Are Burritos Bad for You?

Mexican cuisine is known for its bold, spicy, and mouth-watering dishes, one of which is a burrito.

Although burritos consist of varying ingredients depending on your preference, they are traditionally made of flour tortillas, beans, meat filling, and salsa. Most restaurants, however, add other ingredients like cheese and sour cream.

These variations in burrito recipes have raised the pertinent question: Are burritos bad for you? In this article, you’ll see if burritos are bad for you and also share some tips for eating healthy in a Mexican restaurant, among other things. So let’s get started!

Are Burritos Bad for You?

Burritos may be bad for you depending on its constituents and how much you consume.

The ingredients in a burrito determine whether it is bad for you or not. For instance, ingredients like sour cream, rice, and tortilla are calorie-dense carbs that can lead to unhealthy weight gain. Contrastingly, ingredients like beans, vegetables, and guacamole are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, and healthy fats, respectively, and will provide fewer calories.

Generally, the flour tortilla used as a wrap in a burrito recipe is considered bad for the health because it is loaded with calories which contribute to weight gain and other more serious health conditions such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

Whole wheat or whole grain tortillas are healthier alternatives as they provide essential nutrients like fiber to the body.

Alternatively, you can make your burrito in a bowl at home, substituting the fast-food ingredients with healthier alternatives. A burrito bowl is prepared without a tortilla to eliminate unnecessary calories associated with a flour tortilla.

If you consume burritos very often, it is bad for you. You will be consuming more than the recommended 500mg of sodium and 10% saturated fat for your body’s needs. This might lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, and hypertension.

Are McDonald’s breakfast burritos bad for you?

McDonald’s breakfast burritos may be bad for you, depending on your health condition. For instance, if you’re obese and are trying to cut carbs, McDonald’s burritos are bad for you because of added ingredients such as cheese, fried beans, and tortillas.

Read also: Are Bolthouse Farms Healthy? – A Review

Are bean burritos bad for you?

No, bean burritos are not bad for you. However, avoid refried beans as they contain excess fat, which is bad for your health.

Is a Burrito Bowl Healthy?

Yes, a burrito bowl is healthy compared to a burrito with a tortilla. A burrito with flour tortilla, especially the fast-food version, is filled with high carbs and fatty ingredients, adversely affecting your health.

Therefore, you can switch to a healthy version by making your burrito bowl while replacing cheese and sour cream with vegetables, tomatoes, and beans. This will give you a well-balanced meal with lower carbs, more protein, and fiber.

Is bean and cheese burrito healthy?

While bean burrito is healthy, cheese is often high in salt and saturated fat. Hence, you can swap cheese with a more nutritious option such as guacamole. 

Are burritos good for muscle building?

Yes, burritos are good for muscle building. High protein foods such as beans are essential for muscle building. A burrito filled with healthy ingredients such as beans, corn, lettuce, tomatoes, and other vegetables will help build your muscles, in addition to workout sessions targeted at muscle building.

How Many Calories Are in a Burrito?

The amount of calories in a burrito ranges between 200-1000calories, depending on the ingredients in the burrito.

5 best low-calorie Mexican foods

Fortunately, you can still cut calories while enjoying delicious Mexican cuisine. These low-calorie Mexican foods are not only healthier alternatives; they also deliver tons of nutritional benefits to the body:

  1. Black beans or pinto beans.
  2. Burrito bowl.
  3. Soups.
  4. Ceviche.
  5. Fajitas.

5 best Mexican dishes to make at home

Skip the trip to a Mexican restaurant by making your meals at home. This way, you save money and get to prepare your meals using healthier ingredients, lesser salts, and seasonings. Here are the five best Mexican dishes you can make at home.

  1. Burrito bowl.
  2. Fajitas.
  3. Posole.
  4. Albondigas Soup.
  5. Mango salsa.

5 best cheese for burritos

Although cheese is nutritious, it is high in salt and saturated fat, so it is wise to cut back on the cheese. However, if you want to use cheese for your burrito, these are the best cheeses you can use.

  1. Cotija.
  2. Asadero
  3. Oaxaca.
  4. Monterey Jack.
  5. Queso fresco.

Read also: Is Cheese A Condiment? What Cheese Sauce And Cream?

How to Eat Healthy at a Mexican Restaurant

Mexican restaurants are known for their delicious, spicy, and colorful Mexican cuisine. But beyond the array of mouth-watering dishes, you should be concerned about eating healthy whenever you eat out.

Also, you must take note of your dietary restrictions, that is, if you have any. Here are a few tips for eating healthy at a Mexican restaurant.

Skip appetizers

Appetizers are small, snack-like meals usually offered so you can munch on something while waiting for the main meal or main course. If you want to cut back unnecessary calories, it would be wise if you skip appetizers; otherwise, choose a healthy option.

Healthy, low-calorie appetizers like Napalito salad made from fresh Mexican cactus and avocado, and Ceviche, a seafood dish consisting of fresh fruits, chili peppers, and citrus juices, are usually served in many Mexican restaurants.  

Have a bowl of soup before the main meal

Instead of the regular appetizers on the menu, you can have a bowl of healthy, low-calorie soup containing ingredients like vegetables and lean meat before your meal.

Having a bowl of soup before your meal will help fill you up, so you don’t overindulge in the main meal later.  

Stay away from fried foods

Some dishes in Mexican cuisine, such as chimichangas, taquitos, chile Relleno, and gorditas, often require deep frying. This leads to high-fat content in those dishes, implying higher calorie content.

Therefore, if you are health-conscious and trying to eat healthily, it is best to avoid such dishes and other fried treats on the menu. Alternatively, you can choose grilled foods instead of fried foods. 

Choose a corn tortilla over a flour tortilla

Most Mexican restaurants serving dishes like quesadillas and tacos may require you to specify whether you want corn or flour tortillas. So, it would be best if you chose corn tortilla, which is a healthier option.

Unlike flour tortilla, corn tortilla contains more fiber and other essential nutrients because they are made from whole grain.

Also, corn tortilla has fewer calories than flour tortilla; flour tortilla is calorie-dense, with high amounts of saturated fat, sodium, and sugar. Most importantly, if you are on a low-carb diet, it is better to avoid foods or meals that contain tortillas altogether.

Go for healthy sides and sauces   

It would be best to go for healthy options when choosing sauces and sides.

Many Mexican dishes usually have salsas, sauces and creams served alongside, so make sure to swap unhealthy options for healthier ones. For instance, if the restaurant offers sour cream as a side or part of your burrito, replace it with salsa, a low-calorie option consisting of uncooked vegetables and condiments.

Also, you can have black beans or brown rice if they are offered, but never fried beans or white rice, as the latter group has high-calorie content and little nutritional benefits.

As you eat healthily, also drink healthy

If you are trying to cut calories, stay away from soda and alcohol, as they contain lots of sugar and may be harmful to your health. Instead, opt for low-calorie beverages like unsweetened iced tea.

Also, water is a great option; drinking water between meals helps you feel fuller, preventing overindulgence.

Are burritos bad for you is an essential question, but the concern should be what you’re adding to your burritos. As pointed out earlier, you can have a healthy burrito bowl instead of the usual tortillas-wrapped burrito.

Also, follow the tips to eat healthy in a Mexican restaurant, and you’re good to go.

By Luong Tan

Luong Tan, the creative and passionate founder of Bourbono, is a multi-talented individual with a deep love for the culinary arts. An accomplished food blogger, cookbook author, and former Ambassador of US cuisine in Vietnam (2015-2016), Luong has been on a mission to share his appreciation for food with the world.

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