Burrito into a more balanced option. With both Avocado Ranch Sauce and Chipotle Sauce, there are plenty of empty calories in this meal. By skipping just one sauce, you can avoid 70+ calories and multiple grams of fat. Skip both sauces, and you have around a 350-calorie meal that packs more than 15 grams of protein and four grams of fiber. If you aren’t willing to give up the sauce, ask them to go easy for another calorie-saving option.
Melissa Rifkin, MS, RDN, CDN