13 High Protein Taco Bell Items, Dietitian Recommended  

You will most often find me eating my meal prepped meals, but if I need a quick meal, I look for high-protein fast food items to help me reach my protein goal. I analyzed the nutrition information on the menu to find the best high-protein Taco Bell options.

Taco Bell Sign

Here are my top picks:

  • Highest Protein Taco Bell Item: Cantina Chicken Quesadilla (29 g protein)
  • Highest Protein Taco Bell Order: Two Cantina Chicken Crispy Tacos (32 g protein)
  • Healthiest High-Protein Taco Bell Item: Cantina Chicken Bowl (25 g protein & 11 g fiber)
  • Highest Protein Taco Bell Breakfast Item: Breakfast Quesadilla with Steak (28 g protein)
  • Healthiest High-Protein Taco Bell Breakfast Item: Grande Toasted Breakfast Burrito with Steak (27 g protein)

Read on to get all of the details on the 13 high-protein Taco Bell items that I recommend as a dietitian.

Is Taco Bell Healthy?

Fast-food in general isn’t going to provide all of the nutrients your body needs, so I wouldn’t recommend eating every meal from a fast-food restaurant. However, let’s be realistic, there are times when fast-food is the only option or you are just craving it. There are high-protein options you can order to help you reach your nutrition goals, whether that is weight loss or muscle gain.

Taco Bell has several high-protein options, including breakfast items which are rare at other fast-food places. There are also four items with six or more grams of fiber, which is also not the norm at fast-food restaurants. Fiber helps keep you feeling full longer. Other factors that I consider when reviewing the nutrition information are sodium and saturated fat content.

Sodium in Fast-Food

Fast-food is going to be high in sodium because it preserves freshness and enhances the flavor, texture, and appearance of food. To reduce the risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend adults limit sodium intake to 2,300 mg per day. Active adults can often get away with having a bit more because sodium is lost in sweat.

The high-protein Taco Bell items have about half the daily recommended amount of sodium. Eating one high sodium meal once in a while is not going to have major negative effects on your health. Try to be mindful that if you eat a higher sodium meal, then you might choose to eat lower sodium meals the rest of the day.

Saturated Fat in Fast-Food

Too much saturated fat can increase your risk for heart disease, which is why the American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat intake to 10% of your total calories, or about 20 grams of saturated fat, per day. The high-protein Taco Bell items have about half or even more of this daily recommendation often due to the cheese we love in their food. As I mentioned with sodium, eating a meal high in saturated fat at times is not going to be detrimental to your health, just don’t make it your routine.

How Much Protein Do You Need?

Protein is important for muscles, hair, skin, fighting infections, and so much more. It is also important when you are trying to lose weight and are in a calorie deficit, because it helps maintain lean muscle mass.

Active adults should consume 1.2-2.0 grams of protein per kilogram body weight per day as recommended by the International Society of Sports Nutrition

To calculate this for yourself:

  1. To convert pounds to kilograms, divide your weight by 2.2.
  2. Multiply that number by 1.2-2.0 (1.6 is a good starting point for most active people).
  3. That’s your daily protein goal.

In order to reach this daily protein amount, most people should aim to eat about 30 grams of protein per meal. The bulk of the high-protein Taco Bell items listed here contain more than 25 grams protein.

13 High-Protein Taco Bell Items

Here are my dietitian-recommended, high-protein Taco Bell picks. First, I list the high-protein lunch/dinner menu items and then list the high-protein breakfast options. I also include two high-protein snack options.

1. Cantina Chicken Bowl

Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 490
  • Protein: 25 g
  • Fat: 24 g (7 g saturated)
  • Carbs: 44 g (11 g fiber)
  • Sodium: 1150 mg

The Cantina Chicken Bowl includes chicken, rice, black beans, lettuce, shredded purple cabbage, avocado ranch sauce, sour cream, fresh pico de gallo, guacamole, and cheddar cheese. This earned the healthiest high-protein Taco Bell item because along with being high-protein, it is also high-fiber with 11 g from the beans, cabbage, and lettuce. Eating more fiber helps you feel full longer. This is also one of the lowest in saturated fat.

2. Cantina Crispy Chicken Taco

Nutrition Facts (for 2 tacos):

  • Calories: 580
  • Protein: 32 g
  • Fat: 32 g (12 g saturated)
  • Carbs: 34 g (6 g fiber)
  • Sodium: 1040 mg

The Cantina Crispy Chicken Taco has slow-roasted chicken, cheese, and creamy jalapeño sauce inside a crispy taco shell with cheese grilled on the outside. Order two tacos to make it a meal and get 32 g protein! That’s the highest amount of protein on this high-protein Taco Bell list. These tacos are second on the list because they are also one of the lowest in sodium and provide 6 g fiber.

3. Cantina Chicken Soft Taco

Nutrition Facts (for 2 tacos):

  • Calories: 420
  • Protein: 24 g
  • Fat: 20 g (7 g saturated)
  • Carbs: 38 g (6 g fiber)
  • Sodium: 1040 mg

The Cantina Chicken Soft Taco is made with slow-roasted chicken, avocado ranch sauce, lettuce, shredded purple cabbage, pico de gallo, and cheddar cheese inside a warm flour tortilla. Order two tacos to make it a high-protein meal with 24 g and just 420 calories. It also provides 6 g fiber and is one of the lowest in sodium and saturated fat.

