All photos property of Taco Bell unless otherwise stated
Before we dive in, I want to hit you with a few overall notes regarding in general.
First and foremost, I should preface this post by acknowledging that you’re likely not looking to eat at Taco Bell to be specifically “healthy.”
Generally speaking, you’re not going to a in search of healthy (with restaurants like Subway or Panera being exceptions). That being said, I always find it useful to understand what it is that I’m eating even if I’m not overly concerned with eating the healthiest options.
It’s not about always trying to be as healthy as possible, but it’s about knowing what choices are best to make for YOU.
In doing research for this nutrition guide, it’s clear to me that Taco Bell actually has some quality options.
We’re going to break down the Taco Bell menu calories and full nutrition for the Taco Bell menu as of September 2021. I will be sure to keep this guide as up-to-date as possible, especially if the Mexican Pizza ever makes a comeback.
What is the healthiest thing to eat at Taco Bell?
Before we break down the full menu, let’s explore what some of the healthiest options are depending on specific dietary preferences.
Best keto-friendly option at Taco Bell
Power Bowl With No Rice or Beans
240 Calories, 14g Fat, 4g Net Carbs, 21g Protein
Ordering a is a great option if you’re looking to minimize your calories or carbs and maximize your protein. Think of it as a bowl you’d order from Chipotle.
Thanks to my friend Joe Duff over at thedietchefs.com, there is a full keto-friendly / low-carb Taco Bell breakdown for ya if you want to explore more options.
Best low-fat option at Taco Bell
Soft Grilled Chicken Taco Fesco Style
130 Calories, 3.5g Fat, 16g Carbs, 11g Protein
A is a great way to minimize calories & fat. There are two swaps that will go a long way in saving you calories and/or fat when ordering at Taco Bell:
1) Swapping ground beef for grilled chicken.
2) Asking for your food “fresco style,” which swaps out cheese & dairy-based sauces for tomato.
We’ll dive more into fresco style options in a little bit.
Highest protein option at Taco Bell
Cheesy Gordita Crunch with Extra Grilled Chicken
520 Calories, 26g Fat, 40g Carbs, 32g Protein
Sure, this might not be the “healthiest” option in most definitions of the word, but it sure is protein-packed! By swapping the beef for grilled chicken, and asking for extra chicken, you’ll get a whopping 32g of protein.
Pro tip: asking for extra meat is a great way to maximize your protein on fewer calories. That’s always my move when ordering at Chipotle!
Now let’s dive into the entire menu and see how the nutritional value of everything stacks up…
Taco Bell Taco Menu Nutrition
Lowest Calorie Taco at Taco Bell
Crunchy Taco: 170 Calories | 9g Fat | 13g Carbs | 8g Protein
Highest Calorie Taco at Taco Bell
Cheesy Gordita Crunch: 500 Calories | 28g Fat | 41g Carbs | 20g Protein
Tacos, Doritos, Chalupas, oh my!
Tacos are the bread & butter here (if you’re asking me, the Doritos Locos Taco is the best tasting on the menu, but many will argue for the Cheesy Gordita Crunch), but what you see here is not all you are limited to.
Lucky for us, whether you prefer flour tortilla, hard shell, flatbread, or chalupa, there are countless options to choose from.
The tacos listed here are if you order them exactly as-is, but there are plenty of substitutions you can make to save some calories or up the protein.
Let’s take the Soft Taco Supreme and make some changes to see how it affects the final nutrition.
As is, the Soft Taco Supreme is 210 Calories, 10g Fat, 20g Carbs, and 10g Protein.
If you want to save some calories and bump up the protein a bit, you can swap the beef for grilled chicken. That will change it to 180 Calories and 13g Protein.
Another option you have is to order the taco “fresco style.” Fresco simply means swapping out the dairy (cheese and sour cream) and mayo-based sauces for tomatoes. This will work for either a crunchy taco or soft taco.
In this case, ordering the Soft Taco Supreme “fresco style” changes the nutrition to 160 Calories, 7g Fat, 18g Carbs, and 8g Protein.
Finally, you can make any of the tacos vegetarian by ordering a black bean taco instead of seasoned beef, chicken, or steak.
For the ultimate calorie saver, you can order the taco vegetarian AND fresco. In this case, the taco would end up being 140 calories!
Taco Bell Wrap Menu Nutrition Nutrition (Quesadillas & Burritos)
Lowest Calorie Burrito at Taco Bell
Chicken Chipotle Melt: 190 Calories | 9g Fat | 15g Carbs | 12g Protein
Highest Calorie Burrito at Taco Bell
Quesarito: 650 Calories | 33g Fat | 67g Carbs | 22g Protein
After tacos, the burritos/quesadillas are the most popular items at Taco Bell.
By looking over the items here, you can see that the calories vary quite a bit.
A Quesarito comes in at 650 calories, while a bean burrito is only 350 calories!
The Quesarito packs an extra layer of nacho cheese sauce and includes sour cream & chipotle sauce, leading to a much higher calorie count overall.
