The Quesalupa from Taco Bell is an intriguing new menu item that has generated a lot of buzz and interest from customers. This stuffed chalupa contains cheese sauce and is filled with melted cheese, leading many to wonder just how many calories are contained in one of these indulgent new offerings. For those watching their waistlines or counting calories, the calorie count of the Quesalupa may be an important factor in the decision of whether or not to try it. This article will provide a thorough exploration of the Quesalupa, its ingredients, and a final calorie tally to answer the question: how many calories does a Quesalupa have?
What is a Quesalupa?
The Quesalupa is Taco Bell’s newest menu item, first introduced in test markets in 2015 before rolling out nationwide in 2016. It is a variant of their popular chalupa, featuring a shell made with a cheesy seasoned flatbread rather than the traditional fried flour shell. This cheesy bread is filled with standard chalupa fillings like seasoned beef, lettuce, tomatoes, reduced fat sour cream and cheddar cheese. The key feature that distinguishes the Quesalupa from a regular chalupa is the addition of pepper jack cheese sauce. This smooth, creamy queso is injected into the bread shell of the Quesalupa before assembly, resulting in a gooey cheese interior.
The name Quesalupa is a portmanteau of the Spanish word for cheese, “queso”, combined with chalupa. This is an apt name for this cheesy, melty menu item. Taco Bell describes it as a hybrid between a quesadilla and a chalupa. Overall, the Quesalupa aims to deliver an over-the-top cheese experience by incorporating cheese sauce within its cheesy flatbread shell, in addition to regular cheese toppings.
To determine the total calorie count, we must first look at the complete ingredients in a Quesalupa:
Flatbread – The unique flatbread shell is made from flour, water, and a blend of mozzarella, cheddar, asadero and pepper jack cheeses.
Pepper Jack Cheese Sauce – Smooth, creamy cheese sauce made from milk, pepper jack cheese (pasteurized milk, jalapeño peppers, culture, salt, enzymes), modified food starch, buttermilk, whey protein concentrate, methylcellulose, natamycin (a natural mold inhibitor), salt, monosodium glutamate, lactic acid, maltodextrin, sodium phosphate, citric acid, colour and bleach.
Seasoned Beef – Beef, water, seasoning (salt, chili pepper, onion powder, sodium phosphates, garlic powder, spice, sugar, soybean oil, cocoa powder, sodium metabisulfite and potassium sorbate as preservatives).
Lettuce – Fresh crisp shredded lettuce.
Tomatoes – Sliced tomato pieces.
Reduced Fat Sour Cream – Cultured grade A reduced fat milk, cream, whey protein concentrate, enrichment (milk protein concentrate, cornstarch, mono and diglycerides, autolyzed yeast extract, potassium chloride, locust bean gum, sodium citrate, vitamin D3), citric acid, sodium phosphate, modified food starch, gelatin, lactic acid, natamycin.
Cheddar Cheese – Pasteurized milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes.
Now that we know all the components that make up a Quesalupa, we can examine the nutrition facts and calculate the total calories:
|Flatbread – 1 shell
|Pepper Jack Cheese Sauce – 2 oz
|Seasoned Beef – 1.5 oz
|Lettuce – 0.5 oz
|Tomatoes – 1 oz
|Reduced Fat Sour Cream – 1 oz
|Cheddar Cheese – 1 oz
Quesalupa Calories in Different Sizes
The nutrition facts above are for a standard Quesalupa. However, this cheesy chalupa is available in different sizes which will alter the calorie count:
– Snack Size Quesalupa – This smaller sized option has around 278 calories.
– Grande Size Quesalupa – The larger grande size packs about 584 calories.
So the calorie range is 278-584 calories depending on if you order a smaller snack size or the indulgent grande size.
How Quesalupa Calories Compare to Other Taco Bell Items
At 457 calories, the regular Quesalupa clocks in with a higher calorie count than Taco Bell’s standard crunchy taco at 170 calories. However, it contains less calories than some of Taco Bell’s more substantial offerings. For comparison:
– Chalupa Supreme – 500 calories
– Burrito Supreme – 360 calories
– Crunchwrap Supreme – 520 calories
– 7 Layer Burrito – 450 calories
So the Quesalupa definitely ranks on the higher side for calorie count compared to other main menu items. The cheese-stuffed flatbread and creamy queso add more calories than a typical crunchy or soft taco. Those wanting a lower calorie option would be better off with simple bean burritos or fresco style tacos.
Quesalupa Calories vs Other Fast Food
Weighing in at 457 calories, the Quesalupa also contains more calories than many standard fast food burgers, such as:
– McDonald’s Hamburger – 250 calories
– Wendy’s Jr Bacon Cheeseburger – 290 calories
– Burger King WHOPPER Jr. Sandwich – 330 calories
However, it is less calorific than premium burgers like:
– McDonald’s Big Mac – 540 calories
– Burger King WHOPPER Sandwich – 660 calories
– Wendy’s Baconator – 970 calories
Compared to other common fast food options, a standard Quesalupa is reasonably caloric but not excessively so. It packs more calories than basic sandwiches but less than ultra-indulgent offerings loaded with bacon and extra cheese.
Health Impact of Quesalupa Calories
So what does 457 calories mean for your health if you eat a whole Quesalupa? For the average person, consuming one Quesalupa will account for about 23% of your daily recommended 2000 calorie intake. However, whether these calories lead to weight gain or other negative health impacts depends on your overall eating habits and lifestyle:
– If you have a sedentary lifestyle, the Quesalupa calories could contribute to excess weight gain over time if eaten frequently. But with regular exercise and balanced diet, an occasional Quesalupa can likely be accommodated.
– For people who need to closely monitor calories due to obesity, diabetes or other conditions, the Quesalupa may not be the best menu option due to its higher calorie density.
– For healthy individuals who are mindful about calories, enjoying a Quesalupa in moderation along with other nutritious foods and physical activity is unlikely to have major negative health impacts.
As with any indulgent food, moderation is key. An occasional Quesalupa may be perfectly fine for most people. But regularly eating multiple high calorie fast food meals could potentially increase risks for weight gain, heart disease and associated illnesses.
Ways to Make Quesalupa Healthier
If you want to enjoy the uniquely cheesy flavors of the Quesalupa but reduce the calorie count, there are some easy ways to make this item a bit healthier:
– Order snack size – Choosing the smaller snack Quesalupa cuts about 180 calories.
– Skip the sour cream – Removing the sour cream drops 20 calories.
– Replace beef with beans – Substituting beef for refried beans reduces 60 calories.
– Ask for extra vegetables – Packing on veggies boosts nutrition without adding many calories.
– Share with a friend – Split one Quesalupa as part of a meal.
– Squeeze on lime – Adding fresh lime juice brightens up the flavors.
– Drink water – Pair it with water instead of soda.
With some simple tweaks and restraint with portions, you can satisfy your Quesalupa craving while limiting the calorie impact.
The new Quesalupa from Taco Bell packs a cheesy bread shell filled with cheese sauce and classic taco fillings like beef and sour cream. This indulgent menu item contains about 457 calories for a standard sized Quesalupa. This calorie count is on the higher end compared to other fast food items. However, with its unique cheesy taste, the Quesalupa can be enjoyed guilt-free in moderation as part of an overall balanced diet. Those wanting to reduce its calorie count can customize their order, such as choosing a smaller size or skipping ingredients like sour cream. Regardless of whether you are counting calories or not, the Quesalupa makes for a delicious limited-time treat for cheese lovers.