Taco Bell has been a staple in the United States since its first location opened in California in the 1950’s. Since then, Taco Bell has expanded to several countries, including Canada, Puerto Rico, India, Philippines, Spain, and even Cyprus.
The fast-food Mexican establishment now claims to serve over 2 billion tacos and 1 billion burritos of all varieties in its restaurants each year. Taco Bell also states that nearly 150 million people see one of its commercials once a week. Added to this, the preformed taco shell was actually invented in 1951 by Taco Bell’s own founder Glen Bell!
Taco Bell is continuously making changes to its menus and pricing structures, which has contributed to its continued success despite the weak economy, as many consumers are cooking more meals at home or choosing lower cost meals when they do decide to eat out, to save money.
For example, Taco Bell’s Why Pay More! menu features food items that cost only 89 and 99 cents, which is very attractive to students and those watching their pennies. The price may sound great and allow you to keep more in your wallet for other expenses; however, will consuming these inexpensive menu items increase the number on your scale as well?
Let’s take a look…
Keep in mind the following intake recommendations from the American Heart Association when reviewing Taco Bell’s nutrition information:
- Total fat: limit total fat intake to 30% or less of total calories (for a 2,000 calorie diet, this would be 60 grams of fat per day)
- Saturated fat: limit saturated fat to less than 10% of total calories (for a 2,000 calorie diet, this would be 20 grams of saturated fat per day)
- Sodium: limit to less than 2,400 mg/day
- Cholesterol: limit to less than 300 mg/day
The Why Pay More! Beefy 5-Layer Burrito contains 540 calories, 22 grams of total fat, eight grams of saturated fat, 1280 mg of sodium, and 35 mg of cholesterol – overall, not a very healthy choice. This item does contain 19 grams of protein though.
Instead, try the Why Pay More! Crunchy Taco or the Why Pay More! Soft Taco-Beef, which contain considerably less fat, sodium, and cholesterol, but contain less protein as well – still making them a much healthier choice. The Why Pay More! Crunchy Taco contains only 170 calories, 10 grams of total fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 290 mg of sodium, 25 mg of cholesterol, and eight grams of protein, while the Why Pay More! Soft Taco-Beef contains 200 calories, nine grams of total fat, four grams of saturated fat, 510 mg of sodium, 25 mg of cholesterol, and ten grams of protein. Remember that if you order two tacos, you need to double the amount of nutrients.
If you don’t eat meat, how does the Why Pay More! Bean Burrito fare? It contains 370 calories, 10 grams of total fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, and 980 mg of sodium. This burrito is very low in cholesterol (only 5 mg) and contains 13 grams of protein.
If you’re looking for a healthy side dish, try the Mexican Rice, with only 120 calories, 3.5 grams of total fat, no saturated fat, 200 mg of sodium, and no cholesterol.
For your beverage choice, the majority of Taco Bell’s beverage choices are high in calories and sugar – therefore, stick with a diet beverage, as they do not contain any calories or sugar.
Taco Bell contains numerous other menu items that are not part of the Why Pay More! menu; however, the majority of them are very high in sodium, therefore making the Why Pay More! menu items not only a great cost-saving, but in most cases a healthier choice as well.