How to Eat Healthy at Qdoba

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Tortilla chips and salsa.
Tortilla chips and salsa. (Image: Azurita/iStock/Getty Images)

Eating healthy can be difficult when you're eating at a restaurant, especially if you choose a fast-food restaurant. Qdoba makes it a little easier by allowing you to customize your dish, but the serving sizes are still large. This can make it hard to keep your meal below the 500-calorie limit recommended by HelpGuide.org. Check the Qdoba website for the latest nutrition information, as both the menu and the nutrition facts are subject to change.

Building a Better Breakfast

Breakfast at Qdoba typically means a breakfast burrito or burrito bowl. Getting a bowl without the tortilla will save you 310 calories for a flour tortilla and 260 calories for a whole-wheat tortilla.

For fillings, eggs or chicken make the best choices. The eggs have 150 calories and 10 grams of fat, while the chicken comes in at 160 calories and 8 grams of fat. The chorizo has 200 calories and 12 grams of fat.

Skip the queso, sour cream and shredded cheese, which are high in fat and calories, and get ranchera sauce, which adds just 15 calories and has no fat. Any of the salsas and the pico de gallo are also good choices, with 15 to 30 calories each. The roasted chili corn is a bit higher in calories, at 55.

Skip the Chips

The main appetizer selections available at Qdoba are chips and dip and three-cheese nachos. Both are loaded with fat and calories, so you're better off skipping them. If you must indulge, share one order of the chips for the whole table and skip the queso and guacamole. Instead, dip your chips in one of the salsas. The chips themselves have 560 calories and 26 grams of fat before adding the salsa.

Minimizing Entree Calories

You can get three crispy shell tacos with your choice of meat, salsa, lettuce and fajita vegetables for 445 to 475 calories and 19 to 24 grams of fat. The pulled pork is lowest in fat and calories, and the seasoned ground is highest. This meal is also gluten-free. A soft flour tortilla instead of the crispy shells adds 30 calories to your meal but lowers the fat content by a gram.

Skip the fat-filled cheese, guacamole and sour cream.

A burrito bowl is another relatively nutritious option that is also gluten-free. Choose brown rice, pinto beans, pulled pork, salsa, lettuce and fajita vegetables for a meal with 510 calories and 7 grams of fat. Skip the tortilla, as it adds another 260 to 310 calories, depending on whether you opt for a whole-wheat or a regular tortilla. Surprisingly enough, the smothered version of the burrito bowl is lower in calories. If you choose the same filling ingredients topped with either tangy verde or bold red chile sauce, it has just 385 calories and 6 grams of fat.

Soup and Salad Meals

The Mexican gumbo can make a nutritious meal with a few customizations. To the base of tortilla soup and cilantro-lime rice, add the fajita vegetables and pinto beans for a vegetarian meal with just 440 calories and 9 grams of fat. Adding meat will put the total over 600 calories and 13 grams of fat, however.

If you prefer a salad for you meal, skip the crunchy tortilla bowl for the mango salad and add black beans and fajita vegetables for a light vegetarian meal with just 230 calories and 12 grams of fat. Make it a bit heartier by adding your choice of meat. Even if you opt for the seasoned ground beef, your salad will still be under 500 calories, with 470 calories and 28 grams of fat.

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