Food on the Run: Taco Bell

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Last week, I listed several healthier menu options from two of the leading fast food restaurant chains for those times when you need or want to eat out with family or friends. Thanks to your positive responses, I am starting a new series entitled Food On The Run. From time to time, I will look at a variety of restaurants and identify which items might make the healthiest options when eating away from home. To launch the new series, I have looked at a couple more leading restaurant chains and included carbohydrates as well as sodium content as many requested.

One of the reasons people stop following healthier eating habits is because they feel restricted. They miss out on gatherings with family or friends because they are "on a diet" which they come to resent. Or even worse, they go and have a great time and order all their favorites and then give up the new lifestyle because they had one bad day and feel like they failed. The key to success is learning to incorporate new healthy habits into your day to day life. This helps reduce the feelings of resentment and restriction that make you want to quit and help you see that you can enjoy life in a new way.

Taco Bell

Fresco Crunchy Taco
Calories - 150
Fat - 8 grams
Protein - 7 grams
Carbohydrate – 13 grams
Sodium – 370 mg

Fresco Soft Taco – Beef
Calories - 180
Fat - 7 grams
Protein - 8 grams
Carbohydrate – 21 grams
Sodium – 650 mg

Fresco Ranchero Chicken Soft Taco
Calories - 170
Fat - 4 grams
Protein - 12 grams
Carbohydrate – 21 grams
Sodium – 730 mg

Fresco Grilled Steak Soft Taco
Calories - 160
Fat - 4.5 grams
Protein - 10 grams
Carbohydrate – 20 grams
Sodium – 550 mg

Spicey Chicken Soft Taco
Calories - 170
Fat - 6 grams
Protein - 10 grams
Carbohydrate – 20 grams
Sodium – 580 mg

Crunchy Taco
Calories - 170
Fat - 10 grams
Protein - 8 grams
Carbohydrate – 13 grams
Sodium – 350 mg

Soft Beef Taco
Calories - 200
Fat - 9 grams
Protein - 10 grams
Carbohydrate – 21 grams
Sodium – 630 mg

Pintos and Cheese
Calories - 160
Fat - 6 grams
Protein - 9 grams
Carbohydrate – 19 grams
Sodium – 670 mg

Mexican Rice
Calories - 110
Fat - 3 grams
Protein - 2 grams
Carbohydrate – 23 grams
Sodium – 790 mg

Cheese Roll-Up
Calories – 200
Fat – 10 grams
Protein – 9 grams
Carbohydrate – 19 grams
Sodium – 490 mg

When making any meal selection you have to balance the nutrients that are most important for you. Some people focus on carbohydrates or proteins while others focus more on the sodium or fat content. There is no right or wrong nutrient to focus on accept the nutrients that are most important for you.

Please share which nutrients provide the most influence for you in your meal selection choices? Why?

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ERIN_POSCH 10/14/2020
thanks for sharing Report
ELRIDDICK 10/9/2020
Thanks for sharing Report
YMWONG22 10/9/2020
Thanks Report
MNABOY 4/24/2020
Thanks! A salty meal! Report
GRALAN 3/18/2020
I enjoy Taco Bell bean burritos with the green sauce. When I was a contractor running around the Seattle-Mount Vernon-North Bend-Federal Way-Whidby Island area, that was my choice. Currently we don't go out much, and there isn't a TB in our neck of the woods.
I should make some at home. What a cool idea. Report
It appears that a principal ingredient at Taco Bell is SALT! Report
I love the new Power Bowl...wish they updated the article. Report
I'd rather make it at home than go to Taco Bell....that's just me. They're okay but it's like something is missing... Report
Like these "eating out" articles with nutritional info. Report
Fresco is history - JSYK Report
All of the above are good choices. But who is going to stop at one taco? Most people eat at least two tacos, if not more. Report
The Fresco menu items at Taco Bell are fine unless, like me, you are allergic to tomatoes. Makes it a little more challenging to find something not quite so bad. And then you have the sodium... I just try to avoid the place. Report
I eat the fresco burrito. I know it has the most cals but its the best vegan option and at only $1 its rly great.
Also the veggie burger should be somewhat healthy without mayo. Report
as a diabetic I first read the carb grams then cal content to make an informed choice. like many others I do not limit what I eat only how much of it. Taste & portion control are everything to me . Report
generally the fat and calories is what will deter me from a food option. now i am starting to look more at the sugar and sodium and i find that when you look for food low in those two things they tend to be lower in fat and calories Report
Always go for crunchy tacos at TB if you are watching your sodium, and make sure you have something else with potassium to nibble on afterward so you don't bloat. I like watermelon or raisins myself.......

