• The food at Chipotle can be healthy but the wrong choices can really set you back.
  • The chicken used in Chipotle comes from thigh meat, which carries a lot of fat.
  • Chipotle’s food do carry GMO’s and trans fats.
  • Avoid the sauces at all costs and opt for a brown rice bowl instead of a burrito .


Chipotle: The good, the bad, and the fatty

If you are following fitness personalities on Social Media, you won’t miss the number of posts that are made concerning eating guilt-free at Chipotle. This makes sense, as Chipotle claims to offer Non-GMO and grass fed meats, and a typical burrito bowl consists of Rice, beans and chicken…your typical bodybuilding bro meal. Everything is not always as it seems though, and there are a few facts to get straight when it comes to eating at Chipotle before making the final call on whether its’ slogan “Food with Integrity” can hold up to its claim:


  • Contrary to what the company wants its customers to believe, Chipotle does not do all of its own cooking; the restaurant-chain outsources its cooking to outside companies that makes McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets, Big Mac and McRibs.
  • In 2013, Chipotle became the first national restaurant company to disclose the full ingredient list of all of its food items. While this effort was commendable, it also disclosed to the public that Chipotle’s ingredients do include Genetically Modified products and trans fats.  These ingredients are most commonly found in the Tortillas, Tortilla chips, burritos and the rice. **Studies have shown that over 30,000 cardiac deaths per year are attributable to trans fat consumption and is one of the few ingredients that a variety of governments imposed bans on.
  • Chipotle’s meats have three listed requirements: that their animals receive no added hormones, no antibiotics and were humanely raised.  Although Chipotle does not disclose its definition of  “humanely raised”, the restaurant chain is one of the few that claims to hold up to these standards. However, it’s important to note that when Chipotle cannot find enough “responsibly raised meat”, it relies on conventionally raised meat, which do not conform to any of the three listed requirements.
  • The chicken used in Chipotle is 100% thigh meat( it sells its breast meat to Panera). Thigh meat is the dark, fatty portion of the chicken and should not be confused with chicken breast, which is the healthy kind of lean meat that athletes consume as part of their daily diet. This means that frequently eating chicken at Chipotle is probably not the best idea if you are training for an athletic event, or trying to lose as much body fat as fast as possible.
  • The New York Times published a data analysis of about 3,000 meals ordered at Chipotle and the report showed that the average order contains 1,070 calories, 2,400 milligrams of Sodium and 75 percent of the daily recommended intake of saturated Fat. Although this report shows that we have to be mindful when we eat at Chipotle, as we highlighted in our nutrition crash course not all calories are created equal. Chipotle contains many food items, such as the salad, beans and fajitas which can fill nutritional gaps. Like always, the key lies in making the right choices.

CE Menu Hack

  • Many people don’t know this, but you can request fresh chopped cilantro on your meal, free of charge. Cilantro is a herb contains linalool and geranyl acetate oils, which will help your digestive system and contains a good amount of Vitamin A, C, E and B6.

If you are serious about building muscle, your goal is to get good quantity of protein, complex carbs and some healthy fats. As previously mentioned, some of the items in Chipotle( such as the chicken) already add up extra calories( the average meal at Chipotle contains 1,070 calories). Thus, the best piece of advice is to choose items that are as nutritionally dense as possible and that will fill your micro/macronutrient requirements for the day.  Keeping that in mind, here are some things to note:


General Health/Everyone

  1. Sour Cream( 115 cals, 10 grams of fat)
  2. Cheese( 100 calories, 8 grams of fat)
  3. Vinaigrette( 270 calories, 25 grams of fat)
  4. Chips ( 570 calories, 27 grams of fat, 73 grams of carbs)
  5. All sodas
  6. Burrito flour tortilla *( 300 calories, 46 gram of carbs)

*contains trans fats

Fat Loss/Athletic Performance/Recomp( in addition to previous list)

  1. Guacamole ( 170 calories, 16grams of fat)
  2. Carnitas( 220 calories, 13 grams of fat)
  3. Corn Salsa( 80 calories, 16 grams of fat)


All of the abovementioned items, don’t add any significant nutritional value! Sure, you want your food to taste good, but at what cost? Adding ingredients devoid of nutritional value is like making an investment with a known negative return. Who wants that?

Worst Meal:

The worst meal you could get is a Burrito, with carnitas, cilantro-lime rice, sour cream, roasted chili corn salsa, and cheese.

  • This meal will add close to 1,000 calories and 40 grams of fat!

CE approved ingredients:

Campus Elite Chipotle Breakdown

CE Approved Meal

Gaining Muscle Tissue/Strength

  1. Butter/Oil Free Brown Rice, Chicken, lettuce, black beans and fajitas with Unsweetened Iced Tea/Water

Which comes to about 600 calories

Fat Loss Mode

  1. Lettuce, Chicken, Fajitas and Fresh Tomato Salsa with Unsweetened Iced Tea/Water.

Which comes to about 250 calories

CE Tip:

If you want to boost the protein content without having to boost the additional fat( from extra chicken) or carb( from the beans) content, consider bringing 1 scoop of whey protein in a shaker cup. This will add an additional 100 calories, and 25 gram of clean protein to your meal.

Chipotle can be a great place to eat healthy, and eat cheap. No one can afford to go out to eat for every meal though, and Campus Elite has already put together a nutrition and dieting crash course for you to use to make sure your getting the nutrients you need at home as well as when you eat out. Check it out!