How many calories in shrimp fajitas at a Mexican restaurant?

Shrimp fajitas are a popular menu item at many Mexican restaurants. A serving of shrimp fajitas typically consists of seasoned and grilled shrimp, onions, and bell peppers wrapped in a warm tortilla. But how many calories are actually in a shrimp fajita entree? The number of calories can vary depending on the restaurant, ingredients, and portion size. In general, a shrimp fajita entree ranges from 500-800 calories. The shrimp, vegetables, tortillas, and any additional toppings like cheese, guacamole, or sour cream impact the total calorie count. When dining out, it’s hard to get an exact calorie amount, but you can make reasonable estimates using nutrition information and the portion you are served. This article provides a detailed breakdown of the typical calorie counts in each component of shrimp fajitas, and tips for lightening them up when ordering at a restaurant.

Calories in Shrimp

The star ingredient of shrimp fajitas is the shrimp itself. A 3-ounce serving of grilled shrimp contains approximately 84 calories and 1 gram of fat. Shrimp are naturally low in calories since they have minimal fat. The number of calories in your fajita shrimp will depend on the quantity served. Most restaurants provide between 6-12 grilled shrimp in a fajita entree. Going with the lower end at 6 shrimp (about 3 ounces) would add 84 calories to your meal. A larger 12 shrimp portion would have about 168 calories. If you want to lighten up your fajitas, opt for a single shrimp skewer on the side instead of the full shrimp entree. The seasoning on the shrimp also impacts the calories. Plain grilled shrimp has the least calories, while shrimp cooked in oil or butter will have slightly more fat and calories. Ask for yours dry grilled or request lemon wedges for squeezing rather than buttery sauces.

Calories in Onions and Bell Peppers

In addition to shrimp, traditional fajitas are served with grilled onions and bell peppers. Both onions and bell peppers are low calorie vegetables, so they add minimal calories to shrimp fajibles. A 1/2 cup of sliced raw onions contains approximately 32 calories. When onions are grilled, they lose some volume, but still only contribute about 25 calories per 1/2 cup serving. Green, red, and yellow bell peppers contain between 20-30 calories per 1/2 cup raw. Again, when grilled the volume decreases but not the calories. So you can estimate around 25 calories per 1/2 cup of grilled bell pepper. Together the onion and bell pepper mix likely adds 50-75 calories to a shrimp fajita entree. Onions and bell peppers are highly nutritious andprovide important vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Be sure to eat any onion and pepper mix that comes with your fajitas to get nutrients without a lot of calories.

Calories in Tortillas

An authentic fajita entree includes warm corn or flour tortillas on the side to wrap up the shrimp and veggies. One small 6-inch tortilla contains about 60 calories whether it is made from corn or flour. Most restaurants provide 3-4 tortillas with a fajita order. If you eat all 3 tortillas, that tallies up to 180-240 calories just for the tortillas alone. To lighten your meal, consider asking the server for just 1-2 tortillas on the side. You really only need one for wrapping up fajita fillings. You can also request a lettuce wrap instead of the tortilla if you are trying to avoid carbs and calories. Using lettuce leaves instead of tortillas can shave off over 200 calories. Just keep in mind that tortillas are an important part of soaking up fajita juices and flavors. Having a single tortilla on the side lets you enjoy some carbs in moderation with your fajitas.

Fillings and Toppings

In addition to the core ingredients of shrimp, veggies, and tortillas, there are several other higher calorie fillings and toppings that might come with fajitas. These include:

  • Cheese – Cheddar, jack, or queso fresco cheese sprinkled on top adds about 100 calories per 1/4 cup shredded.
  • Sour cream – Two tablespoons of sour cream contributes around 60 calories and 6 grams fat.
  • Guacamole – Two tablespoons of guacamole has about 50 calories and 5 grams fat.
  • Rice – A 1/2 cup side of spanish rice can have 200 or more calories.
  • Beans – Black or pinto beans add 130 calories per 1/2 cup side.
  • Chips and salsa – Tortilla chips and salsa provide extra carbs, about 140 calories per handful of chips and 1/4 cup of salsa.

Cheese, sour cream, and guacamole add flavor, creaminess, and richness to fajitas. But they aren’t strictly necessary, so you can ask for any of those toppings on the side or skip them altogether. Also go easy on any sides of rice and beans to prevent excess calories. Share chips and salsa if ordering as an appetizer instead of overindulging in the basket.

Estimating Total Calories

Putting all the pieces together, a typical restaurant shrimp fajita entree will contain:

  • Shrimp: 168 calories (12 grilled shrimp)
  • Onions & peppers: 50 calories (1/2 cup)
  • Tortillas: 180 calories (3 tortillas)
  • Cheese: 100 optional calories (1/4 cup)
  • Sour cream: 60 optional calories (2 Tbsp)
  • Guacamole: 50 optional calories (2 Tbsp)

This totals up to around 550 calories for just the core fajita ingredients of shrimp, onions, peppers, and tortillas. With optional toppings and sides, the calories could easily exceed 700 or more. To lighten up your shrimp fajitas:

  • Ask for grilled shrimp without added oils or fatty sauces
  • Load up on the onions and bell peppers
  • Order just 1-2 tortillas instead of 3
  • Hold the rice and beans as sides, or order small portions like 1/4 cup
  • Use restraint with cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and chips/salsa

Making some simple tweaks can save you 200 calories or more compared to a loaded fajita entree. You can also balance fajitas with lighter choices for appetizers and drinks, like sipping water with lemon instead of margaritas. Enjoy the bold Tex-Mex flavors of shrimp fajitas while keeping your meal relatively healthy.

