The Best & Worst Menu Items at Del Taco

This menu features tacos and burgers—what could be better? Here, a registered dietitian picks out the healthiest and unhealthiest meal options.
Del Taco

Del Taco has become known for its fusion of options of Mexican and American fare, so with its extensive menu, it's easy to see why you might be a little overwhelmed decided what to order. It's one of the few places you can order a taco along with a burger! The first Del Taco opened in Yermo, California, in 1964 with a menu of 19-cent tacos, tostadas, fries, and 24-cent cheeseburgers. By 1978, Del Taco not only expanded to 100 restaurants, but it also expanded its menu with items such as quesadillas and ice cream sundaes. The menu is certainly filled with healthy ingredients, but some portions are certainly larger than necessary, which can actually derail your diet. So, what should you order from the Del Taco menu?

Below is a breakdown of the best and worst Del Taco menu items for you to use as a guide the next time you dine there.

Tacos and Tostadas

Best: Street Taco Chicken

del taco chicken taco
Ingrid K./Yelp
Per 2 tacos: 170 calories, 7 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 280 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (2 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 10 g protein

These tacos are made from grilled, marinated chicken topped with roasted chile salsa, onions, fresh cilantro, and avocado. There are two tacos in one order, with a healthy dose of heart-healthy unsaturated fat from the avocado and protein from the grilled chicken, which helps keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Worst: Queso Crunch Taco

del taco queso crunch taco
Courtesy of Del Taco
Per taco: 400 calories, 23 g fat (15 g saturated fat), 640 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (3 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 20 g protein

This crunchy taco shell is loaded with seasoned beef, cheddar cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes and then placed in a flour tortilla with a layer of creamy Queso Blanco in between the shells. This taco is twice as many calories (if not more) of the other tacos you can order from the menu, thanks to the double dose of carbs it's made from. Given that most people order two or three tacos in one meal, eating more than one of these would put your calories, saturated fat, and sodium well over the recommended daily limit.

Burritos

Best: Original Chicken Roller

del taco original chicken rollers
Courtesy of Del Taco
Per chicken roller: 250 calories, 9 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 750 mg sodium, 30 g carbs (1 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 14 g protein

These smaller sized burritos are made with grilled marinated chicken, spicy Jack cheese, and green sauce. They make for a perfect snack. If you choose to take one of them home, pair it with a nice side salad drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette for a well-balanced meal.

Worst: Epic Steak and Potato Burrito

del taco steak and potato burrito
Courtesy of Del Taco
Per burrito: 1,040 calories, 61 g fat (23 g saturated fat), 2,280 mg sodium, 77 g carbs (4 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 40 g protein

The Epic Steak & Potato Burrito is the Mexican-inspired version of loaded baked potatoes. It includes layers of carne asada, crinkle-cut fries, chipotle sauce, bacon, cheddar cheese, and sour cream. The calories for this burrito are 52 percent of the total recommended calories (which is 2,000) and close to 100 percent of the recommended daily sodium maximum. The carbs are also equivalent to eating more than five slices of bread. Yikes.

Platos

Best: 2 Street Tacos

del taco street tacos plato
Courtesy of Del Taco
Per meal: 930 calories, 34 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 1,980 mg sodium, 124 g carbs (18 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 38 g protein

Going with the grilled chicken option is the best bet for this platter, which comes with two tacos, a side of beans and rice, and chips and salsa. This platter is certainly not light, but if you do order it, save the chips for later. You can also opt to split this platter with a friend, which would be a more reasonable serving.

Worst: Carne Asada Wet Burrito

del taco carne asada wet burrito
Courtesy of Del Taco
Per meal: 1,290 calories, 47 g fat (16 g saturated fat), 3,550 mg sodium, 147 g carbs (25 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 55 g protein

This platter includes a burrito with grilled carne asada, slow-cooked beans, red sauce, and cheddar cheese in a flour tortilla topped with red sauce, more cheddar cheese, and three slices of avocado, plus a side of beans and rice and chips and salsa. It certainly sounds like a lot of food, and it's no wonder the calories are close to 65 percent of your total recommended daily calories. This dish also clocks in 123 percent the recommended daily maximum of artery-clogging saturated fat, and the amount of sodium found in this dish is just over one-and-a-half teaspoons of salt.

Fresca Bowls and Salads

Best: Avocado Veggie Bowl

del taco avocado veggie bowl
Courtesy of Del Taco
Per bowl: 450 calories, 15 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 1,290 mg sodium, 66 g carbs (12 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 13 g protein

This plant-powered bowl contains avocado, seasoned black beans, onions, tomatoes, and lettuce served over cilantro-lime rice. The sodium is a touch high, which you'll find in most restaurant menu options. However, with a well-balanced bowl containing protein, vegetables, carbs, a healthy fat, and a reasonable amount of calories and saturated fat, it's certainly a "good" choice on this menu. If you do want to cut back on carbs and calories, just ask for a slightly lesser portion of the rice.

Worst: Chicken Bacon Avocado Salad

del taco chicken bacon and avocado salad
Courtesy of Del Taco
Per salad: 590 calories, 46 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 1,110 mg sodium, 23 g carbs (5 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 23 g protein

This seemingly healthy salad is made with grilled chicken, avocado, pico de gallo, lettuce, and chopped cilantro, but it's topped with bacon pieces and cilantro-pepita ranch dressing, which make up much of the saturated fat. The salad provides over 50 percent of the recommended daily amount of this artery-clogging fat, which is unexpected from a salad.

