9 Healthiest Dishes to Order at Taco Bell
										Eat well and "live más" by choosing any of the healthiest Taco Bell menu items this franchise offers.

9 Healthiest Dishes to Order at Taco Bell Eat well and "live más" by choosing any of the healthiest Taco Bell menu items this franchise offers.

We all know how tough it can be to find a healthy meal while out and on the move. This can be all the more challenging when you find yourself surrounded by convenient fast-food temptations, but are trying to lose weight or watch your diet with respect to chronic health conditions like high cholesterol, diabetes, or hypertension. When it comes to sodium, in particular, being stranded in a fast-food swamp can leave you feeling especially hopeless—not to mention, hungry.

“Many Americans are trying to watch their blood pressure and therefore looking to reduce their sodium intake. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 mg of sodium for most adults, and ideally trying to reduce intake to no more than 1,500 mg for those with high blood pressure,” Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, the author of the Sports Nutrition Playbook and member of our Medical Expert Board, tells Eat This, Not That! “Typically fast food restaurants cook with lots of sodium that you may not be able to remove. However, [at Taco Bell] you can add fresh vegetables to provide extra flavor and nutrients.”

“The great thing about Taco Bell’s website is it features a nutrition calculator that you can use to tweak your favorite menu items to see how it impacts the nutritional content of the meal,” she continues. According to Goodson, if you were to order a plain crunchy taco or power bowl with chicken or black beans, you can “load up the veggies on top with tomatoes, onions, and lettuce. “If you want to top it with a little cheese, opt for an ‘easy’ portion to reduce the serving size and cut down on extra saturated fat and sodium.”

Keep reading to find out which healthy Taco Bell orders are dietitian-approved—and for more advice on how to make smart, health-motivated choices while grabbing breakfast at the Bell,  check out Taco Bell’s Entire Breakfast Menu—Ranked From Least to Most Healthy.

“This classic taco keeps it simple with only cheese, beef, and lettuce as toppings, which reduces the calories and saturated fat,” says Goodson.”Each taco has 3 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein, which are important components to stabilize blood sugar and help keep you full for a longer period of time after eating. And at only 170 calories, you have an option that will satisfy your cravings without packing on excess calories.”

Taco Bell’s Crunchy Taco can be a nutritionally advantageous option for a few reasons,” explains Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, a registered dietitian at Balance One Supplements. “One, it contains about 8 grams of protein, which makes it a good source of protein. Two, the fiber from the crunchy corn taco shell is around 2 grams and is useful for preventing blood sugar spikes and digestive health. The minerals provided by this item are not to go unnoticed either,” adds Best, “calcium and iron.”

RELATED: The Best Foods to Eat to Avoid Blood Sugar Spikes, Say Dietitians

“The protein and fiber can help keep you full for longer, which may prevent overeating on other more calorie dense menu items. The fiber is also helpful for keeping blood sugar levels consistent, which can prevent insulin resistance and is also good for feeding good gut bacteria,” says Best. “This taco can have more nutrients added by making a few changes. Add tomatoes to increase the taco’s folate, potassium, and vitamin C. Replacing the meat with the black beans can keep the item high in protein but lower in saturated fat.”

“This taco contains beef, which is a high-quality protein, meaning that it provides all nine essential amino acids that our bodies need,” Goodson adds. “Beef also contains essential nutrients such as iron, zinc, vitamin B12, selenium, niacin, and vitamin B6. The cheddar cheese on top provides you with additional protein and calcium, which is important for bone health.”

“This wrap is a source of 12 grams of protein, making it a satisfying option for many people,” says Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, registered dietitian, author of the First Time Mom’s Pregnancy Cookbook and Fueling Male Fertility, and member of our Medical Expert Board.

“[The Chicken Chipotle Melt is] low enough in calories to be able to pair with other nutrient dense ingredients, like fruits and vegetables to create more well-rounded meal,” Rifkin also notes.

“Perhaps skip the creamy sauce to make it even more good for you, as this oil-based sauce provides additional fat and calories,” Manaker adds.

“I would choose the power bowl with chicken as the best meal option on the menu,” says Rifkin. “For similar calories to the veggie bowl, you get way more protein. This makes the meal more balanced.”

“Taco Bell’s Power Menu Bowl is an excellent fast food meal item at just 460 calories per bowl,” explains Best. “It is made with nutrient dense ingredients including tomatoes, lettuce, rice, black beans, and grilled breast. This item contains only 6 grams of saturated fat and 27 grams of protein. It also provides 8 grams of dietary fiber, when combined with the protein this meal will keep you full and satisfied for longer without a glucose spike or crash.”

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