4. Cantina Chicken Burrito

Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 540
  • Protein: 25 g
  • Fat: 30 g (9 g saturated)
  • Carbs: 43 g (6 g fiber)
  • Sodium: 1170 mg

The Cantina Chicken Burrito includes slow-roasted chicken, lettuce, shredded cabbage, cheddar cheese, avocado ranch sauce, creamy chipotle sauce, and pico de gallo wrapped in a grilled flour tortilla. This high-protein Taco Bell item provides 25 g protein along with 6 g fiber to keep you satisfied and full longer.

5. Cantina Chicken Quesadilla

Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 570
  • Protein: 29 g
  • Fat: 32 g (16 g saturated)
  • Carbs: 43 g (4 g fiber)
  • Sodium: 1330 mg

The Cantina Chicken Quesadilla is made with slow-roasted chicken, creamy chipotle sauce, and cheese grilled inside and on the outside. This high-protein item packs 29 g, but is lower down the list because it is the highest in saturated fat among these items and higher in sodium along with providing less fiber than the options above. I love quesadillas so this is a way to enjoy one while getting in protein.

6. Grilled Cheese Burrito with Chicken

Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 690
  • Protein: 29 g
  • Fat: 37 g (15 g saturated)
  • Carbs: 62 g (4 g fiber)
  • Sodium: 1510 mg

The Grilled Cheese Burrito with chicken is made with nacho cheese sauce, seasoned rice, fiesta strips, creamy chipotle sauce, sour cream, and cheese wrapped in a warm flour tortilla with cheese grilled on top. This burrito packs 29 g protein with chicken or get it with steak for 28 g. It is last on the list for lunch/dinner items because it is the highest in sodium and calories, and the second highest in saturated fat. The Cantina Chicken Burrito would be my top choice for a burrito order, but this is still an option to get in protein if you are craving extra cheese.

High-Protein Taco Bell Breakfast Items

7. Grande Toasted Breakfast Burrito with Steak

Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 570
  • Protein: 27 g
  • Fat: 28 g (10 g saturated)
  • Carbs: 52 g (4 g fiber)
  • Sodium: 1370 mg

The Grande Toasted Breakfast Burrito with Steak is made with steak, eggs, potato bites, tomatoes, and cheese. This is at the top of the High-Protein Taco Bell breakfast items because it has 27 g protein and 4 g fiber, which is hard to find in a fast-food breakfast. It also has one of the lowest amounts of saturated fat among these breakfast items. The only downside is the amount of sodium, but one high sodium meal every now and then is okay.

 8. Breakfast Quesadilla with Steak

Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 510
  • Protein: 28 g
  • Fat: 25 g (14 g saturated)
  • Carbs: 41 g (3 g fiber)
  • Sodium: 1310 mg

The Breakfast Quesadilla with Steak is filled with eggs, marinated grilled steak, and cheese. It is the highest in protein among these breakfast items at 28 g. It didn’t make the top breakfast option because it is higher in saturated fat at 14 g.

9. Hash Brown Toasted Breakfast Burrito with Steak

Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 570
  • Protein: 24 g
  • Fat: 30 g (10 g saturated)
  • Carbs: 53 g (3 g fiber)
  • Sodium: 1350 mg

The Hash Brown Toasted Breakfast Burrito with Steak is made with hash browns, eggs, steak, and cheese in a toasted flour tortilla. It makes the list with 24 g protein, 3 g fiber, and has one of the lower amounts of saturated fat for a breakfast item at 10 g. Unfortunately, it isn’t available at all locations.

10. Breakfast Quesadilla with Bacon  

Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 510
  • Protein: 25 g
  • Fat: 27 g (14 g saturated)
  • Carbs: 40 g (3 g fiber)
  • Sodium: 1260 mg

The Breakfast Quesadilla with Bacon is the high-protein Taco Bell pick to get your bacon in the morning. It’s a quesadilla filled with bacon and eggs. The steak quesadilla packs more protein, but you still get 25 g here. It is higher in saturated fat at 14 g, but it is the lowest in sodium among these breakfast items at 1260 mg.

11. Breakfast Crunchwrap with Steak  

Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 660
  • Protein: 24 g
  • Fat: 38 g (12 g saturated)
  • Carbs: 53 g (4 g fiber)
  • Sodium: 1350 mg

The Breakfast Crunchwrap with Steak is the way to go to enjoy a crunchwrap for breakfast while getting in your protein. The crunchwrap is filled with steak, eggs, cheese, a full hash brown, and creamy jalapeño sauce. This is at the bottom of the high-protein Taco bell breakfast items because it is one of the lowest in protein at 24 g, while being at the higher end of saturated fat and sodium.

High-Protein Taco Bell Snack Items

12. 3-Cheese Chicken Flatbread Melt

Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 330
  • Protein: 20 g
  • Fat: 15 g (6 g saturated)
  • Carbs: 29 g (2 g fiber)
  • Sodium: 760 mg

The 3-Cheese Chicken Flatbread Melt is made with grilled, all-white meat chicken, creamy chipotle sauce, and melted cheese inside a soft flatbread. Order one for a high-protein snack if you just need something to hold you over until dinner and get 20 g protein. Add a side of beans to get in extra protein and fiber.

13. Cheesy Roll Up

Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 180
  • Protein: 8 g
  • Fat: 9 g (6 g saturated)
  • Carbs: 17 g (1 g fiber)
  • Sodium: 430 mg

Order the Cheesy Roll Up for a high-protein Taco Bell snack. It has 8 g protein, making it great for when you are out driving and need an afternoon snack.

The Bottom Line

Taco Bell has a variety of high-protein items for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I don’t recommend eating fast-food on a regular basis, but when you do, you can find healthier options that are high in protein. 

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