Burgers and Fries

Best: Kids' Hamburger

del taco kids hamburger
Courtesy of Del Taco
Per hamburger: 330 calories, 15 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 520 mg sodium, 31 g carbs (1 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 13 g protein

The next time you're looking to order a burger, how about opting for the kids' option? The calories are certainly reasonable, and the carbs are equivalent to two slices of bread, which is expected given the bun. You'll even get enough protein and fat to help keep you feeling satisfied.

Worst: Casa Asada Fries

del taco carne asada fries
Courtesy of Del Taco
Per 354 grams: 810 calories, 59 g fat (15 g saturated fat), 1,360 mg sodium, 46 g carbs (6 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 24 g protein

You may have thought the burgers would be the "worst" choice, but these crinkle-cut fries win the category title. The fries are topped with carne asada, cheddar cheese, a savory secret sauce, guacamole, and diced tomatoes. They contain 115 percent of the daily recommended maximum of saturated fat, 169 percent the recommended daily maximum of sodium, and over 40 percent the recommended daily calories—and that's without a burger! There are healthier options on the menu to order.

RELATED: The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.

Quesadillas and Nachos

Best: Chicken Quesadilla Snacker

del taco chicken quesadilla snacker
Courtesy of Del Taco
Per 85 grams: 190 calories, 9 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 520 mg sodium, 15 g carbs (1 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 13 g protein

This smaller portioned quesadilla is made with grilled chicken and cheddar cheese in a flour tortilla. It's a nice mix of three food groups (dairy, carbs, and protein), providing nutrition from all these food groups. Enjoy as a snack or pair it with half a salad.

Worst: Large Queso Loaded Nachos (Beef)

del taco queso loaded nachos
Courtesy of Del Taco
Per 581 grams: 1,060 calories, 55 g fat (20 g saturated fat), 2,510 mg sodium, 100 g carbs (17 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 43 g protein

These nachos are piled with seasoned beef, house-made chips, slow-cooked beans, and queso blanco topped with sour cream, diced tomatoes, and jalapeños. If you're planning on eating it on its own, you'll certainly be loading up on the calories, artery-clogging saturated fat, sodium, and carbs. The nachos provide 53 percent the recommended daily calories, 153 percent the recommended maximum of saturated fat, 109 percent the recommended daily maximum of sodium, and the carb equivalent of almost 7 slices of bread. Even if you share it with one or two other people, it's still too much.

Sides

Best: Bean and Cheese Cup

del taco bean and cheese cup
Courtesy of Del Taco
Per 220 grams: 320 calories, 3.5 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 830 mg sodium, 52 g carbs (18 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 20 g protein

These slow-cooked beans are topped with cheddar cheese and a red sauce. Beans are certainly a healthy dish filled with a variety of nutrients, including fiber, iron, folate, magnesium, potassium, and zinc, but this side is meant for sharing with a friend, or taking half home for later.

Worst: Potato Poppers (6 pieces)

del taco potato poppers
Courtesy of Del Taco
Per 136 grams: 190 calories, 21 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 640 mg sodium, 30 g carbs (3 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 11 g protein

These fried potato bites contain cheese and bits of jalapeño, and although the calories aren't too bad for a side dish, the amount of saturated fat, sodium, and carbs just don't balance the healthy nutrients provided by this dish to warrant ordering it.

Breakfast

Best: Egg and Cheese Breakfast Roller

del taco egg and cheese breakfast roller
Courtesy of Del Taco
Per roller: 290 calories, 13 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 620 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 13 g protein

This easy breakfast is perfect when you're on the go. Opt for the simplest option made with scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, and red sauce, which provides a nice combination of fat and protein to help keep you satisfied throughout your busy morning.

Worst: Epic Scrambler (Huevos Rancheros)

del taco egg scrambler
Courtesy of Del Taco
Per plate (516 grams): 1,120 calories, 62 g fat (24 g saturated fat), 2,100 mg sodium, 91 g carbs (13 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 48 g protein

This massive breakfast option is over one pound of food, which includes scrambled eggs, pico de gallo, cheddar cheese, red sauce, and hashbrown sticks, plus your choice of bacon, chorizo, or carne asada. This breakfast also provides 56 percent of your total daily calories, 185 percent the recommended daily maximum of saturated fat, and the equivalent to about one teaspoon of salt.

Desserts and Shakes

Best: Mini Vanilla Shake

del taco vanilla shake
Del Taco/Facebook

 

Per mini (184 grams): 220 calories, 3.5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 150 mg sodium, 42 g carbs (0 g fiber, 35 g sugar), 7 g protein

Hooray for mini portions! If you're craving a vanilla shake after your meal, opt for the smallest size, which has 23 percent of the amount of sugar compared to the Churro Dipper Shake.

Worst: Churro Dipper Shake

del taco churro dipper shake
Courtesy of Del Taco
Per large: 1,010 calories, 21 g fat (12 g saturated fat), 680 mg sodium, 191 g carbs (1 g fiber, 149 g sugar), 25 g protein

This vanilla shake with chocolate swirls comes with a cinnamon churro dipped inside, so as you can imagine, the sweet stuff is very high here. The amount of sugar is equivalent to more than 37 teaspoons, making this sweet treat certainly one to skip.

Get the Fall Issue

Featuring delicious weight loss recipes, quick and easy sheet pan suppers, slow cooker tips and much more!

Filed Under