When it comes to deciding what to order here, aside from calories, protein may be the largest differentiator. If you’re looking to maximize your protein intake (personally, that would be my goal), a quesadilla would be the way to go. At 510 calories and 27g of protein, the chicken quesadilla is actually quite a solid option!
If I were ordering, I’d also go for extra chicken in the quesadilla as well.
When you do that, the chicken quesadilla ends up being 560 calories and a whopping 35 grams of protein! Not bad at all.
Overall, the nutrition facts of these burritos will vary greatly if you opt to leave out the extra cheese sauce or other dairy-based sauces like sour cream. If you leave those out and focus on other items such as the black beans, refried beans, or pico de gallo, you’ll bring those calories way down overall.
Taco Bell Sides Menu Nutrition(And Bowls)
Lowest Calorie Side at Taco Bell
Black Beans: 50 Calories | 1g Fat | 8g Carbs | 2g Protein
Highest Calorie Side at Taco Bell
Loaded Taco Fries: 560 Calories | 36g Fat | 49g Carbs | 12g Protein
Technically the Nachos BellGrande are higher in calories, but those eat much more like a meal than a side.
Nacho Fries are back, baby! It seems that Taco Bell will forever be rotating Nacho Fries on and off the menu, but at the time of writing this, they’re back on the menu and deserve a shoutout.
Much like French fries at most fast-food restaurants, the amount of fries you receive is going to vary greatly. Consider these calories an estimate- and the same applies to the side of nachos, too.
If your server is in a good mood, you may get a much more generous serving on any given day, so the calories may be a bit higher.
I included bowls in this section because they didn’t fit in anywhere else, but they are the closest thing to salad that Taco Bell currently offers.
If I were ordering a Power Bowl, I’d opt to go with grilled chicken, and I’d leave out the nacho cheese sauce and shredded cheese.
For me, cheese doesn’t add a whole lot, so I don’t mind leaving it out. I’ll load up on salsa or pico de gallo instead (and hot sauce, of course).
Oh, and we obviously can’t let this post end without mentioning the Cinnamon Twists. Are they the best dessert ever created? Possibly.
It’s hard to beat cinnamon and sugar.
I have nothing to add about the nutrition of ’em, I just want to be sure to call out how delicious they are.
Taco Bell Breakfast Menu Nutrition
Lowest Calorie Breakfast at Taco Bell
Cheesy Breakfast Burrito: 340 Calories | 17g Fat | 36g Carbs | 11g Protein
Highest Calorie Breakfast at Taco Bell
Breakfast Crunchwrap: 670 Calories | 41g Fat | 50g Carbs | 21g Protein
I’ve never had breakfast from Taco Bell, but looking at their options, I’m very tempted to give it a try!
With breakfast options, you have less room for substitutions or calorie savers, but that doesn’t mean you’re completely out of luck.
If breakfast meat (bacon or breakfast sausage) isn’t your cup of tea, you have the option to swap them for grilled steak instead. And who doesn’t love steak and eggs?
For a small calorie saver, you can always take the cheese out of the any of the options as well.
It may not seem like much, but if you were to order the cheesy breakfast burrito with steak and no nacho cheese sauce, it would bring the total calories to 310. It’s not huge savings, but it’s something!
Taco Bell Fresco Style Menu Nutrition
Fresco Style isn’t technically its own menu, but rather a style of ordering you can choose (like “animal style” at In-N-Out).
If you order anything “Fresco Style,” it replaces any mayo or dairy-based sauces (like avocado ranch sauce), , , and sour cream, with freshly diced tomatoes.
Depending on what you order, that can lead to huge savings.
For example, a Soft Taco Supreme with beef contains 210 calories. If you order that Soft Beef Taco “fresco style,” it’ll bring the calories all the way down to 160.
Personally, I find a to be even better than one with on it!
Small savings can go a long way, especially if you’re ordering multiple items.
Final Note: is Taco Bell healthy?
While Taco Bell has historically gotten a bad rap for using low-quality ingredients, that has certainly changed in recent years!
When you break down the menu, you can see that there are some real quality options. If you’re looking for fresh food, a Taco Bell restaurant is actually not a bad choice at all.
Nutritionally, it’s only as unhealthy as you make it. If you know what substitutions to make, the Taco Bell menu can actually be great healthy!
All in all, if you’re looking for low-calorie options, steer clear of the nacho cheese, sour cream, guacamole, or heavy sauces. “Fresco style” without the cheese or sauce will save a ton of calories in some cases, and will still be very delicious with the addition of the salsa!
Ultimately, if you’re going to eat a meal at Taco Bell, you certainly do not need to worry about the nutrition. It’s very likely that you’re looking for a treat.
If you want to just enjoy some tacos without the thought of calories or macros, you absolutely should.
That being said, I always find it helpful to be educated about the nutrition of the food I’m eating. Whether or not I’m actively tracking my macros or counting my calories, I find it incredibly helpful to have a general idea of the calories/macros I’m consuming.
I hope you find it helpful, too!