Eating At Taco Bell When Bulking or Cutting (6 Meals)

Most of us are busier than ever, making convenient fast food, like Taco Bell, an easy option for food. However, to achieve your fitness goals, there are certain meals at Taco Bell that are better than others to adhere to your strict nutritional and caloric requirements.  

So what should you eat at Taco Bell if you work out? If you are losing weight, a chicken burrito with extra chicken will provide a high protein and moderate to a high-fat meal. If you are bulking, a chicken burrito, extra chicken, and a soft chicken taco will provide a high protein and carbohydrate meal with only moderate-fat. 

In this article I will provide:

  • 3 meal options for what to eat at Taco Bell to lose weight
  • 3 meal options for what to eat at Taco Bell when bulking
  • My top 4 tips for eating at Taco Bell both before and after your workout

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What To Eat at Taco Bell To Lose Weight: 3 Meal Options  

Three 3 meal options to order at Taco Bell to lose weight are:

 1. 400 Calorie Taco Bell Cutting Meal Plan 

400 calorie weight loss taco bell meal plan
  • Order a chicken burrito supreme 
  • Add extra chicken

This meal has 412 calories, 27g of protein (26%), 49g of carbohydrates (48%) and 12g of fat (26%).

A burrito has a relatively equal mix of protein, carbohydrates and fat. When losing weight and therefore consuming fewer calories, this equal mix of macros keep you feeling energized while still satisfied after you eat.

By adding extra chicken, you can increase the protein in your meal by 8g. Protein is important during weight loss as it gives you the feeling of being full and satisfied more much longer after you eat, making it more comfortable to stick to a low calories diet in the longer term. 

Customizations to this meal, that can further reduce the calories include:

  • Order without cheddar cheese, this will reduce your meal by 30 calories and 2g of fat. 
  • Order without beans, this will reduce your meal by 50 calories and 8g of carbs.

Pre/Post-Workout Recommendations

This meal is a great option for before or after a workout as it is a high carb and lower fat option. This ratio of carbs to fat will ensure you are feeling energized throughout your workout. 

To further customize this meal around your workout, I recommend removing the beans as they are high in fibre. Fibre will slow down your digestion, reducing the energy your body will have available to use during your workout.  

Instead of beans, substitute with rice, which will boost the carbs an additional 12g, which would be ideal if you are eating taco bell pre-workout.

2. 600 Calorie Taco Bell Cutting Meal Plan

600 calorie weight loss taco bell meal plan
  • Order a chicken burrito supreme 
  • Add extra chicken
  • Add a soft beef taco

This meal has 597 calories, 36g of protein (24%), 66g of carbohydrates (44%) and 21g of fat (32%).

Adding a soft beef taco increases the meal’s calories by 185 and adds 9g of both protein and fat. 

Both protein and fat provide a similar benefit, adding them into your meal will increase the amount of time you feel full after you eat. During weight loss, lower calories can often cause hunger, adding fat and protein will decrease this.

Customizations to this meal, that can further reduce the calories include:

  • Order without cheddar cheese, this will reduce your meal by 60 calories and 4g of fat. 
  • Order the burrito without beans, this will reduce your meal by 50 calories and 8g of carbs.

Pre/Post Workout Recommendations

If you are planning to eat this either pre or post-workout, I recommend removing the cheddar cheese and bean from both the burrito and taco as this will reduce the fat and fibre in your meal. Both slow down your digestion process, making it more difficult for your body to get quick energy from the carbs you’ve consumed. 

Instead, we want to focus on high carb foods around our workouts. Both the burrito and taco have carbs from the shell making it an ideal meal around a workout. Additional carbs can be added to the meal by adding rice into both the taco and the burrito. 

800 Calorie Taco Bell Cutting Meal Plan

800 calorie weight loss taco bell meal plan
  • Order a chicken burrito supreme 
  • Add extra chicken
  • Order a steak burrito supreme without bean
  • Add extra steak

This meal has 789 calories, 50g of protein (25%), 91g of carbohydrates (46%) and 25g of fat (29%).

Adding a second burrito will double the calories in your meal but from a relatively equal mix of protein, carbohydrates and fat. This equal mix will mean you get the benefit of energy from the carbs as well as the feeling of being full that comes from fat and protein. 

When losing weight, feeling energized and full can make eating fewer calories more sustainable for a longer period.

Customizations to this meal, that can further reduce the calories include:

  • Order without cheddar cheese, this will reduce your meal by 60 calories and 4g of fat. 
  • Order the chicken burrito without beans, this will reduce your meal by 50 calories and 8g of carbs.

Pre/Post Workout Recommendations

Just like the other cutting meals, if you are planning to eat this meal pre or post-workout, I recommend removing the cheese and beans from both burritos because they slow down our digestion process.

What to Eat at Taco Bell When Bulking: 3 Meal Options

Three meal options to eat at Taco Bell when bulking are:

1. 700 Calorie Taco Bell Bulking Meal Plan 

700 calorie bulking taco bell meal plan
  • Order a burrito supreme with grilled chicken
  • Add extra chicken and extra cheddar cheese
  • Order a soft chicken taco
  • Add extra chicken and creamy chipotle sauce

This meal has 680 calories, 50g of protein (29%), 66g of carbohydrates (39%) and 24g of fat (32%).

