Tacos are a popular Mexican food item that are made with a corn or wheat tortilla shell filled with seasoned meat, cheese, lettuce, and other toppings. Del Taco is a fast food chain that serves Americanized Mexican fare like tacos, burritos, quesadillas and more. When looking at the nutrition information for Del Taco, a regular crunchy or soft taco with seasoned beef, cheddar cheese, lettuce, and tomato has around 170 calories.
An Overview of Del Taco and Its Menu
Del Taco is an American fast food chain that specializes in American-style Mexican fare. They offer typical fast food items like burgers and fries, but they are best known for menu items like tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos, and other Tex-Mex dishes. Del Taco was founded in 1964 in Yermo, California and has since grown to over 500 locations across 15 states. Their menu offers a variety of Mexican-inspired foods made with common fast food ingredients like ground beef, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and more.
Some of the most popular items on the Del Taco menu include:
- Tacos – Crunchy or soft shell tacos filled with seasoned ground beef, cheddar cheese, lettuce and tomatoes
- Burritos – Flour tortillas stuffed with beans, rice, cheese, and your choice of meat
- Quesadillas – Grilled flour tortillas with melted cheese and optional fillings like chicken
- Crinkle Cut Fries and Onion Rings
- Burgers – Single or double patties with traditional toppings
- Nachos – Tortilla chips topped with beans, cheese, pico de gallo, guacamole and sour cream
- Churros – Classic Mexican fried dough pastry coated in cinnamon and sugar
In terms of tacos specifically, Del Taco offers a variety of taco options on their menu. Some of the taco varieties at Del Taco include:
- Crunchy Tacos – Seasoned ground beef, cheddar cheese, lettuce and tomatoes in a crispy corn shell
- Soft Tacos – Seasoned ground beef, cheddar cheese, lettuce and tomatoes wrapped in a soft flour tortilla
- Chicken Tacos – Shredded chicken, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes
- Fish Tacos – Grilled or crispy cod, tangy creamy sauce, cabbage, pico de gallo
- Carne Asada Tacos – Marinated steak, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and avocado ranch sauce
So when looking up nutrition information for tacos from Del Taco, there are a few varieties to choose from. The traditional crunchy taco with ground beef is one of their most classic and popular options.
Nutrition Facts for a Regular Del Taco Crunchy or Soft Taco
According to the nutrition facts published on the Del Taco website, here are the calories and nutrition information for a regular crunchy or soft taco with ground beef:
|Nutrition Facts||Crunchy Taco||Soft Taco|
As you can see, a regular crunchy taco from Del Taco has about 170 calories while the soft taco has 300. The other main nutrients in a Del Taco taco are:
- Total fat: 8g (crunchy) or 10g (soft)
- Saturated fat: 3.5g (crunchy) or 4g (soft)
- Cholesterol: 25mg (crunchy) or 30mg (soft)
- Sodium: 420mg (crunchy) or 680mg (soft)
- Carbs: 13g (crunchy) or 25g (soft)
- Fiber: 2g (both crunchy and soft)
- Sugar: 1g (crunchy) or 2g (soft)
- Protein: 9g (crunchy) or 12g (soft)
The regular crunchy taco is lower in calories and other nutrients compared to the soft taco. This is likely because the crunchy taco uses a smaller corn shell compared to the larger flour tortilla in the soft taco.
How the Calories and Nutrients Compare to Other Fast Food Tacos
To put the 170 calories for a regular Del Taco crunchy taco into context, here is how it compares to the calories and nutrition for some other popular fast food chain tacos:
- Taco Bell Crunchy Taco – 170 calories, 7g fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 300mg sodium, 13g carbs, 2g fiber, 3g protein
- Taco Bell Soft Taco – 350 calories, 16g fat, 5g saturated fat, 770mg sodium, 34g carbs, 4g fiber, 10g protein
- Chipotle Crispy Corn Taco – 210 calories, 7g fat, 1g saturated fat, 380mg sodium, 29g carbs, 3g fiber, 6g protein
- Chipotle Soft Flour Taco – 300 calories, 10g fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 330mg sodium, 41g carbs, 5g fiber, 8g protein
As you can see, the nutrition facts for a regular crunchy taco from Del Taco lines up closely with crunchy taco options from other major chains like Taco Bell and Chipotle. They range from about 170-210 calories with similar amounts of fat, carbs, sodium and protein.
