The Taco Bell menu is one that people love to hate. But it’s a bold brand that isn’t afraid to take a chance by trying something new. Sometimes they win, and sometimes they lose.
While the chain has a reputation for being incredibly unhealthy, like most other fast food joints, nutritious options are available.
Today, we’re looking at some of the best and worst items on the Taco Bell menu.
Let’s dive in!
The Deets on Taco Bell
Taco Bell is a chain of over 7,000 fast-food restaurants across the globe. They serve up Mexican-inspired dishes like burritos, quesadillas, nachos, and, of course, tacos. The brand isn’t afraid to put its twist on the menu in hopes of discovering something new. Their unique style is a hit, as the brand announced in 2018 that they serve over two billion customers yearly.
The restaurant’s roots go back to 1948 with a hot dog stand in San Bernardino, California. Glen Bell watched a neighboring Mexican restaurant that seemed to have a massive line constantly. He learned some tips from the owners and eventually opened a taco stand that underwent several name changes. It started as Taco-Tia, then El Taco, and finally Taco Bell.
The first location opened in 1962 in Downey, California. A couple of years later, in 1964, the first franchise location for Taco Bell opened in Torrance, California. However, by 1967, the brand opened its 100th location. It continued to expand before PepsiCo purchased the chain in 1978. However, they moved over to Yum! Brands in 2002, which is where it remains today.
Taco Bell is often the butt of many jokes with late-night hosts and comedians looking for a cheap laugh. The menu may be unordinary, but it doesn’t stop people from returning. Whether it’s because of the clever marketing campaigns, extra late hours, or the food, it’s one of the country’s most popular fast-food chains.
What Is Taco Bell’s Most Popular Menu Item?
You can learn a lot about an area by looking at the food they choose, including when visiting Taco Bell. However, preferences can vary considerably based on geographic regions. While they cater to local tastes, a few popular options are available everywhere.
While the Taco Bell menu is full of delicious treats, the most favored is the Crunchwrap Supreme. Research done by The Waycroft group indicates that it was the top choice in 17 states. However, the Quesarito was an honorable second place, being the favorite in ten states. In addition, other notable picks include the soft taco, the chicken quesadilla, and the bean burrito.
Is It Healthy to Eat From Taco Bell’s Menu?
It’s no secret that eating at any fast food restaurant isn’t particularly healthy, including Taco Bell. Americans got the whole picture in 2008 when restaurants were required to display nutrition facts. Even before factoring in the giant soda that comes with a meal, some items on the menu are almost 1,000 calories.
However, the chain is aware that some visitors are more cautious than others regarding their caloric intake. As a result, they also include some items on their menu to help avoid large amounts of calories. They even go as far as to have a section on their website to help guests make food choices specific to their diet.
So, just because unhealthy choices are available doesn’t mean you have to order them. In addition, you can request your food prepared with or without certain ingredients to make them healthier or more filling options.
Pro Tip: Fuel up for the day at the best Fast Food Chain For Breakfast.
Healthy Taco Bell Menu Items
If you want to eat healthy at Taco Bell, it’s possible. Let’s look at a few choices that make it easy to grab a quick bite to eat without feeling guilty about it.
#1 Cheesy Roll Up
The Cheesy Roll Up may not be enough for an entire meal, but it can get you by in a pinch. It’s cheese rolled into one of the delicious tortillas and toasted. It’s light enough that it’ll settle easily in your stomach, and the nine grams of protein and two grams of fiber will leave you feeling full. For only 180 calories, this is one snack worth considering if you need a quick bite to eat on the way to a practice or meeting.
#2 Soft Taco
You can’t go wrong with the standard taco. However, replacing beef with chicken can help you increase your protein intake and only add 45 calories. You can also spice things up with jalapeños or get some extra veggies with tomato. Since tacos are easy to eat on the go, you can grab your food and head off to whatever plans you have. Don’t forget your favorite level of hot sauce to add some zest.
#3 Black Beans and Rice
It’s no secret that beans and rice are quick, easy, and cheap. With five grams of protein and less than 200 calories, black beans and rice is one option worth considering. This is one menu item at Taco Bell that is vegan-friendly.
They’ve got you covered if you want a bit more of a meal with a plant-based option. You get a bean burrito without the sour cream and cheese, and you’re sure to be satisfied without sacrificing your diet. For a little extra, you can add potatoes and still keep things vegan.
Worst Taco Bell Menu Items
While we’ve shared some healthy options, some Taco Bell menu items are terrible for you. These may be okay to enjoy now and then, but we don’t recommend making it a habit unless you want to become good friends with a cardiologist. Let’s take a look!
#1 Spicy Double Steak Grilled Cheese Burrito
The spicy double steak grilled cheese burrito has one of the longest names on the Taco Bell menu and has the most calories. It may taste great, but it’ll leave you questioning your life choices. This burrito is the unhealthiest item at 930 calories, more than 100% of the recommended daily sodium, and 18 grams of saturated fat.
It features nacho cheese, seasoned rice, fiesta strips, sour cream, and cheese. If we lived in a world where health and calories didn’t matter, this would be manna from the heavens. However, if you add on a large soda, you’re easily looking at consuming 1200+ calories during your quick trip through the drive-thru.
#2 Mexican Pizza
While pizza may typically be seen as an Italian dish, that’s not stopping Taco Bell from offering Mexican pizza. However, while it may look delicious, it comes with some cautions. The pizza is actually seasoned beef with refried beans stuffed between two shells and topped with Mexican pizza sauce, cheese, and tomatoes.
However, It’s more than 540 calories, and its only nutritional value is protein. While it’s not the worst thing on the menu regarding calories, you deserve better. It’s not terribly filling, so you’ll need to tack on another side item and a drink to make a meal, which could easily double the calories.
#3 Black Bean Quesarito
The black bean Quesarito may be one of the most popular items on the menu, but just because it tastes good doesn’t mean it’s healthy. The Quesarito is a quesadilla rolled up into a burrito and filled with tasty ingredients. Because it uses black beans instead of beef, it’s a healthier alternative, but it’s still not great for you because the beans get covered in nacho cheese, shredded cheese, and other calorie-filled toppings.
This beast has 630 calories and 11 grams of saturated fat. Its only saving grace is that it has 19 grams of protein, which will help you feel full longer. However, the 1310 milligrams of sodium may make it hard to tell if you’re full or bloated.
Pro Tip: We ranked The 5 Best (and 5 Worst) Fast Food Burgers to help you decide where to order from.
Is Eating From the Taco Bell Menu Worth It?
Like most good things in life, moderation is key. Eating from the Taco Bell menu occasionally isn’t going to hurt anything, especially if you’re consistently making wise food choices.
However, it can become an issue when it’s a regular part of your diet. You’ll quickly pack on the pounds and watch your blood pressure go through the roof as you down tacos, burritos, and sugar-filled sodas.
So be aware of what you’re eating and make healthy choices as much as possible. But give yourself a little grace when you want to splurge on a burrito size of your head now and then.
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