Healthy fast food? Yes, it’s possible

I try to prepare my own meals as much as possible instead of leaving it to “professionals.” And truly, we eat few restaurant meals. That’s for health, as well as for finances.

When I do eat out, I keep price, health and taste in mind. It’s stunningly easy to get way too many calories in what seems to be a healthy lunch, so I really appreciate being able to get a reality check from nutrition information. Then, when I do need to grab a lunch out on the go, I know where I can go to get a meal that meets my requirements, no stress, no fuss, no muss.

Today was such a day, so I headed to the new Chipotle near my office downtown. I had eaten at other Chipotles a handful of times before I sought out calorie counts for their menu items. They don’t offer these on their website, so I had to find them from a third party site by Googling “Chipotle” and “nutrition.” I was stunned to find out how many calories their salad had (almost 800), but then quickly deduced that it was the dressing they serve on the side that put the count over the top.

The salad is romaine lettuce, choice of black or pinto beans, choice of meat (or substitute guacamole), salsa, cheese and sour cream. Without the dressing, the calorie count is around 500. And with the salsa, cheese an sour, who needs vinaigrette? I consider 500 calories reasonable for lunch, but the count could easily be lowered by leaving off the cheese, sour cream or both. I had fresh tomato salsa and the hotter tomatillo salsa, which added plenty of flavor.

Chipotle has been expanding around the country, so it’s a food option we’ve employed when traveling. Many leagues above a burger and fries, that’s for sure!