What is the healthiest food at Taco Bell?

With obesity and diet-related diseases on the rise, more and more people are starting to pay attention to what they eat. Fast food has long had a reputation for being unhealthy and packed with calories, fat, and sodium. However, some fast food places are making an effort to add healthier options to their menus. One of those places is Taco Bell. While Taco Bell is still best known for indulgent tacos, burritos, and nachos, they do have some lighter options for customers looking for a healthier fast food meal. In this article, we’ll look at some of the healthiest items you can order at Taco Bell and provide nutrition information to help you make the best choices when dining there. We’ll also give some tips for how to customize your order to make it even healthier.

What Makes a Food Healthy?

Before looking at Taco Bell’s menu specifically, let’s go over what generally makes a food healthy or not. Here are some of the key factors nutritionists consider:

  • Calories – Lower is better for weight management
  • Fat – Lean protein and plant-based fats are healthiest
  • Sodium – Limiting sodium helps control blood pressure
  • Fiber – Important for digestion and heart health
  • Protein – Important for building muscle and feeling full
  • Sugars – Limit added and natural sugars
  • Processed ingredients – Limit highly processed ingredients when possible
  • Portion size – Even healthy foods should be eaten in moderation

When looking at fast food nutrition information, these are good criteria to evaluate.

Healthiest Entrees at Taco Bell

Looking at the main entrees at Taco Bell, these options stand out as the healthiest choices on the menu:

Power Menu Bowl

One of the best options is the Power Menu Bowl. This contains rice, black beans, red strips, roasted chili corn, romaine lettuce, avocado ranch, pico de gallo, and seasoned chicken. It has:

  • 510 calories
  • 15g fat
  • 980mg sodium
  • 18g protein

For a fast food bowl, those nutrition stats are quite reasonable. It’s a good meal for getting protein and fiber with fewer calories than most entrees.

Soft Chicken Tacos

A classic Taco Bell order, the soft chicken tacos are a pretty healthy option. Each taco contains a soft tortilla, chicken, lettuce, and cheese. One taco provides:

  • 170 calories
  • 26g fat
  • 370mg sodium
  • 12g protein

Order two or three of these for a satisfying low-calorie lunch or dinner.

Fresco Style Crunchy Taco

Taco Bell’s Fresco style removes cheese and sour cream and replaces them with pico de gallo. This reduces the calories, fat, and sodium while increasing the veggies. Each Fresco crunchy taco contains:

  • 150 calories
  • 3.5g fat
  • 310mg sodium
  • 9g protein

So compared to a regular crunchy taco, you slash 70 calories, 5g fat, and 220mg sodium by ordering Fresco style.

Cantina Power Bowl Veggie

For vegetarians, the Cantina Power Bowl with no meat is one of the best bets. It includes rice, black beans, seasoned tofu, roasted chili corn, romaine lettuce, avocado ranch, and pico de gallo. The nutrition info is:

  • 420 calories
  • 11g fat
  • 1015mg sodium
  • 19g protein

This is lower than most other entrees in calories, fat, and sodium while still providing filling plant-based protein.

Healthiest Taco Bell Sides

To make a balanced meal, you’ll want to pair your entree with some healthier side options. Here are the best ones Taco Bell offers:

Black Beans

A side of black beans gives you fiber and plant-based protein. One order has:

  • 80 calories
  • 0.5g fat
  • 460mg sodium
  • 5g protein


Rice makes a tasty, filling side. One order provides:

  • 120 calories
  • 0.5g fat
  • 35mg sodium
  • 2g protein

Pinto Beans

Similar to black beans, pinto beans are a smart choice, with:

  • 70 calories
  • 1g fat
  • 320mg sodium
  • 4g protein

Roasted Chili Corn

For a veggie side, try the roasted chili corn, which has:

  • 60 calories
  • 0g fat
  • 125mg sodium
  • 2g protein


A basic salad side is fairly low-cal and nutrient-dense:

  • 10 calories
  • 0g fat
  • 10mg sodium
  • 1g protein

Healthiest Taco Bell Drinks

When it comes to drinks, steering clear of sugary sodas is the best bet. Here are healthier Taco Bell beverage options:

Iced Tea

Unsweetened iced tea contains:

  • 0 calories
  • 0g fat
  • 10mg sodium
  • 0g protein

So this is the best option if you want a no-cal beverage.

