Is steak healthy at Chipotle?

Quick Answers

Steak at Chipotle can be a healthy option depending on how it is prepared and what toppings and sides you choose. Steak itself is a good source of protein and nutrients like iron, zinc, and B vitamins. However, Chipotle’s steak can be high in saturated fat and sodium, so moderation is key.

An In-Depth Look at Steak at Chipotle

Chipotle offers steak as a protein option for burritos, bowls, tacos, and salads. While steak provides beneficial nutrients, it’s important to consider how healthy Chipotle’s steak really is.

Steak Nutrition at Chipotle

A serving of Chipotle’s steak contains:

  • 230 calories
  • 9g fat
  • 4.5g saturated fat
  • 65mg cholesterol
  • 25g protein
  • 370mg sodium
  • 2g carbohydrates
  • 10% DV iron
  • 15% DV zinc
  • B vitamins including B12, niacin, and riboflavin

Steak is a good source of protein and important nutrients. However, Chipotle’s steak is on the high side for saturated fat and sodium due to the cooking method and seasonings used.

Grass-Fed Steak vs Grain-Fed

Chipotle advertises their steak as “responsibly raised” without added hormones or antibiotics. While their steak is likely healthier than typical commercial grain-fed steak, Chipotle does not specify if their steak is 100% grass-fed.

Grass-fed steak has a healthier nutritional profile than conventional grain-fed steak. Grass-fed steak contains:

  • More omega-3 fatty acids
  • More conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) – linked to fat loss
  • Higher levels of antioxidants like vitamin E
  • A healthier ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids

So while Chipotle’s steak has some nutritional merits, grass-fed would be the healthiest option.

Steak Cooking Method at Chipotle

Chipotle cooks their steak on a flat top grill and seasons it with salt, pepper, and spice blend. This cooking method and seasoning likely increases the saturated fat and sodium content compared to unseasoned grilled steak.

For a healthier option, consider asking for citrus or herb marinated steak. This adds flavor without as much salt.

Cut of Steak at Chipotle

Chipotle does not specify which cuts of steak they use. Common options like sirloin, ribeye, or strip steak have slightly different nutrition profiles. Fattier cuts like ribeye contain more saturated fat and calories than leaner cuts like sirloin.

Steak Portion Size at Chipotle

Chipotle offers just one steak portion size: 4 ounces uncooked, or about 3 ounces cooked. This single portion size makes it easier to control your serving size. A 3-4 ounce serving is considered a healthy portion for an average adult as part of a meal.

Building a Healthy Steak Bowl or Burrito

While steak alone may be high in sodium and saturated fat, you can make a healthier meal by adding the right toppings and sides:

  • Fill half your bowl or burrito with non-starchy veggies like lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, onions, salsa, etc.
  • Add a side of black or pinto beans for extra fiber and plant-based protein.
  • Use brown rice or quinoa instead of white rice for more nutrients.
  • Load up on fresh tomato salsa, pico de gallo, and guacamole instead of cheese, sour cream, and creamy sauces.
  • Ask for citrus or herb marinated steak instead of plain grilled steak.
  • Avoid chips and opt for a side salad with light dressing instead.

Healthy Steak Bowl Combinations

Try these tasty steak bowl ideas:

  • Steak bowl with brown rice, black beans, fajita veggies, tomato salsa, lettuce, guacamole
  • Steak bowl with quinoa, pinto beans, roasted sweet potato, pico de gallo, roasted corn salsa
  • Steak bowl with mixed greens, caramelized onions, peppers, pico de gallo, fresh lime juice

Is Steak Healthy for Weight Loss?

Steak can be included as part of a healthy weight loss diet. Protein foods like steak help you feel fuller for longer, curb cravings, and retain muscle mass when trying to lose fat.

For weight loss, it’s best to choose leaner cuts of steak and moderate your portion size. Grill or broil steak instead of frying it in oil. Combine it with veggies and limit high-calorie sides like rice, tortillas, and chips.

Steak Nutrition Per Calorie

At Chipotle, 230 calories of steak provides 25g protein. Compared to the same number of calories from rice or chips, steak is more nutritious:

Food Calories Protein (g)
Steak 230 25
White Rice 230 4
Chips 230 3

This comparison shows that for the same number of calories, steak provides more filling protein than carb-heavy sides. So steak can be an effective weight loss food in appropriate portions.

Is Steak Keto-Friendly at Chipotle?

Chipotle’s steak is a keto-friendly menu option. The keto diet limits carbs to 20-50g per day, so steak is ideal since it contains minimal carbs.

To make your Chipotle steak keto, avoid carb-heavy ingredients like rice, beans, tortillas, and sugary salsas. Fill your bowl or salad with plenty of low-carb veggies and healthy fats from guacamole, cheese, or sour cream.

Keto steak bowl ideas:

  • Steak bowl with cauliflower rice, cheese, lettuce, pico de gallo, guacamole
  • Steak salad with mixed greens, salsa, guacamole, crema

Is Chipotle’s Steak Paleo?

Chipotle’s responsibly-raised grilled steak aligns with paleo diet principles of eating lean, unprocessed meat. However, paleo avoids added salt, soybean oil, and dairy.

To make Chipotle’s steak fully paleo-friendly:

  • Ask for citrus-marinated steak instead of plain salted steak
  • Avoid cheese, sour cream, and Chipotle’s signature vinaigrette which contains soybean oil
  • Build your bowl or salad with paleo toppings like salsa, guacamole, and veggies

Healthiest Ways to Eat Steak at Chipotle

Here are some of healthiest ways to enjoy steak in a bowl, burrito, salad, or taco at Chipotle:

  • Bowl with brown rice, black beans, fajita veggies, mild salsa, romaine lettuce, guacamole
  • Burrito bowl with no rice, double veggie fajitas, hot salsa, lettuce, guacamole
  • Salad with romaine, caramelized onions, peppers, tomatoes, salsa, lime juice
  • Soft taco with steak, lettuce, tomato salsa, guacamole

Unhealthiest Ways to Eat Steak at Chipotle

On the other hand, these options are some of the unhealthiest ways to prepare Chipotle steak:

  • Burrito with white rice, black beans, cheese, sour cream, chipotle-honey vinaigrette
  • Bowl with white rice, steak, cheese, sour cream, tomatillo red chili salsa
  • Nachos with chips, steak, cheese, sour cream, guacamole
  • Quesadilla with flour tortilla, steak, cheese, sour cream, chips and guacamole

Healthier Substitutions at Chipotle

Instead of steak, you can build an equally healthy meal with these lower-sodium, lower-fat substitutions:

  • Chicken, barbacoa, or carnitas
  • Sofritas (braised tofu)
  • Fajita veggies or double portion veggie


Overall, steak can be part of a healthy diet at Chipotle in moderate portions. Choose healthy toppings and sides to balance out the sodium, saturated fat, and calories. Limit extras like cheese, chips, and creamy sauces. With mindful customizations, steak at Chipotle provides protein, nutrients, and satisfaction.

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