Looking for a healthier burrito?

We compare burritos from Guzman y Gomez, Mad Mex and Zambrero on nutrition.

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Asian woman eating in restaurant

Mexican food is a popular choice in Australia as a fast food option, and one of the most popular options on the menu is the burrito. These delicious bullet-shaped bundles typically come packed with some variation of rice, meat, beans, veggies, cheese and other fillings all wrapped up in a soft tortilla. They're great to grab and go, but are they a good choice nutritionally?

Three of the biggest Mexican food chains in Australia are Guzman y Gomez, Mad Mex and Zambrero, which all sell a wide variety of burritos. We've taken the nutritional data of all three retailers and compared them, so you can see how they square up when it comes to calories (or kilojoules if you prefer), protein, saturated fat, carbs, sugars and sodium.

Which kind of burrito has the least calories?

If you're counting calories (or kilojoules) the best choice is the Zambrero vegetarian "cauliflower power" burrito, which comes in at 624 calories or 2,606 kilojoules. If you're more of a carnivore, then the Zambrero Mexican chicken classic clocks in at 715 calories or 2,986 kilojoules. Overall, if you want a burrito with a lower energy count and plenty of options Zambrero is the best choice.

If you are dining at Guzman y Gomez, then the lowest energy burrito is the mild vegetable option, which clocks in at 868 calories or 3,630 kilojoules. The best non-vegetarian option is the spicy pulled pork burrito, which has 968 calories or 4,050 kilojoules.

If Mad Mex is more your jam and you are aren't a vego, then rejoice! The two lowest energy burritos on the menu are the beef carnitas at 762.03 calories or 3,157 kilojoules and the pork carnitas at 762.94 calories or 3185.61 kilojoules. If you prefer a vegetarian option then the veggie rancheros clocks in at 778.43 calories or 3250.41 kilojoules.

Want to cut your calories even more? Try this burrito hack

Hands down the easiest way to cut down on your energy intake is to cut back on those delicious but fatty extras like guacamole, sour cream and cheese. Going for the vegetarian option or for a burrito that is packed with veggies and salad is also going to give you more nutritional bang for your buck and will fill you up without heaps of extra calories.

Also, if you're happy to ditch the tortilla entirely and have your burrito "naked" in a bowl, you can cut the calories significantly, but we admit that this is not quite as easy to eat on the fly.

How many calories or kilojoules should I be eating each day?

According to NSW Health, the average Australian adult consumes 8,700 kilojoules a day (2,079 calories), and for many of us, depending on our age, height, gender and activity level, this is far too high. You can easily calculate how much energy you need to either maintain your weight or to lose weight. To calculate this, punch your details into this calculator for an accurate estimate of what you should be consuming daily.

Is Mexican food a healthy choice?

Some of the burritos we've compared clock in at over 4,000 kilojoules, which is almost half of your daily energy requirements in one meal. You're not going to want to smash down a few of those each day, or even one every day, unless you're planning to live on salad leaves and small portions for the rest of your 24 hours.

The levels of sodium are high in most of the burritos we compared too. The average person's recommended daily intake of sodium is less than 2,300mg a day, and with a single burrito, you could hit at the least half of this, or in some cases, almost reach the limit, just within your lunch break.

Saturated fat is something to watch too. As a general guide, women should aim for no more than 20 grams a day and men should aim for no more than 30 grams a day. Regardless, it's recommended that we aim to eat as little saturated fat as possible. Plenty of the burritos on our list include a medium-to-high amount of saturated fat in just one serve.

On the flipside, Mexican food is usually packed with lots of fresh ingredients and there are plenty of options beyond the standard offerings on the menu. Mad Mex offers a meal generator option where you can build a meal on recommendations according to what's important to you – low calories, low carbs, vegan options and more. Zambrero offers a number of options for vegetarians and vegans, as well as a kids menu. Guzman y Gomez offers salads and kids meals.

If you're trying to be healthy, as a general rule, go for grilled meat options, add plenty of veggies and salad and don't go crazy with the cheese and sour cream. And remember that burritos are okay to eat every now and again, but maybe not every day.

Hungry for a burrito right now? We have Uber Eats discounts available.

Dietary information for burritos available at Guzman y Gomez, Mad Mex and Zambrero.

BrandBurritoEnergy (kJ)Energy (Cal)Protein (g)Total fat (g)Saturated fat (g)Carbohydrates (g)Sugars (g)Sodium (mg)
Guzman y GomezMild seared barramundi408097541.855.418.275.47.81710
Guzman y GomezMild grilled chicken406097046.452.818.774.77.11720
Guzman y GomezMild ground beef4260102036.760.823.6788.21770
Guzman y GomezMild pulled pork397094842.152.218.974.56.91850
Guzman y GomezMild sautéed vegetables with guacamole363086823.847.917.181.710.11460
Guzman y GomezMild slow cooked beef416099548.554.619.774.77.11750
Guzman y GomezSpicy seared barramundi417099642.256.118.678.18.72080
Guzman y GomezSpicy grilled chicken415099146.853.519.177.482090
Guzman y GomezSpicy ground beef4340104037.161.52480.79.12140
Guzman y GomezSpicy pulled pork405096842.552.919.377.27.82220
Guzman y GomezSpicy sautéed vegetables with guacamole372088824.248.717.584.4111830
Guzman y GomezSpicy slow cooked beef4250102048.955.320.177.482120
ZambreroBarbacoa beef classic315475536.830.414.88213.51521
ZambreroChicken classic302572430.32913.1849.91331
ZambreroPork classic302872532.128.613.28213.31431
ZambreroLamb classic312474834.230.915.18210.51181
ZambreroCAuliflower classic269464519.925.512.38212.21421
ZambreroVegetarian classic342782022.435.614.61009.41027
ZambreroMexican chicken classic298671534.628.313.17910.31411
ZambreroBarbacoa Beef IQ357485538.832.410.39912.11647
ZambreroChicken IQ344482432.3318.61018.51457
ZambreroPork IQ345182634.130.68.79811.91557
ZambreroLamb IQ354584836.232.910.6983.11307
ZambreroCauliflower IQ311474521.927.57.89910.81547
ZambreroVegetarian IQ414399227.337.1101328.21277
ZambreroMexican chicken IQ340681536.630.38.6968.91537
ZambreroBarbacoa beef power32967894020.18108151537
ZambreroChicken power310174230.7185.51119.61252
ZambreroPork power310874433.417.45.610714.71402
ZambreroLamb power325277836.620.88.510810.51027
ZambreroCauliflower power260662415.112.74.3108131387
ZambreroVegetarian power387792820.4308.31399958
ZambreroMexican chicken power304472937.216.95.51.310.21372
Mad MexChicken chipotle3229.61773.6334.7126.1313.2192.598.81588.87
Mad MexPork carnitas3185.61762.9434.0724.6913.3793.558.881753.67
Mad MexVeggie rancheros3250.41778.4328.2328.6112.4994.3510.81660.07
Mad MexChorizo3519.21842.4334.4732.6916.0195.398.882227.27
Mad MexBeef barbacoa3157.61756.0336.0722.7712.6594.118.881909.67
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