Adding a chicken taco will increase your meal’s calories by 190, from a relatively even mix of protein, carbs and fats. This even mix will ensure you have sufficient protein to build muscle, feel energized from carbs and get a caloric boost from fat without feeling too overly full. 

Cheese and sauce are both high in fat, adding extra will help to boost the calories in your meal. The advantage to including fat while bulking, is foods high in fat are generally very low volume. This can make eating more calories throughout the day more comfortable by reducing that feeling of being physically full. 

Customizations to this meal, that can further increase the calories include:

  • Adding rice will increase the calories of each item by 60 and 11g of carbs per item.
  • Adding a signature sauce to the burrito will increase the meal by 80 calories and 8g of fat.

Pre/Post Workout Recommendations

If you are eating this meal before or after a workout, I recommend removing the creamy chipotle sauce and the extra cheese. Both these items are high in fat, which while helpful in boosting calories, doesn’t give us the quick burst of energy before a workout. 

Instead, you want to focus on consuming foods high in carbs. Both the burrito and taco have carbs from the shell but adding rice to both is recommended to further boost the carbs.

2. 900 Calorie Taco Bell Bulking Meal Plan 

900 calorie bulking taco bell meal plan
  • Order a Chalupa supreme taco with chicken
  • Add extra chicken
  • Order a Cheesy Gordita crunch with chicken
  • Add extra chicken

This meal has 890 calories, 56g of protein (25%), 72g of carbohydrates (32%) and 42g of fat (42%). 

Adding a second serving of chicken to both items provides a high protein meal option. Ensuring protein is high will make sure your body has the protein it needs to build muscle mass and increase strength, a key goal when bulking.

Both items also contain a sauce that is higher in fat. Fat is very low in volume for the high calories it packs, making it a great option to increase your meal’s calories when bulking. 

Customizations to this meal, that can further increase the calories include:

  • Adding extra cheese will increase the meal’s calories by 90 and 7g of fat per item. 
  • Adding rice will increase the calories by 60 and 11g of carbs per item.

Pre/Post Workout Recommendations

If you are looking to eat this meal around your workout, I recommend making two key customizations: (1) remove the sauce on each item and (2) add rice. 

Around a workout, it’s important to prioritize carbohydrates since they provide your body with the quick energy you need to feel energized throughout your workout. 

However, the fat (from the sauces) slows down the process of digesting and absorbing carbs, reducing this energized feeling.

These two adjustments will leave you feeling ready to take on any hard workout.

3. 1100 Calorie Taco Bell Bulking Meal Plan 

1100 calorie bulking taco bell meal plan
  • Order a burrito supreme with chicken
  • Add extra chicken
  • Order a Cheesy Gordita crunch with chicken
  • Add extra chicken
  • Order a soft chicken taco

This meal has 1,121 calories, 72g of protein (26%), 107g of carbohydrates (38%) and 45g of fat (36%). 

Chicken is the highest protein and lowest fat meat option at Taco Bell. Ordering items with chicken will ensure your body has sufficient protein to build strength and muscle mass. 

Lower fat meat option is beneficial as these items also contain cheese, sour cream and signature sauce which are all high in fat. While fat is great to boost calories with very little extra volume, too much fat can leave you feeling overly full for a significant time after eating. This can make the consumption of high calories throughout the rest of the day challenge.  

Customizations to this meal, that can further increase the calories include:

  • Adding extra cheese will increase the meal’s calories by 90 and 7g of fat per item. 
  • Adding rice will increase the calories by 60 and 11g of carbs per item.
  • Adding a signature sauce to the burrito will increase the meal by 80 calories and 8g of fat per item. 

Pre/Post Workout Recommendations

If you are eating this meal pre or post-workout, I recommend sticking to the 700 or 900 calories options. Eating such a high number of calories, as well as this high volume of food, will likely leave you lethargic, similar to the post-Thanksgiving food coma, which will not result in a good workout.

Tips for Eating at Taco Bell Before a Workout

What you consume before a workout provides you with the energy you need to perform at your best during a workout. Therefore, selecting the right meal is a key consideration for anyone looking to improve and optimize their gym performance. 

Should you eat at Taco Bell before a workout? Yes, you should eat at Taco Bell before a workout. A chicken burrito supreme with rice and no beans is a high carb, moderate protein and low-fat meal ideal pre-workout. Order a soft chicken taco or second burrito if you need more calories.

Read more in my article Can You Eat Fried Food Before And After Workouts?

4 Tips for How to Eat at Taco Bell Before a Workout

My top 4 tips for how to eat at Taco Bell before a workout are:

1. Order a burrito supreme as your meal

In advance of a workout, it is best to eat a meal high in carbs as they are a quick energy source to keep you energized throughout your workout. 

Keeping your energy high will allow you to push harder during your session, which is necessary to continue to see progress. 

I recommend eating at least two servings of carbs. A serving size is approximately the size of a closed fist. At Taco Bell, the best option is a burrito. Ideally, you should be consuming this meal 1 – 2 hours in advance of your gym session.

