So on Sunday we went to Qdoba and I didn’t check the nutritional information beforehand, I just kind of went with “what sounded good”—a definite mistake if trying to eat even semi-healthy at Qdoba! After I got home I decided Eating Healthy at Qdoba needed to be the next post in my “Healthy Restaurant Guide” series.
Disclaimer: I recognize that fast food even “upscale” fast food is what it is—lots of sodium, processed food, probably GMOs, animals raised in factory farms—my point is NOT to laud fast food as the healthiest choice, but to help you discover some of the healthiest fast food options out there.
Eating Healthy at Qdoba
I came across this little tidbit on their website: “Taste Buds Never Lie– What it all comes down to is having a passion for crafting something creative and special; food that your taste buds will love you for.”
Creating food that my taste buds love may have been all it was about when I was 14 or when I was gaining weight and not giving a darn about my health—but now that’s not all I want from my food.
I want food that yes, tastes good, but also won’t make me feel like crap, gives me energy, and fuels my body for more than a nap on the couch.
- They have a simple to navigate online menu so you can check the nutritional information on your food choices BEFORE you get to the restaurant.
- They have quite a few fresh options of veggies to top your food with—I also like the option of going veggie on their meals using fajita vegetables—yum!
- Option of brown rice or salad to make your burrito!
- Feels a bit more “fancy” and like you’re treating yourself more than fast food.
- As you can see from their website there is sort of a false sense of “healthiness” about Qdoba, like it’s okay to eat a giant burrito as long as you put black beans and brown rice on it.
- It is really easy to add-on a LOT of extra calories with the toppings—sour cream, cheese, guacamole—it adds up fast!
- Processed ingredients (I checked their full nutritional/allergen breakdown), high calorie items, and just in general, typical fast food.
Get my Healthy Restaurant Cheat Sheets with the top healthy choices at all my favorite fast food and casual dining places!!
As I experienced on Sunday, it is HARD to make choices that support healthy eating at Qdoba just based on the menu. I would ABSOLUTELY use their website beforehand to get the nutritional information and have your meal planned out before you walk in the door. With that being said, here are some things I would choose at Qdoba.
Healthy Choices at Qdoba
Taco Salad with no bowl, with chicken, black bean and corn salsa, fat free picante ranch, salsa verde, fajita vegetables. Calories: 345 Fat: 12. Their mango salad without a bowl would also be a great choice!
Tacos with flour soft tortilla, shredded beef, roasted chile corn, salsa roja, lettuce and fajita vegetables. 1 taco – Calories:195. Fat: 6. You could get the “Pick 2” option, get four tacos, eat two now, and save the other two for lunch tomorrow if you want to be healthy AND cheap!
Burrito Bowl – Their burrito bowl is one of my favorites! With chicken, rice, beans, fajita vegetables and sour cream it is 555 calories. Added in guacamole (a healthy fat) is another 130 calories. Depending on the day that could be “worth it” to you! Love me some guac!
Chicken tortilla soup in a small or large size is a good choice as well. Calories: 160 Fat: 8 in the “Pick 2” size; double that number for a large. Don’t get lured into adding “expensive” toppings like cheese, sour cream, and tortilla strips.
Definitely Avoid at Qdoba:
To me, these are the foods Qdoba is known and loved for—nachos smothered in queso, giant burritos, quesadillas—and yeah, they sound good, but (contrary to what Qdoba’s Ad team would like you to believe) your taste buds are not always right–proceed with caution and make these a once in a blue moon treat meal.
3 Cheese Nachos topped with ground beef, black beans, salsa, shredded cheese, and sour cream. Calories: 1,035. Fat: 52
Queso Burrito with grilled steak, pinto beans, rice, salsa, lettuce, shredded cheese, sour cream, and guacamole. Calories: 1285 Fat: 55 (I would like to note you could eat a quarter pounder with cheese, medium fry, and hot fudge sundae from McDonalds for less calories.)
Grilled Chicken Quesadilla with grilled chicken, shredded cheese, salsa, and sour cream. Calories: 1095. Fat: 64
Bottom line: if you want good, (Americanized) Mexican food that is healthy and made with quality ingredients your BEST option is to make it at home, (like these delicious easy chicken enchiladas!!!).
But life happens!
Sometimes you want or need a quick and easy dinner that someone else makes and cleans up the dishes afterwards. There are some solid healthy choices on the menu for healthy eating at Qdoba!
Yes, eating healthy at Qdoba is totally possible, but it takes some planning and self control (why is the queso so tempting!!?!) to navigate this “healthier” fast food option.
Is eating healthy at Qdoba possible? It is–with a little planning and self control you can navigate the sea of burritos and queso and find healthy choices.
Do you eat at Qdoba? Or other similar restaurants? What do you normally order?