Nutrition Information at Mexican Restaurants

Mexican restaurants rarely provide the full nutrition breakdown and calorie count for menu items. However, some tips to get a general idea include:

  • Check the restaurant website, many post at least limited nutrition data for popular menu choices.
  • Ask your server – they may have a nutrition brochure or know general calorie ranges.
  • Look up a similar item at chain restaurants like Chevys, Chili’s, or Chipotle which provide online nutrition facts.
  • Search calorie counters online for estimates on shrimp fajitas at Mexican restaurants.
  • Use your best judgment comparing portion sizes to photos of similar items with nutrition info.

While it’s difficult to know the exact calorie count, you can piece together a sensible estimate based on the typical components of shrimp fajitas and comparable dishes. Apps like MyFitnessPal or Lose It! also have user generated data on many restaurant meals like fajitas.

Ordering Tips for Lower Calorie Fajitas

You can enjoy the fresh and flavorful taste of shrimp fajitas without going overboard on calories by following these tips when ordering:

  • Request grilled shrimp without oil or butter.
  • Ask for extra onions and peppers, go easy on cheese, sour cream, and guacamole.
  • Order just 1-2 tortillas instead of the standard 3.
  • Substitute a lettuce wrap for 1-2 of the tortillas.
  • Choose corn tortillas which are lower in calories than flour.
  • Limit high calorie appetizers like chips, dip, and fried foods.
  • Order a side salad with light dressing instead of rice or beans.
  • Stick to water or unsweetened tea instead of cocktails and sugary drinks.
  • Request half portions or take half home of any rice, beans, toppings you can’t resist.
  • Share an entree with a dining companion to control portions.

Following these simple guidelines can easily shave off 200-300 calories from a single fajita entree. You can also balance your meal by ordering lighter starters and drinks. When dining with a group, share several appetizers for variety instead of each person getting their own fried appetizer or dip.

Healthy Homemade Fajitas

For the best nutrition control, consider making healthier shrimp fajitas at home. That way you can monitor the ingredients, cooking oils, and portion sizes. Here is a recipe for 5-ingredient baked shrimp fajitas that comes in at just over 300 calories per serving:

Baked Shrimp Fajitas


  • 1 lb raw, peeled shrimp
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 whole wheat tortillas


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. In a baking dish, combine shrimp, bell pepper, onion, garlic, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, and salt/pepper. Toss to coat.
  3. Bake for 10-15 minutes until shrimp is opaque and cooked through.
  4. Warm tortillas according to package directions.
  5. Divide fajita mixture among the 6 tortillas and add optional toppings like salsa, light sour cream, avocado, etc.

Nutrition for 1 fajita:

  • Calories: 317
  • Fat: 3g
  • Carbs: 40g
  • Protein: 29g

Baked at home, one serving contains about 300 calories versus 500-800 at a restaurant! Adjust the quantities or ingredients to suit your tastes. Try swapping in chicken or veggies instead of shrimp. Home cooking allows you to control sodium and boost nutrition with added vegetables. Enjoy healthier homemade fajitas while still getting that classic Mexican flavor.

Maintaining a Healthy Diet

Shrimp fajitas can be part of an overall healthy diet when ordered mindfully and in moderation at restaurants. Consider these general tips for healthy eating when dining out:

  • Drink water instead of sugary beverages like soda, juices, or alcohol.
  • Look for grilled, roasted, or steamed proteins instead of fried.
  • Load up the plate with veggie sides like salads, steamed broccoli, etc.
  • Ask for sauces and dressings on the side to control portion size.
  • Request small or half portions of rice, pasta, potatoes, and other high-carb sides.
  • Share dishes family-style or take leftovers home to limit overeating.
  • Balance heavier restaurant meals with lighter snacks and home-cooked dinners.
  • Skip excessive carbs from bread baskets, chips/salsa, fried apps, desserts.

It’s certainly possible to indulge in treats like fajitas in moderation, just balance with nutritious choices for the rest of your meals. Try splitting a meal with a dining companion or taking a share home for lunch the next day. Building meals around lean proteins, veggies, whole grains, and healthy fats can keep your overall diet on track.


In summary, the calorie count of shrimp fajitas can vary greatly depending on preparation methods, portion sizes, and accompaniments. On average, a restaurant shrimp fajita entree likely falls in the range of 550-800 calories. Lighter versions can come in closer to 500 calories, while loaded fajitas with multiple toppings and sides may exceed 1,000 calories. To lighten up your fajita meal:

  • Opt for grilled ingredients without oil/butter and load up on onion/peppers.
  • Stick to just 1-2 tortillas or sub lettuce wraps.
  • Limit high-calorie sauces, cheeses, rice, beans.
  • Share appetizers and sides instead of overindulging.
  • Sip water or unsweetened drinks.

With smart menu choices like these, you can enjoy the bold Tex-Mex flavors while keeping your fajita meal relatively healthy. Balance an occasional indulgent restaurant meal with plenty of nutritious homemade foods the rest of the week. Home cooking allows you to control calories and up the nutritional value in dishes like fajitas by using fresh ingredients. With mindful ordering and proper portion control, shrimp fajitas can be part of an overall balanced diet.

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