*Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services. This blog is meant to provide general information for educational purposes only. The information provided in this blog is not a substitute for medical care and should not replace advice from your healthcare provider.*
A typical meal at Chipotle can be filled with lots of hidden carbohydrates and fat that can make managing blood sugars difficult for people with diabetes. However, the entire menu at Chipotle is a la carte meaning that there are multiple options and unlimited customization to make your meal blood sugar friendly. When you think about Chipotle, what foods do you look forward to the most? Whether you prefer a burrito, burrito bowl, tacos, or quesadilla, there is definitely an order combination that is both satisfying and easier on your blood sugar levels. Keep reading for what factors you should consider when ordering at Chipotle.
Load Up on Fiber
Fiber is often a forgotten factor when it comes to blood sugar management. When you are ordering at chipotle, try to consider ways that you can bulk-up the fiber content of your meal. Some examples of fiber-rich menu items include:
Fresh Tomato Salsa
Roasted Chili-Corn Salsa
Be Mindful of Fat Content
With type 1 diabetes, dietary fat results in a delayed blood sugar response and can lead to increased insulin resistance. High-fat meals can cause prolonged increases in blood sugar levels anywhere from 6 to 10 or more hours after eating. The delayed digestion and increased resistance may also require an increase in total insulin dose requirements. An easy way to offset this prolonged rise and resistance is to decrease the fat content in the meal. This can be done by asking for lighter serving sizes of fat or being intentional about which fat options give you the most satisfaction over others. Here are the fat options available at Chipotle:
Protein (Pollo Asado (12g), Chicken (7g), Steak (6g), Barbacoa (7g), Carnitas (12g), Sofritas (10g))
Sour Cream (9g)
Queso Blanco (9g)
White Rice (4g)
Brown Rice (6g)
Make Room for an Error Margin
Just starting out of the gate, people with diabetes are put at a disadvantage because label requirements are often incorrect, yet they are relied on so heavily. The FDA is in charge of label requirements, but they allow up to a 20 percent margin of error. This error margin can have a considerable impact on blood sugar levels, but unfortunately food labels are created for the “general healthy public” and people with diabetes do not fall within the category.
Another possible error margin falls within the portion sizes. Chipotle has a great nutrition calculator for their meals, but they will only be accurate if you are given the standard serving size. However, there is always a possibility of a serving giving more or less than what the standard recipe calls for.
Examples of Blood Sugar Friendly Orders at Chipotle
The kid’s tacos or quesadilla meals are great options for people with diabetes because there are pre-portioned sections in the container. These sections are 4oz each which make for easy and consistent carbohydrate counting no matter when you visit. A kid’s meal order comes with:
Choose of protein
2 soft or crispy tacos/1 quesadilla
Your choice of 2 toppings
Drink of Choice (great for lows!)
A burrito bowl can be fully customized to your liking. If you were to take the factors that were discussed in this article, just one example of a blood sugar friendly order look like:
Chicken, ½ brown rice, ½ beans of choice, guacamole, fresh tomato salsa, fajita veggies, and extra romaine lettuce.
Just like everything else on the menu, a salad can be completely customized to your liking. Here is just one example of a possible order at Chipotle:
Salad with steak, ½ white rice, ½ black beans, roasted chili-corn salsa, light sour cream, and cheese
Tacos are an easy menu item to order with fiber-rich toppings. An example of a high-fiber taco order could be:
Sofritas, flour tortilla, black beans, fresh tomato salsa, romaine lettuce
Remember, these are just a handful of orders to get you curious about how different combinations can be impacting your blood sugar levels and what ingredients to be mindful of. Whatever you choose, make sure that you enjoy it. You can always utilize your own individual blood sugar patterns in finding out a dosing strategy that works best for you while eating Chipotle. If you want to learn more about nutrition, check out my Eating Essentials for Type 1 Diabetes course. This course is designed to help you learn skills and strategies to manager your blood sugars without giving up the foods that you love.