The soft flour tortilla tacos have more variability ranging from 300-350 calories. Del Taco’s soft taco falls within that range at 300 calories. In general, soft flour tortillas lead to higher calories, fat, carbs and sodium compared to the smaller crispy corn shells.
Factors Affecting the Calories and Nutrition Values
There are a few factors that can alter the nutrition counts for Del Taco tacos:
- Type of shell – The crunchy corn shell has fewer calories than the larger soft flour tortilla.
- Meat – Ground beef has the highest calories and fat compared to chicken or steak.
- Portion size – More meat, cheese, or toppings will increase the nutrition values.
- Ingredients – What you add like sour cream, guacamole, etc. contributes additional calories.
- Cooking methods – Frying adds more fat compared to grilling.
When customizing your taco at Del Taco, choosing lower calorie fillings like chicken, limiting extra toppings like cheese and sour cream, and opting for grilled instead of crispy Shells can lower the calories. Sticking with the standard crunchy taco is the lightest option.
Ways to Make Your Del Taco Tacos Healthier
Although tacos aren’t considered the healthiest fast food item due to their higher fat and sodium content, there are some easy ways to make your Del Taco tacos a bit healthier:
- Order crunchy tacos instead of soft tacos to reduce carbs, calories, and sodium.
- Choose chicken or steak as the protein instead of higher fat beef.
- Ask for extra lettuce and tomatoes to add nutrients and fiber.
- Use salsa instead of sour cream for moisture without the saturated fat.
- Skip the cheese or ask for reduced amount to cut calories and fat.
- Order soft tacos “fresco style” to replace cheese with pico de gallo.
- Opt for corn tortillas if available to reduce carbs and calories vs flour.
- Drink water instead of soda high in sugar.
- Share your tacos or order fewer to control portions.
You can definitely satisfy your taco craving at Del Taco while still watching your nutrition by customizing your order. The fresco style tacos and chicken are your best bets for lighter options.
Should You Eat Del Taco Tacos on a Diet?
When following a reduced calorie diet for weight loss, Del Taco tacos can be worked into your eating plan in moderation. There are also tips to cut back on calories when ordering:
- Order just one taco versus two or three to save calories.
- Opt for chicken or steak instead of higher fat beef.
- Choose crunchy taco and skip the sides and soda.
- Use plenty of lettuce and tomatoes as lower calorie fillings.
- Ask for a light hand with the cheese and sour cream.
- Have a side salad instead of fries or rice.
- Drink a bottle of water with your meal.
One regular crunchy chicken or steak taco from Del Taco contains 150-180 calories. That can fit into a reduced calorie diet of around 1,200-1,500 calories per day. You would just need to balance it out with lighter meals and snacks for the rest of your day.
Tips for Tracking Calories When Eating Out
Tracking your calories is important when trying to lose or manage your weight. Here are some tips for tracking calories for meals at restaurants like Del Taco:
- Check online nutrition info before going to have an idea of calories.
- Look up nutrition calculators that estimate calories based on your order.
- Use a food logging app to enter your order and log calories.
- Ask for sauces and dressings on the side to control portions.
- Request any substitutions or modifications to make it lighter.
- Take a portion of any large servings to eat as leftovers.
- Aim for lighter choices like salads, grilled chicken, and water.
- Don’t feel obligated to finish large portions or super-sized combos.
Being prepared by checking calories ahead of time, tracking your order, and making smart swaps will help you stick to your nutrition goals, even when eating fast food.
Should You Avoid Del Taco Tacos Altogether?
Del Taco tacos don’t have to be avoided completely in your diet, even when trying to eat healthy or lose weight. Some pros of Del Taco tacos in moderation:
- They can satisfy a craving for Mexican food using basic lean protein and veggies.
- Tacos provide more nutrition from ingredients like lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and avocado versus a cheeseburger.
- Having a taco is preferable to skipping a meal and overeating later.
- You can customize tacos to be healthier by subbing in chicken, extra produce.
- Tacos can be a good option for veggie diets when made with beans instead of meat.
Eating Del Taco or any fast food always in excess isn’t the healthiest choice. But an occasional order of tacos made with smarter choices can be reasonably incorporated into an overall balanced diet.
So how many calories are in a regular taco from Del Taco? A standard crunchy taco with beef, cheese, lettuce and tomato is around 170 calories. The soft taco with the same ingredients comes in a little higher at 300 calories. Tacos can range depending on ingredients and customizations, but chicken and veggie loaded options are your best bet for lower calories. While not the healthiest menu choice, Del Taco tacos can be worked into your eating plan in moderation by customizing your order and tracking calories.