Many people associate Taco Bell food items with tacos and burritos stuffed with cheese, sour cream, and fatty meats. The popular fast food chain is encouraging its customers to ‘live mas’ after trying for years to convince the masses to ‘make a run for the border.’ Taco Bell critics also tend to argue that Taco Bell food is not real Mexican food.
Like other fast food chains, Taco Bell has jumped on the anti-obesity bandwagon and is serving healthier selections in an attempt to attract health-minded patrons. The chain did not do it alone, it received some assistance. Taco Bell enlisted the services of well-known Latina chef Lorena Garcia to introduce the Cantina Bell menu in summer 2012.
The Cantina Bell options feature chicken or steak and can be served either in a bowl or as a burrito. The quality of the Cantina Bell menu resembles that of a gourmet restaurant, made with marinated chicken, guacamole, Latin rice, and fresh pico de gallo. The chicken or steak bowls are both under 600 calories but leave you feeling full because of the high fiber content (from the vegetables, black beans, and corn).
The sodium content is a bit high for the Cantina Bell menu options. For example, sodium in the chicken Cantina Bowl is 1520 mg, according to the Taco Bell nutrition brochure. This represents about 66% of the recommended daily sodium intake suggested by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. This generally should not pose a significant problem, except for individuals who suffer from a chronic condition such as high blood pressure.
Taco Bell also offers many of its menu items made ‘fresco style.’ Cheeses, sour cream, and guacamole are replaced with pico de gallo. Asking for a menu option to be made ‘fresco style’ reduces the fat content by 25%, an excellent option for dieters trying to lose weight.
Both the Cantina Bell menu choices and the fresco option are great choices to refuel after a strenuous workout. They are also an excellent way to incorporate slowly more vegetables into one’s nutritional regimen.
It may not be authentic Mexican food, but it sure tastes good and when making the right choices can complement a healthy lifestyle.
Enjoyed reading this article? Receive e-mail alerts when new articles are published. Please click on the ‘Subscribe’ button above.