Mexican food is delicious, spicy, and often hard to resist for many people. There are so many variations in this cuisine, and there are many healthy and not-so-healthy dishes you can try out. Today we are touching on the subject – are bean and cheese burritos healthy?
This dish contains ingredients that can be very healthy, especially when it comes to protein sources. Beans are jam-packed with protein, which is essential for muscular growth in the human body. There are also some important vitamins and minerals, such as zinc and phosphorous, that you can get with this dish. However, there is much more to it. In this article, we will cover the nutritional content of this food and talk about how healthy it actually is. There is a lot to cover, so let us start without a further redo.
Is This Dish Healthy?
Contrary to popular belief, bean and cheese burritos can be a very healthy dish. A single serving packs 291 calories with 9 grams of fiber and 16 grams of protein. You can also experiment with ingredients to lower the sodium content and make this dish even healthier.
In order to better explain the nutritional value of bean and cheese burritos and how healthy they are, we decided to break down all the nutrition facts of a single serving of this popular dish. This food is actually very nutritive and filling, so let us see what it contains precisely.
- Calories – 291
- Total fat – 8 grams
- Cholesterol – 15 milligrams
- Sodium – 479 milligrams
- Carbohydrates – 41 grams
- Protein – 6 grams
Although nutritive, this food contains 291 calories, which can be too much for a snack, but too low to be one of your main meals, so you should be mindful of when you are going to eat it.
There Is Plenty of Protein
Beans in this dish are a fantastic source of protein. Aside from this, cheese is also a great source of this nutrient, of course, when you eat the right type. Burritos typically consist of cheddar cheese that puts 28 grams of protein on your plate.
If you are making this food at home, you can add some extra ingredients to spice up the amounts of protein and make the dish even more nutritive.
It Is Jam-Packed With Fiber
Regardless of the kind, beans are always packed with lots of fiber. If you want to increase protein intake from this dish, opt for Lima, Pinto, or kidney beans, as these kinds deliver more fiber to your plate. A 100 grams portion of these beans can contain up to 16 grams of fiber which is plenty.
You can even increase the amount of fiber in this food by substituting white flour tortillas with whole wheat ones. As you probably know, fiber is very important in nutrition as it improves bowel health and makes you more regular.
It Contains Micronutrients
Bean and cheese burritos are rich in B vitamins, including thiamin and folate. These nutrients help your body generate more energy and maintain proper development and growth. In addition, your body will also get sufficient omega-6 fatty acids from vegetable oils that are also used in making this dish.
Can I Make Bean and Cheese Burritos Healthier?
Although standard bean and cheese burritos offer plenty of health benefits, there are still ways in which you can make this dish even healthier. In the section below, we have listed some of the methods you can try.
Substitute Sour Cream
If sour cream or guacamole is too much for your body to take, you should consider using Greek yogurt as a replacement. If you do not like this yogurt, you can try to go for cottage cheese, creme Fraiche, or buttermilk, all of which are delicious and healthier alternatives to sour cream.
Try Using Non-Refried Beans
You can try substituting classic beans with a non-refried kind that is also a great source of protein and fiber. Canned beans are an excellent option, and you can buy them for a relatively low price. If you want to take your time in making this dish, you can also boil them.
Use Goat and Cheddar Cheese
Although a burrito does not have to contain cheese, it feels like it is different food without it. The type of cheese is also important when it comes to the nutritive value of the dish. Try using goat and cheddar cheese, as these types are jam-packed with protein and are better for people with lactose intolerance.
Drawbacks of Bean and Cheese Burritos
Bean and cheese burritos are not an ideal dish, and they do come with certain drawbacks that can impact some people. In the section below, you will find some of the main concerns and drawbacks of this popular dish.
Too Many Calories
Even though bean and cheese burritos have ingredients that are individually healthy, when you combine them together in a soft flour tortilla, the calories can skyrocket, especially if you carelessly add ingredients.
Some bean and cheese burritos, especially the ones served at restaurants and fast foods, can reach up to 1000 calories. If you are on a 2000-calorie diet, this amount from a single meal is way too much.
Refried Beans Can Harm Your Health
Refried beans are the type that is maxed out in calories and is jam-packed with saturated fats and sodium. All of this can cause different health problems and increase the risk of heart disease and respiratory system problems. Moreover, they can clog up your veins if you consume these burritos excessively and create a blockade on your weight loss journey.
Fatty Toppings Can Cause Various Issues
Sour cream and guacamole can directly affect your respiratory system. In addition, cheese, cream, and guacamole combined together can be just too much for someone that had issues with heart diseases previously.
We mention a lot of sour cream and guacamole due to the fact they are packed with calories. A single serving can have sour cream that delivers 20 grams of fat to your plate. There are also 2.9 grams of sugar, and you will get 193 calories per 100 grams. Essentially, the more you dig into these ingredients, the messier and unhealthier it gets.
There Are Artificial Preservatives and Ingredients in This Food
This is mainly the case when this food is frozen. When heated in a microwave, some of the compounds of this food can be carcinogenic. Another important thing to mention is that frozen beans and cheese burritos generally use low-quality cheese, and you do not get the same nutritive value as you would get from fresh ingredients.
Although bean and cheese burritos sometimes get a bad rep for being served at fast food restaurants, they actually are not unhealthy. However, if you are on a strict diet or have a history of heart disease, you should be very careful about the ingredients and calorie count of this food.
The best course of action would be to eat these burritos in moderation. Although there are plenty of healthy ingredients inside, when they are combined together, they deliver a lot of calories to your plate, which is something you should avoid, especially if you want to lose some weight.
Steve is a certified trainer with more than 10 years of training experience and he holds a Master’s in Sports Science. Prior to Boston Rock Gym, Steve worked for two years as a personal trainer.