The pintos at TB are a good idea too :) The burritos are nothing but fat-sodium-calorie bombs :P Report
I'm really watching my sodium levels but I love Taco Bell. I think I will try the items mentioned tonight. Report
Making lifestyle changes means different things to different people. To me, It doesn't mean giving up foods that I grew up with, it means eating smaller portions or making healthier versions. Report
TBell has lots of vegan options, if you're in the mood to support that kind of business! Report
I avoid these places. The calorie counts might be okay, but the sodium numbers are off the hook and will leave me bloated for 2-3 days. Not worth it. Report
Taco Bell and Burger King are my 2 favorite fast food restaurants - thanks for this article! Report
I've had the Taco Bell fresco items a couple of times recently. My husband also loves Taco Bell so I'm glad we are still able to enjoy it. I was a bit surprised at how fresh tasting it is with the cilantro in the pico on top. I don't even really miss the sour cream (although if I take it home to eat, I can add the low fat stuff I have here). I'm taking my kids on a trip to my dad's in NY in a week and will need to stop a few times for meals so it's nice to have a list ready for stops along the way! Report
I just had the Garden Salad at BK this weekend. It was really good, and I got the Italian dressing though I used maybe a 1/4 of the package. I wanted the FF Ranch but they were out, it's listed as only being 60 calories per package. Report
I LOVE the Fresco menu at Taco Bell! My boyfriend is totally addicted to Taco Bell, and we can always agree to eat there because I can get my hands on the nutrition information. Report
I didnt even know Burger King sold Mac N Cheese! Thanks for this!!! It's very helpful! I love the "food on the run" series!! Report
LDEVANS51 has all the nutitional information on all the taco bell menu items. I look for the saturated fat content and fiber which is listed on their website. I love this series you created. Report
I am so surprised by what I read! I thought those places were always 'no-nos'. How great to know they are real possibilities!

Sure appreciate this blog!

What about In-and-Out? My husband loves their fries! Thanks again. Report
man i shouldn't have read this now i want either burger king or taco bell and what i eat there is not listed and i know i shouldnt eat. i will resist but its gonna be hard. thanks.... Report
Thanks for the nutritional info! I love the Fresca Ranchero Soft Chicken Tacos but didn't know they contained so much sodium! Eating them as a fast-food healthy choice inspired me to start making my own at home, however, using healthy tortillas, chicken tenders (microwaved), a dash of low-fat mozerella cheese, lettuce, tomato slices and avocado plus a tsp of lowfat salad dressing, Yum! Report
Good idea about taco bell.... didn't know they had good "low" stuff!!
Thanks for putting this together... it's super helpful!! Report
Aw, bummer that you don't have a listing for a fresco bean burrito. A good vegan option when in a tight place with limited choices (or very late at night!) Report
I absolutely LOVE Taco Bell's Fresco Crunch Tacos! At first, out of habit, I still got some mild sauce to put on them; but, I quickly discovered that the flavor was so good, I didn't need the added sauce. And, I think they really taste better than a regular fact, one time they messed up my order and gave me regular ones, and I ate them but was very disappointed in the taste compared to the Fresco ones. Report
Taco Bell's Fresco Menu has put them on the top of my diet "splurge" list for quite some time (and since they're a favorite of my husband's, it keeps him happy, too). I love the pico, and when I first started ordering "fresco" I admit I was suspicious, but these have become some of my favorites for taste, not just calorie count. They'll make just about anything fresco for you.

My usual Taco Bell meal is a fresco-style chicken ranchero taco and a regular tostada. It helps me get in some of my fats, but gives me great flavors, too.

My only weakness is that I do LOVE the taco salads, which are really the worst thing on the menu!

Taco Bell also has a really helpful nutrition calculator online, and I've found pamphlets with the nutritional information of the most popular "fresco" items in just about every Taco Bell I've been in. Report
I love Taco Bell but have been passing on it for quite some time now trying to drop extra pounds. I noticed they had Fresco options before but never tried any. It sounds like it would be safe to actually try those. Report
I have been getting the kids meal instead of adult for quite sometime and subing the fries for oranges or apples. Report
I don't eat much fast food. When I do it is usually Wendies. Can we see more about other fast food. Report
On monday I tasted for the first time a Burger King Grilled whooper and it had melted butter on the top of the bread¡¡¡..that was too much for me Report
GEEZ LOUISE-- doesn't look like there are too many choices available here if I'm trying to control my HBP! I can't believe how hight these sodium figures are! thanks! Report
I love Taco Bell and Burger King, I will go a lot now!!!! Report
DIAMONDG4U2C--then you should tell them to take off the sauce and cheese and add pico de gallo. They all have it, I am pretty sure they may not have the actual menu but you can do this with any item.

Taco bell is one that you can take things off and add others to make it healthier. My husband is the manager of our local Taco Bell, so I eat it quite a bit.

I love the zesty chicken border bowl no beans, no rice, no red strips, fresco style and I only use half the sauce-so pretty much it is lettuce, chicken and sauce but still good and very filling. Report
I love this new "Food on the Run" since I eat out so much while traveling. Do you have any indoor dining restaurants that you could recommend? Report
I'm vegetarian, so my brain automatically tunes out fast-food restaurants. The only ones I've been to in the past few years are Chipotle (for the burrito bowl) and soup-and-salad joints like Saladworks. Report
I went to taco bell and asked for the Fresco Grilled Steak thing and the lady was like what are you talking about... are tacobells diffrent, and have diffrent things? Report
Can you please research Tommy's Burgers, originally from Southern California? Report
This is very cool.... Thank you Report
Thanks, I'm a subway girl. If i'm out and about I look for subway. They are fresh and lots of different ideas. Plus healthy and lots of vegetables. Report
Subway & Quizno's would be great!!!!! I try to stay away from Burger King, McDonalds and the similar "burger chains" cause I just can't resist the fries...LOL
Taco Bell does have some good "healthy" options with their fresco lines which is nice. I agree also that I'd rather eat an "unhealthy" meal from Taco Bell over ANYTHING from Burger King or McDonalds. Much more filling and satisfying to me.
Thanks for this new blog category. Weekday evenings are always hectic at my house and I often resort to fast food. I need the nutritional info not only for myself but for my daughters. I want them to learn to make healthy choices too! I'd love info about Subway and Quiznos, two of our favorites. Report
Silly me I found it Report