Bad News, People: The Average Chipotle Order Contains Over 1,000 Calories

02/18/2015 at 01:17 PM ET

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Some guacamole here, a little corn there, maybe some rice mixed in — your Chipotle lunch is looking pretty healthy, right? Wrong.

A data crunch by the New York Times reveals that most people’s orders at Chipotle are actually not very good for you. In fact, they can be downright unhealthy.

A typical order weighs in at about 1,070 calories, which is more than half the total number of calories a person is supposed to eat in a full day. (The recommended range for most adults is between 1,600 and 2,400.)

It gets worse: The majority of meals also contain a full day’s worth of the FDA’s daily recommended amount of sodium, at 2,400 mg, in addition to 75 percent of the amount of saturated fat.

These findings are based on 3,000 meals ordered by actual customers — not just what Chipotle lists on its menu — using the online delivery service GrubHub from two Chipotles, one in Washington, D.C., and one in East Lansing, Michigan.

So, what are the worst nutritional offenders? Any meat burrito with the standard toppings—cheese, salsa, lettuce, sour cream, rice and beans—is likely to clock in at over 1,000 calories. And that’s not including the calorie-laden but oh-so-addictive chips and guacamole.

About one in 10 meals ordered by Chipotle customers had more than 1,600 calories. The burrito’s tortilla is a big culprit, as on its own it contains about 300 calories.

Only about 2 percent of the burritos in the data—just 25 out of 1,200 burritos in all—were under 700 calories.

It’s not all bad news though. Many Chipotle customers can and do order meals with fewer than 650 calories, such as a cheese-free burrito bowl.

These meals all contain less than 545 calories: Crispy steak tacos with tomato salsa and sour cream; a veggie bowl with rice, pinto beans, tomato salsa, sour cream and cheese; and the carnitas burrito with tomatillo red chili salsa (nothing else).

But, according to the findings, the majority of Chipotle costumers simply don’t order the lighter options.

—Morgan Gibson

FILED UNDER: Food , Food News , Health , Restaurants

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

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Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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Beth on

Bummer!! I love the Chicken hard taco’s :(. Still going to go, but bummer!

Amy on

Chipotle is really good, but this is no ahocker. Any food item that is as large as one of their burritos cannot, on any planet, be low-calorie. Unless it’s stuffed with just veggies.

Amy on

he he… I meant shocker

emma on

But they are so good

Nadia on

There is a nutritional calculator on their website that gives you an estimate of calories, fat, protein, carb intake.

It does bother me how articles similar to this shame people into not eating something they enjoy.

With a healthy balance diet and exercise we can splurge on chipotle and other high calorie items.

Nicole on

I’m confused. Why is this a shocker? Was Chipotle supposed to be healthy?

brc on

Most people don’t order the healthy options at ANY restaurant. How is this newsworthy and why make Chipotle look bad?

mary on

Who in their right mind ever thought they were eating “healthy” when going to Chipotle?

Becky on

East Lansing, MI. There is no East Landing, MI
The healthy reputation comes from the quality ingredients they use.

really on

I’ve never ate there and after seeing the picture of the food, GROSS. Don’t think I’ll be having it in this lifetime or any other either. Yuck.

Brooke on

This really can’t be that surprising. Have you seen the size of these burritos?

Jen on

This is one one of my favorite fast food places to eat because they have REAL FOOD. Everyone should know that there are a lot of calories in rice, beans, cheese, guacamole, meat and tortillas. I always get the bowl because it’s easier to eat anyway. Look at any of the the places that you eat at and there are a lot of calories. If we only knew what the calorie content was in everything that we eat at every restaurant. Most of them are too scared to post the info because it’s so bad. I’m tired of McDonald’s getting picked on all of the time too. There are a lot of fast food restaurants that are just as bad.

MimiB on

I never have sour cream on my burrito bowl and always stuff it heavy on the veggies, easy on the rice, having just a little bit of cheese with my sofritas. I opt for corn free salsa. I know that my “bowl” is around 500 calories, which isn’t bad for a meal. No, no tortilla chips either… calorie bombs! I drink water or unsweetened ice tea with it.

Sure, you can load up a burrito with caloric ingredients, but you can still get a filling tasty meal without overindulging. Just use judgement.

Andrea on

My bowl has 736 calories. I just plan ahead when I know I’m eating there. I’ll have a smaller lunch. Easy peasy people.

missk on

I don’t find this article shaming, Nadia. I think it’s helpful for people to know the basic nutrition of their food so that they can decide how to fit it into a balanced diet.

caitelan on

Give us some credit. There’s a reason Chipotle provides the nutrition calculator. Those who want to know can figure it out. I always end up splitting my meals into two anyway because of the amount of food.

Lisa Callaghan on

This is just annoying. It’s no different than eating anywhere else. Huge portion = tons of calories. Those burritos are just massive. Eat smart and you can control your sodium and caloric intake and still eat organic food on the go.

Sam on

Who eats at Chipotle anyway? I’ll never get why it’s popular. It’s not even real Mexican food. Those tortillas are rubbery and gross, yuck!! I’d rather make my own Mexican food.

Jared on

This doesn’t really make sense. A meal with a lot of calories does not make it unhealthy. They are fresh quality ingredients that hit all categories: Fats, Protein and Carbs.

I literally ate Chipotle every day and lost 50 pounds. Also, you don’t need to eat it all in one go…..I know plenty of people who will make two meals out of this.

The fact is that Chipotle gives you a lot of food and the food is healthy quality fresh cooked food free from GMO’s and additives. If I had enough vegetables to equal 1000 calories you wouldn’t call it unhealthy.

The tortilla is really the least healthy item but still I feel calling Jack in the Box or Mcdonalds unhealthy makes sense but just because something is caloric dense does not make it unhealthy.

Muhammad Khan on

Ummmm my meal is 575 Calories getting a burrito bowl with Chicken, White Rice, Corn, Red Salsa, Cheese, and Lettuce… 585 if you get steak instead of chicken

Joe on

This is the stupidest article I’ve seen on food. Are you going to tell me that my burrito bowl which consists of: Double order of chicken, brown rice, vegetables, corn, medium salsa and lettuce topped with some Tobasco is unhealthy? LOL. You’re a first class idiot if you think so. That burrito bowl gives me a big meal that is only 600 calories and a good amount of protein.

Nia Moore on

what i get from chipotle only has 647

Andew on

I don’t see the big deal. I eat 600 calories for breakfast, 1500 for lunch, and between 1000 – 1400 calories for dinner just to maintain my weight from lifting weights 3 times a week, and i’m in my late 30’s.

erik brown on

Uh, I need 3,000 calories each day to maintain my body weight. If I eat 2,000 I risk severe fatigue and even sickness. People that count calories without knowing they NEED CALORIES TO LIVE are killing themselves. Each Chipotle, just realize you can’t go home and eat an entire cake.

William on

You think calories are a bad thing? They are a measurement of energy. 1,000 good clean calories is awesome. Under that logic Cocoa cola and pepsi drinks are good for as long as they have low calories and low sugar right? Calories dont make you fat, sugar does. Some of the most fit people you see in magazine have high calarie high protein diets. Sick of hearing too many calories. People magazine do you research as well as people in general.

Denver Hoda on