Biting into a meaty, cheesy burrito can be one of the most delicious things on the planet. These Mexican-style wraps are usually packed full of goodness, including beans, rice, vegetables, and chicken. They can also be loaded with unhealthy ingredients, like too much cheese or sour cream. If you’re looking to make your burrito recipe a bit healthier, there are some simple swaps you can make that will save you calories and fat without sacrificing flavor. We’ll explore the basics of building a healthier burrito bowl, including what ingredients to choose and how to make some easy substitutions. By the end, you’ll have a delicious and healthful meal that will leave you feeling satisfied.
The contents of a chicken burrito can vary depending on the recipe, but there are some common ingredients you’ll find in many versions. These include:
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Yes, chicken burritos can be healthy. They are a good source of protein and are filling. However, they can also be high in calories and fat, depending on how they are prepared. To make a healthy chicken burrito, make the following swaps:
Skinless chicken breast that’s often used for burritos is leaner than thigh meat and has less saturated fat. How you cook it matters, too. Ditch the deep-fried chicken (rotisserie) or chicken that’s been sautéed in lots of oil.
Instead, use shredded chicken that’s been cooked in an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker. The high pressure and steam help to tenderize the meat without adding any extra fat. Flavor shouldn’t be an issue as long as you season the chicken well before cooking.
Tortillas are a necessary component of any burrito, but not all tortillas are created equal. White tortillas are made with refined flour which has been stripped of its fiber and nutrients. This type of tortilla is also higher on the glycemic index, meaning it may cause your blood sugar to spike and then crash soon after eating (1).
To keep your burrito balanced, look for whole wheat tortillas or ones made with corn flour. These will be higher in fiber and nutrients, and shouldn’t cause spikes in your blood sugar.
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Many people enjoy adding sour cream to their burritos, but this can add unnecessary calories and fat. A better option is to use low fat Greek yogurt, which is just as creamy but has less fat and more protein (4).You can also add a few avocado slices for creaminess and healthy fats.
Refried beans are made by frying beans in oil, which adds calories and fat. A healthier option is to use boiled black beans instead. These have all the fiber and nutrients, and won’t add extra calories to your burrito. Flavoring them with a little garlic and onion powder will give them the same savory taste as refried beans.
Rice is a common ingredient in chicken burritos, but white rice is refined and has had its fiber and nutrients removed. Brown rice is a healthier option because it’s whole grain and still has all of its nutrients intact. It’s also higher in fiber, which will help to keep you full (2).
Other than brown rice, whole grains or low-carb alternatives like quinoa or cauliflower rice can also be used in your chicken burrito.
Store-bought salsa is often high in sodium and sugar. A better option is to make your own pico de Gallo, which is a fresh salsa made with tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and lime juice. This is a healthier option that’s also low in calories.
Cheese is high in saturated fat and calories, so it’s best to avoid it if you’re trying to eat healthy. Low-fat cheese or a cheese substitute like Nutritional Yeast are good options to add flavor and creaminess to your chicken burrito without all the fat and calories.
Tahini sauce is also a good alternative because it’s made with sesame seeds, which are a good source of healthy fats. It also has a similar consistency to cheese sauce, making it a good replacement in your chicken burrito (5).
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Try these swaps the next time you’re in the mood for a chicken burrito and enjoy a healthier meal that’s just as delicious!
This easy chicken burrito recipe is perfect for a quick and healthy weeknight dinner. It makes 17 burritos, so you’ll have enough for leftovers or to freeze for later.
Add to Cook in Instant Pot:
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These are some swaps you can make to create a healthier chicken burrito. By using leaner meat, whole wheat tortillas, and healthy toppings, you can enjoy a delicious and nutritious meal that won’t weigh you down.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!