A Taco Bell Power Bowl can be a great option if you are looking for a lower carb fast food meal. But exactly how many carbs are in a Power Bowl? In this comprehensive guide, we will break down the carb counts for the different Power Bowl options so you can make an informed decision.
An Overview of Taco Bell Power Bowls
Taco Bell Power Bowls are a relatively new menu item that was introduced in 2016. They are meant to provide more balanced meal options compared to some of Taco Bell’s other offerings.
Power Bowls start with a base of rice, lettuce, black beans, pico de gallo, avocado ranch sauce, and cheese. Then you can customize by adding different proteins like chicken, steak, or shrimp. There are also veggie options with guacamole.
Taco Bell touts the Power Bowls as being between 350 to 500 calories depending on your customizations. They are positioned as a lighter choice for fast food lovers wanting more veggies and less heavy tortillas and shells.
The Carb Counts for Different Power Bowl Options
When determining the carb count, the base of a Power Bowl starts out with:
- 1/2 cup seasoned rice – 23g carbs
- 1/4 cup black beans – 15g carbs
- Lettuce – 2g carbs
- Pico de Gallo – 4g carbs
- Avocado Ranch Sauce – 1g carbs
- Cheese – 1g carbs
So the starting carb count just for the basic Power Bowl before customizations is about 46g net carbs. Here is a breakdown of how many extra carbs the different add-ins contribute:
|Power Bowl Protein Options
|Grams of Carbs
As you can see, the chicken, steak, and shrimp add minimal carbs. But switching to the veggie option with guacamole does tack on a few extra carbs.
There are also some other ways to modify your Power Bowl that will change the carb count:
- Substitute romaine lettuce instead of rice – subtract 23g carbs
- Add red strips – add 1g carb
- Add onions – add 5g carbs
- Add jalapenos – add 1g carb
- Add roasted chili corn salsa – add 9g carbs
- Add avocado – add 4g carbs
The Lowest Carb Power Bowl Options
If you are following a low carb or keto diet, you’ll want to stick with modifications that minimize the carbs. Here are some of the lowest carb Power Bowl options:
Chicken Power Bowl
Start with chicken as the protein which adds zero carbs. Then substitute romaine lettuce instead of rice to eliminate 23g carbs. Also avoid extras like the roasted chili corn salsa, guacamole, or onions to keep it lowest carb.
The total for a Chicken Power Bowl with lettuce instead of rice comes out to around 22g net carbs.
Steak Power Bowl
Like the chicken version, choosing steak for the protein brings the carbs down. And swapping out rice for lettuce cuts down the bulk of carbs significantly.
A Steak Power Bowl with lettuce instead of rice will be around 22g net carbs.
Shrimp Power Bowl
Shrimp is another zero carb protein choice so it can create one of the lowest carb Power Bowls. Combined with lettuce instead of rice, this comes out to 22g net carbs as well.
The Highest Carb Power Bowl Options
On the opposite end of the spectrum, here are some ingredients that can raise the carb count:
- Veggie protein with guacamole – adds 4g carbs
- Rice bowl instead of lettuce – adds 23g carbs
- Extra red strips – adds 1g carb
- Onions – adds 5g carbs
- Jalapenos – adds 1g carb
- Roasted chili corn salsa – adds 9g carbs
- Avocado slices – adds 4g carbs
Selecting all of these higher carb options together can make a big difference. Here’s an example of the highest carb Power Bowl you could potentially order:
Veggie Power Bowl
– Veggie protein with guacamole – 4g carbs
– Includes rice – 23g carbs
– Adds red strips – 1g carb
– Adds onions – 5g carbs
– Adds jalapenos – 1g carb
– Adds roasted chili corn salsa – 9g carbs
– Adds avocado – 4g carbs
The total net carbs for this decked out veggie version would be around 94g carbs. That’s getting up there for a single fast food meal!
Tips for Ordering Low Carb at Taco Bell
If you want to keep your Taco Bell order low in carbs, here are some helpful tips beyond customizing your Power Bowl:
Avoid Tortillas and Rice
Tortillas, taco shells, burrito wraps, and rice are going to pile on the carbs quickly. Try items without these high carb components.
Skip Beans and Bean-Based Items
While beans have more fiber and nutrients than some ingredients, they are still fairly high in carbohydrates. Items like bean burritos and black beans will raise the carb tally.
Limit High Carb Sauces
Many Taco Bell sauces like ranch, creamy jalapeno, avocado ranch, and nacho cheese sauce are surprisingly high in carbs. Opt for smaller portions of these.
Add More Veggies
Veggies like lettuce, tomatoes, and sautéed onions and peppers provide nutrients and fiber with minimal carbs. Load up your order with produce.
Focus on Protein
Grilled chicken, steak, and shrimp all make excellent low carb fillings. You can even create a veggie bowl without rice or beans.
Watch Portion Sizes
Sticking to single tacos, small burritos, or bowls instead of combos and party packs can help control carb counts.
Sample Low Carb Taco Bell Orders
Here are a few ideas for low carb Taco Bell orders:
Beef Soft Taco and Chicken Mini Skillet Bowl
– 1 Beef Soft Taco Supreme (8g net carbs)
– Chicken Mini Skillet Bowl with no rice (10g net carbs)
Total Carbs: Around 18g net carbs
Crispy Chicken Taco Salad
– Crispy Chicken Taco Salad with no shell or rice (10g net carbs)
Chicken Soft Taco and Steak Rattlesnake Fries
– 1 Chicken Soft Taco Supreme (8g net carbs)
– Side of Rattlesnake Fries (6g net carbs)
Total Carbs: Around 14g net carbs
The Bottom Line
Taco Bell Power Bowls can range quite a bit in total carbs based on the ingredients you choose. The lowest carb options are the Chicken, Steak, or Shrimp Power Bowls with lettuce instead of rice. These clock in around 22g net carbs.
On the higher carb side, a loaded up Veggie Power Bowl can get up to 94g carbs. In general, avoiding rice, beans, and high carb sauces and extras will keep your carb counts down at Taco Bell.
With smart customizations and swaps, you can enjoy Taco Bell on a low carb or keto diet. Just pay attention to carb counts and adjust your meal accordingly.