8 Tips for Eating at Taco Bell on WW
Is there a more glorious road sighting than the purple Taco Bell sign appearing on the horizon? Does a magnetic forcefield pull you into the drive-thru? Is the soft crinkle of the wrapper music to your ears? Will that rich, heaping taco fit into your PersonalPoints™ Budget? So many questions, and we can certainly answer that last one. Yes, you can eat Taco Bell and hit your weight-loss goals.
Taco Bell knows nutrition. In recent years, the chain has enlisted the help of registered dietitians and expanded its menu to include vegetarian, high-protein, low-calorie, and low-fat options. It's also reduced the use of artificial colorings and flavors, removed artificial trans fats and high fructose corn syrup and, since 2008, has reduced sodium levels across the menu by 15%.
And there are plenty of low-Budget options to be had on the Taco Bell menu (very important PSA: soft chicken tacos clock in at a PersonalPoints value of just 4 to 5 a piece). To help with your next order, we poured over Taco Bell’s offerings and enlisted the expertise of Dr. Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, adjunct professor of nutrition at New York University, to find the best ways to enjoy a meal at the chain restaurant while sticking to your Budget. Get ready to devour our eight top tips for eating at Taco Bell on WW.
1. Make It “Fresco”
This little word holds lots of good-for-you power. When you ask for your order to be made “fresco,” ingredients that are higher in fat and calories (think mayo-based sauces, cheeses, and sour cream) will be replaced with freshly diced tomatoes. You’ll get a meal packed with more veggies and fewer PersonalPoints.
2. Go Veg
The “veggie cravings” menu features bean-centric, meat-free options, and, if you’re working with a tighter Budget, it’s a good place for carnivores to turn, too. The beans are high in fiber and protein, which are both key for feeling and staying full.
3. Customize, Customize, Customize!
Taco Bell allows you to tweak your order to make it work for you (something that’s especially easy to do when you order through their app). To stick to your Budget, ask to “go easy” on higher-PersonalPoints options (like sour cream or cheese) and request “extra” black beans, lettuce, and tomatoes. You can also skip ingredients entirely (removing the seasoned rice, for example).
4. Opt for a Bowl
Power Menu Bowls are loaded with vegetables, black beans, a choice of meat-based protein, and flavor favorites (like avocado ranch sauce). They clock in at 9 to 14 PersonalPoints, depending on which protein you pick.
5. Skip the Soda
Instead of a sugary soda, go for water, says Young. This way, you’re not drinking away your Points on something that does nothing for your hunger levels. And don't forget to track that water in the WW app!
6. Load Up on Sides
Black beans, guacamole, salsa—the sides at Taco Bell are loaded with protein, fiber, and healthy fats. WW translation: They’re also lower in PersonalPoints and can help keep you satisfied. One side that isn’t as Budget-friendly, however, is the nachos, says Young. Even if paired with something healthier (hey, guac), the chips are fried, teeming with salt, and completely lacking in nutrients—a combination that may lead you to overeat yet feel unsatisfied at the end of your meal.
7. Get Saucy
Max out on flavor without maxing out your Budget with Taco Bell’s sauce options. The Nacho Cheese Sauce is 1 PersonalPoints value per serving (really!). Ditto for the Creamy Jalapeño Sauce, Chipotle Sauce, Avocado Ranch Sauce, and Spicy Ranch Sauce. And you can add fire to your meal without spending any PersonalPoints with any of the food joint’s famous hot sauce packets (any brave Diablo Sauce fans out there?).
8. Order the Taco
We’d never say no to getting the taco—especially if you order it in the most Points-friendly way possible. A soft taco with chicken, for example, has 4 to 5 PersonalPoints, and you can make it a more satisfying meal by adding on ZeroPoint™ vegetables, like jalapeños, tomatoes, and onions. It’s no wonder that this order is a WW member fave!