2. Order chicken as your protein source

Limiting fat before a workout is important as it slows down the process of your body quickly converting all the carbs you are consuming to energy. 

At Taco Bell, chicken is the leanest source of meat and therefore the best option for a pre-workout meal. 

3. Add rice to your order

While the tortilla shell included with a burrito is high in carbs, adding rice to your meal will further boost the carbs giving you even more energy for your workout. 

At Taco Bell, there are several ways to increase the carbs in your meal. 

The reason rice is best is it contains primarily carbs without any fat or fibre that would slow down your body’s ability to convert these carbs to energy. Therefore, rice will leave you feeling the most energized throughout your workout. 

4. Order without beans 

Similar to fat, fibre slows down the digestion process and makes it more difficult for our body to use the carbs we are eating for energy. Additionally, fibre often creates digestive discomfort which will likely negatively impact your workout. Beans are high in fibre, therefore it is best to exclude them in your pre-workout meal. 

Related Article: 13 Best Low Sodium Taco Bell Meals

Tips for Eating at Taco Bell After a Workout

Your post-workout meal is just as important as your pre-workout meal when it comes to optimizing performance in the gym. This meal will kick-start the process of repairing muscle damage caused by your workout, which is necessary to increase muscle mass and strength.

Should you eat at Taco Bell before a workout? Yes, you should eat at Taco Bell after a workout. A burrito with extra chicken, no beans, and a soft chicken taco is a high carb/ protein and low-fat meal ideal post-workout. Order a second taco or burrito if more calories are needed.

4 Tips for How to Eat at Taco Bell After a Workout

My Top 4 tips for how to eat at Taco Bell after a workout are: 

1. Order a burrito supreme as your meal

Throughout a workout, your body will use its stored fuel for energy. Replenishing these stores will kick start the muscle repair process. The process of damaging and repairing muscles is what will cause muscle growth so prioritizing this process is important.

The best way to replenish these stores is by eating a high carb meal within 1 to 1.5 hours after your workout. This meal should include at least two servings of carbs, with serving size being about the size of a closed fit. 

At Taco Bell, a burrito is the best option for a higher carb meal.

2. Order extra chicken with your meal

Post-workout, in addition to carbs, protein is the other macronutrient our bodies need. Protein is what our body will use to repair the muscle that our body has damaged during our workout.

If we don’t eat adequate protein post-workout, the breakdown of muscle that started during your workout will continue, instead of the growth and repair that is desired. 

At Taco Bell, adding a second serving of chicken to your meal is the best way to ensure your protein consumption is high enough.

3. Add a soft chicken taco to your meal

A chicken taco is high in carbs and protein, while relatively low in fat. This is the ideal ratio to maximize recovery post-workout, making it a great addition to your meal to further boost the protein and carbs.

While a second burrito could be added instead, a chicken taco is about half the calories, which is likely a better volume of food post-workout for most people.  

4. Order without beans

Fibre is something we want to limit around our workout as it slows down our body’s ability to absorb the carbs and protein we are consuming, in turn slowing down the process of muscle repair. Beans are high in fibre, and therefore are best to exclude from your post-workout meal. 

Comparing Taco Bell

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions for eating at Taco Bell if you workout:

Can I Eat at Taco Bell and Still Lose Weight?

Yes, you can eat at Taco Bell and still lose weight. To lose weight, you need to be eating fewer calories than you are burning daily. Taco Bell’s menu has low-calorie options, such as a grilled chicken burrito and soft chicken taco, that make it possible to maintain a caloric deficit.

Can I Eat at Taco Bell and Gain Muscle

Yes, you can eat at Taco Bell and gain muscle. To build muscle, you need to be eating adequate protein after a workout so your muscles can repair and grow. Taco Bell’s menu allows you to order extra meat with any order which will provide you with a sufficient amount of protein.

What Meal at Taco Bell Has the Most Protein 

The meal at Taco Bell that has the most protein is a grilled chicken quesadilla with extra chicken, extra cheese and extra beans. This meal has 860 calories with 54g of protein, 59g of carbohydrates and 44g of fat. 

What Meal at Taco Bell Has the Most Calories 

The meal at Taco Bell that has the most calories is a grande beef nacho box with extra beef, beans, cheese, guacamole and nacho cheese sauce. This meal has 1,330 calories with 36g of protein, 132g of carbohydrates and 73g of fat.

Related Article: Are Nachos Good or Bad For Bodybuilding?

Which Meal at Taco Bell Has the Least Calories

The meal at Taco Bell that has the least calories is a soft chicken taco. This meal has 160 calories with 12g of protein, 16g of carbohydrates and 5g of fat. 

Let’s get you in the best shape of your life. Sounds good?

More Fast Food Meal Plans

Check out our other bulking and cutting meal plans from popular fast-food restaurants:


About The Author

Laura Semotiuk

Laura Semotiuk is a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified nutrition coach. She works with athletes and active individuals looking to improve performance and develop healthy nutritional habits and behaviors. She has a passion for cooking, meal prepping, and creating simple and healthy recipes. You can connect with Laura on Instagram or through her Website.