Diet Soda

While diet sodas are controversial, they at least cut out the calories of regular soda. One Diet Pepsi order has:

  • 0 calories
  • 0g fat
  • 40mg sodium
  • 0g protein


Or you can simply stick with water for zero calories and sodium.

Customizing Your Taco Bell Order for Health

You can make your Taco Bell order even healthier by customizing it and asking for certain preparation methods. Here are some tips:

  • Go Fresco style – removes cheese and sour cream
  • Skip chips and opt for a side salad
  • Ask for extra veggies
  • Choose chicken or steak instead of ground beef
  • Request soft taco shells instead of crunchy
  • Ask for corn tortillas instead of flour
  • Choose black or pinto beans as a side
  • Ask for sauces and dressings on the side
  • Order small or kid-size portions
  • Avoid quesadillas, nachos, chimichangas, and burritos

Following some of these swaps and customizations can further reduce calories, fat, and sodium in your food choices.

The 5 Healthiest Taco Bell Menu Items

To summarize, here are the top 5 healthiest items overall currently on the Taco Bell menu:

  1. Power Menu Bowl with chicken
  2. Soft Chicken Tacos Fresco Style
  3. Fresco Crunchy Tacos
  4. Cantina Power Bowl Veggie
  5. Black Beans and Rice

Focus your order around combinations of those items to create tasty lower-calorie Taco Bell meals.

Healthier Taco Bell Meals

Here are some examples of full Taco Bell orders incorporating the healthiest menu items:

Meal 1

  • Power Menu Bowl with Grilled Chicken
  • Iced Tea

This simple combo gets you a filling 510 calorie bowl and zero calorie drink.

Meal 2

  • 2 Soft Chicken Tacos Fresco Style
  • Pinto Beans
  • Water

Two tacos with beans makes a 370 calorie meal.

Meal 3

  • Cantina Power Bowl Veggie
  • Side of Lettuce
  • Diet Pepsi

A vegetarian option under 500 calories.

Meal 4

  • Fresco Crunchy Taco
  • Black Beans
  • Roasted Chili Corn
  • Water

Mix and match lighter sides for a veggie-packed meal.

Should You Eat at Taco Bell if You’re On a Diet?

Taco Bell gets a bad rap for being highly processed junk food. However, with smart menu choices, you can find relatively healthy options even at a fast food place. While very restrictive diets like keto or veganism are tough to follow at Taco Bell, most basic calorie-reduction diets can accommodate occasional Taco Bell meals. Moderation is key – don’t make it an everyday habit. But visiting Taco Bell once in awhile when cravings strike can be part of an overall healthy lifestyle when you order right. Focus on sensible options highlighted in this article like fresco tacos, power bowls, and salad sides. With the right choices, Taco Bell can satisfy your tastes without completely blowing your diet.

Nutritional Information of Healthy Taco Bell Menu Items

Menu Item Calories Fat (g) Sodium (mg) Protein (g)
Power Menu Bowl with Chicken 510 15 980 18
Soft Chicken Taco Fresco Style 170 6 370 12
Fresco Crunchy Taco 150 3.5 310 9
Cantina Power Bowl Veggie 420 11 1015 19
Black Beans 80 0.5 460 5
Rice 120 0.5 35 2
Pinto Beans 70 1 320 4
Roasted Chili Corn 60 0 125 2
Lettuce 10 0 10 1


Despite its reputation for indulgence, Taco Bell offers nutritious options like power bowls, fresco tacos, black beans, rice, and salads. Stick to the lighter choices outlined here, avoid fried and cheesy items, customize your order, and moderate portions. With smart ordering, Taco Bell can occasionally fit into an overall healthy diet. Moderation and balance are key. So next Taco Bell craving, try one of the healthy meal combos suggested. Your body and taste buds will thank you.

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