My Favorite Lunch Spot

I eat lunch at Willy’s Mexicana Grill roughly once a week.  So it’s only natural I take a hard look at how healthy I eat at the place where they know my face is vaguely familiar.

Since the “make your own” burrito style presents numerous burrito/taco combinations, it’s difficult to accurately list nutritional information.  So we’ll examine Willy’s offerings in general terms using our stars.

Let’s do this by first checking out the shell and protein choices.  Then we’ll take a look at our toppings.  We’ll also discuss cheese dip, but we don’t really have to, now do we?

The Shell

We learned this at Taco Bell, but let’s reiterate:  Corn trumps flour.  And, obviously the smaller the shell the better.  Not good news for the big-ass burrito tortilla.

Corn Taco  calories 60, fat 2g, carbs 9g, protein <1g

Flour Taco  calories 70, fat <1g, carbs 14g, protein 3g

Burrito calories 280, fat 3g, carbs 54g, protein 10g

Protein

Your choices are adobe (spicy) chicken, sinaloa chicken, steak, pork, or tofu.  Both chicken choices are solid, but the adobe has bit more fat.  Steak is a slightly better choice than pork.

A word to the wise: the taco serving is a little less than half the burrito option. Examples: Adobe chicken (90 cals taco vs 210 burrito), Steak (77 cals taco vs 180 burrito).

  Adobe chicken, Sinaloa chicken, Tofu

 Steak, Pork

Fillers and Toppings

Notice the four star category is littered with veggies.  Simple choices really.

 Lettuce, pico de gallo (salsa), black olives, red peppers, corn salsa, cucumbers, onions, pickled jalapenos, fresh jalapenos, limes, cilantro, grilled peppers and onions

 Black & pinto beans, guacamole, southwest coleslaw,

 Rice, sour cream, cheese dip,

Chips and Cheese Dip

Chips are free.  Opt out and you’ll save yourself roughly 500 calories.  Cheese dip isn’t free.  Don’t opt in. Unless hung over.  And if that’s the case you should be at Five Guys.

Two Quick Notes

Salads:  I’ve lamented the taco salad numerous times, but a make your own place gives the best chance to keep it healthy.  Get only one dressing ramekin and keep it vinaigrette based.

Quesadillas: They’re fall somewhere between burritos and tacos in size and calories.  Adjust accordingly.

A Final Word

With lots of fresh veggies and lean protein choices Willy’s is a solid lunch spot.  If you avoid burritos.  Willy’s nutritional information lists the Adobe chicken burrito at 980 calories.  Its taco counterpart comes in around 300.

Bottom line: Stick to a salad or tacos, load with veggies, and leave the chips.

(You can easily extrapolate this review to similar places like Moe’s and Chipotle)

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